Like many critics of J Street, Robert Isler has mischaracterized the organization and its positions (“J Street needs a directional finder,” March 1). He would have us believe that J Street singles out Israel for criticism. In fact, J Street has criticized Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, and anyone else whose actions or words it feels are counterproductive. It has also praised Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, and anyone else whose actions or words seek to improve what it perceives as the best interests of Israel and the cause of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He questions the sincerity of the love Alan Eisner and other J Street members feel for Israel (“Staying in love with Israel,” February 8). If you love someone and feel the loved one is behaving in a self-destructive manner, which is a more sincere show of love, defending the loved one’s behavior or trying to turn the loved one from a dangerous course?
He accuses Eisner and those like him of being utopian and loving “an Israel that probably never existed.” Is wanting a country whose ideals you admire to live up to those ideals something to be criticized or to be praised? When we criticize our own country for not living up to the principles embodied in its own founding documents, are we being treasonous or patriotic? I think the latter.
Far from seeking to weaken the U.S.-Israel relationship, J Street seeks to strengthen it by making sure it remains on a strong foundation, one based on the real interests of both countries and the world.