Reactions to the J Street vote

The J Street logo

Members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in a much-anticipated vote that many perceive is a statement on the parameters of the Jewish community's "big tent" of acceptable views on Israel, on Wednesday rejected the membership application of the self-labeled "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby J Street.

Here are various reactions to the vote:

  • Jonathan Tobin, senior online editor of Commentary magazine, argues that the the "willingness of so many groups to say no to [J Street] is a heartening sign that many American Jews have grown tired of its shrill one-note act."
  • Yehuda Kurtzer, president of The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, writes that voting against J Street marks "an attempt to sustain a polity that no longer exists, and to imagine a firm dividing line between internal community dissent and external public debates." 
  • Zionist Organization of America National President Morton A. Klein said, "The vote against J Street confirms that the 'big tent philosophy' must never be a 'universal tent' philosophy. Everyone agrees that there must be a red line. J Street has clearly crossed that line by engaging in activities that defame and delegitimize Israel and are antithetical to the Conference's purposes. J Street placed itself outside Conference of Presidents' expansive 'big tent.'"    
  • Jewish Women International said in a statement, "We often reference Abraham’s tent and the image of its flaps being open on all sides—welcoming all. That is the goal of the Jewish communal world. But that is not what the Conference [of Presidents] did yesterday. And, shutting its doors to a pro-Israel organization that is speaking to the next generation is short sighted."

  • National Council of Young Israel President Farley I. Weiss said, "We’re very pleased and relieved, because J Street’s positions were not within the mainstream of the Jewish community," according to The New York Times
Posted on May 1, 2014 .