A major umbrella Jewish group in the United States on Wednesday rejected J Street’s bid to join the organization.
J Street, a secular pro-Israel lobbying organization based in Washington, had applied to join the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. The nonprofit group consists of 51 national Jewish organizations.
“This is a sad day for us, but also for the American Jewish community and for a venerable institution that has chosen to bar the door to the communal tent to an organization that represents a substantial segment of Jewish opinion on Israel,” J Street said in a blog post.
The Conference of Presidents voted on their request for admission Wednesday evening. A debate had transpired in recent weeks over whether to admit an organization like J Street, whose prime focus has been promoting the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
The group has also been known as somewhat critical of Israel’s policies, and that was not welcome by some of the more conservative organizations in the Conference of Presidents.
J Street was created in 2008 and has come to be seen as a liberal alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — the largest and most influential pro-Israel lobbying group.
A number of Jewish groups urged others to vote for J Street’s admission, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Union for Reform Judaism.
“We applied to the Conference of Presidents because we value Jewish community and the concept of a broad tent of pro-Israel organizations that truly represents our community’s diversity and dynamism,” J Street said.
“Unfortunately, our bid was thwarted by organizations on the right of the community who do not share those same values.”