In its April 4 issue, the Forward reported that some Philadelphia Jewish officials objected to the March 27 screening of our film, “The J Street Challenge,” in the City of Brotherly Love (“Tough Road for J Street as It Bids for an Official Place Within the Communal Tent”). We are perplexed. We made the film to air and debate J Street’s views on Zionist policy and its unprecedented approach to our community’s relationship with Israel. Heretofore, all mainstream Jewish groups, along with the vast majority of American Jews, have agreed that no matter what our differences with the democratically elected government of Israel, it would be wrong to impose our views. J Street breaks radically with this tradition. That our federations now contain donors who are J Street supporters, as well as critics, should not alter this arrangement, nor should it buy J Street protection from reasoned criticism.
American Jewish leaders encourage open and free-ranging criticism of Israeli leaders as proof of our democratic values. Why would they condemn thoughtful criticism of the policies of Jewish leaders here as “intolerant”?
Charles Jacobs, President
Americans for Peace and Tolerance