J Street: Report of Slogan Change False, but Campus Groups Needn't Be Pro-Israel

The liberal Jewish group says campus affiliates are free to reject J Street's "pro-Israel" position.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

The liberal Jewish group J Street says the Jerusalem Post's report yesterday that the organization's college arm is dropping the "pro-Israel" part of its "pro-Israel, pro-peace" slogan is false. But a J Street spokesperson said the college group, J Street U, has decided to allow campus affiliates to depart from J Street's pro-Israel position.

"The student groups don't need to say they are explicitly pro-Israel so long as their programming and outreach operate from the premise that the Jewish state has a right to exist as a Jewish state," says Jessica Rosenblum, a J Street spokesperson.

"Jeremy wants to give students a great deal of latitude because the conversation that J Street U aims to foster is foundational to building a strong relationship with Israel," she added, referring to Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and executive director of J Street.

Rosenblum says the Jerusalem Post misinterpreted the remarks of a J Street U board member who was discussing J Street U's "pro-peace" position, not a slogan change. She says that J Street never had an official slogan.

More on J Street U's mission from its website:

J Street U seeks to present students on campus with an alternative to extremist voices from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide. Those voices pushing rigid "pro-Israel" and "pro-Palestinian" positions have come to dominate the discourse on many campuses across North America, obscuring the issues and alienating significant numbers of students.