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Joint Democratic Initiative


We Still Believe

Even when the earth shakes beneath our feet – especially then – we look directly at the painful reality, and affirm our commitment to peace, equality, ending the occupation, and personal friendship and political partnership between Jews and Palestinian Arabs, in Israel proper, and on both sides of the green line.

Enormous harm to innocent civilians – in the Gaza strip or in Israel – is never justifiable.

Years-long deliberate neglect, as well as corrupt governmental aggressiveness, give rise to rage, and rage tends to manifest in uncomfortable ways. But even justified rage cannot justify the targeting of innocents in mixed-population cities and elsewhere, nor should it be allowed to uproot a delicate system of living together.

Even facing such hard circumstances, we remain clear-eyed: The circumstances we find ourselves in are the result of politics, of racist, violent, special-interest-driven politics. We will not give in to such politics. We refuse to regroup along national or religious lines and be each others’ enemies.

Just as these circumstances are the result of politics, so too changing them will be the result of politics: Over the short range, of a new government that will seek to calm things down and to cope with the difficulties by working together with all those committed to peace and equality; and over the long run, of a joint social-political struggle of all the forces for peace, justice and equality throughout this land, a long and complex struggle no doubt, but one we should not despair on. not even now. The Joint Democratic Initiative will continue to act as a part of such a struggle. 

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May 10th, 2021


Antisemitism and the rising number of antisemitic acts worldwide are an important and legitimate source of insecurity within world Jewry. The issue raises concern among other vulnerable groups who are against all forms of racism.

Both Jews and non-Jews who express criticism of Israeli policies and actions are concerned that these critiques will be interpreted as antisemitic. This poses a dilemma for everyone who values freedom of expression.

The IHRA definition is an attempt to provide clarity as to what constitutes antisemitism and includes examples of judgements about Israel that might constitute antisemitism. The intention is to provide guidance, not to legislate or create a criminal offence.

The IHRA definition, which is the outcome of an international, intergovernmental effort was welcomed by many Jewish organizations and approved by many governments and institutions in various countries. However, experience has shown that this well-meaning effort has created anxiety among those who feel that the IHRA definition is too vague, does not relate to other forms of racism and intolerance and has been applied inappropriately to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.

Based on these experiences and aiming at addressing some consequences that flowed from misuses of the IHRA definition, two other definitions, the Nexus and Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, have been created by highly respected historians and specialists in Holocaust studies. The Jerusalem Declaration in particular distinguishes with precision expressions of antisemitism from legitimate criticism of Israel. None of these groups is looking to ‘weaponize’ the definition of antisemitism or to stifle freedom of speech.

J-Link is presenting all three definitions for your consideration. Our concern is that the divisiveness over which definition is preferred is creating unfortunate divisions between groups who should speak out as allies against all forms of racism. It is creating a chill about the cherished value of freedom of speech – even when the views expressed are distasteful – but not hateful. And most importantly, we do not support the codification into law of any definition – that is the role of our hate crimes legislation.

Yours respectfully,

J-Link Coordinating Committee,

Kenneth Bob (Ameinu, U.S.A.), Barbara Landau (JSpaceCanada, Canada), Alon Liel (Policy Working Group, Israel), Pablo Lummerman (J-AmLat, Argentina), Giorgio Gomel (JCall Europe, Italy), Gabriella Saven (The Jewish Democratic Initiative, South Africa).

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April 4th, 2021

Dear President Rivlin,

J-Link, the international network of progressive Jewish organizations, sides with many other Jewish organizations and individuals around the world in viewing with grave concern the entry into the Knesset of six members of far-right parties HaTzionut HaDatit, Otzma Yehudit and Noam, that hold racist, homophobic, and fundamentalist views.

In 1985 the Knesset adopted an amendment to the Basic Law stipulating that a party with a racist platform could not participate in an election.

Otzma Yehudit, which is made up of former disciples and political heirs of Meir Kahana, whose Kach party was banned from running in the 1988 election, supports annexation of the West Bank, the emigration of non-Jews from Israel and the expulsion of Palestinian and Israeli Arabs who refuse to declare loyalty to “Greater Israel”.

The possibility of such a party becoming a partner to any Israeli coalition is a stain on Israel’s democracy. It seriously tarnishes Israel’s standing among nations and citizens of the world. It shocks and outrages Jewish organizations and individuals who uphold Jewish values of tolerance, democracy and human rights.

We urge you, Mr. President, not to consider these parties in your deliberations for the formation of the incoming Israeli coalition.

Yours sincerely,

The J-Link Coordinating Committee,

Kenneth Bob (Ameinu, U.S.A.), Barbara Landau (JSpaceCanada, Canada), Ilan Baruch (Policy Working Group, Israel), Pablo Lumerman (J-AmLat, Argentina), Giorgio Gomel (JCall Europe, Italy), Gabriella Saven (The Jewish Democratic Initiative, South Africa).

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February 6th, 2021

J-Link, the international network of progressive Jewish organizations, joins Israeli NGO’s and international organizations in advocating that Israel supply COVID vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank.

What threatens the health and economy of Palestinians also threatens Israeli citizens, including those living in settlements. According to international and humanitarian law, the Israeli government is both legally and morally obligated to provide Palestinians living under occupation with COVID vaccines.

It is intolerable that over 450,000 Israeli settlers are vaccinated while their Palestinian neighbors are not.

J-Link calls on Israel to work in close cooperation

with the Palestinian National Authority, the World Health Organization, and other international actors to promote the safety and well-being of all residents in the West Bank who live under its control.

Hopefully, this can be a stepping stone toward future cooperation.

Yours respectfully,

J-Link Coordinating Committee,

Kenneth Bob (Ameinu, U.S.A.), Barbara Landau (JSpaceCanada, Canada), Alon Liel (Policy Working Group, Israel), Pablo Lummerman (J-AmLat, Argentina), Giorgio Gomel (JCall Europe, Italy), Gabriella Saven (The Jewish Democratic Initiative, South Africa).

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December 7, 2020

In response to a series of actions taken by the Netanyahu-Gantz government in recent weeks, including home demolitions, forced evictions and new settlement approvals in Givat Hamatos and E-1 meant to secure “facts on the ground” and prevent the successful pursuit of a two-state future for Israelis and Palestinians, the Progressive Israel Network issued the following statement.

We are alarmed by the recent set of​ ​moves by the government of Israel to initiate settlement projects and take other provocative and harmful actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including home demolitions and forced evictions, which further damage the possibility of a negotiated future two-state solution. It is clear that the Netanyahu government is trying to exploit the outgoing Trump Administration’s wholehearted embrace of Israel’s settlement enterprise in order to further erase the distinction between Israel and the territory it occupies. The recent announcement of the Israeli government’s approval of tenders for new construction in the planned settlement of Givat Hamatos and statutory approval for the construction of E-1 are particularly harmful. These settlement projects have the strategic objective of cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, seriously undermining the prospects of establishing a contiguous Palestinian state alongside Israel.

This effort to create new “facts on the ground” in the West Bank are meant to salt the earth for future negotiations and could cause serious tensions between Israel and the United States in the early days of a Biden-Harris Administration. This ongoing and illegal process of de facto annexation

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29 November, 2020


November 29th is the International solidarity day with the Palestinian People.

J-Link, as an international network of progressive Jewish organizations, recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and calls upon the nations of the world that have not done so to recognize the State of Palestine.

The UN Assembly recognized the State of Palestine as an observer state, in November 2011, with the support of a majority of 137 countries and 9 opposed. Most of the countries around the globe recognize Palestine and many of them host Palestinian ambassadors in their capitals. Thirteen Western European Parliaments called upon their governments to recognize the State of Palestine between the years 2014-2015.

J-Link is committed to the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and believes that further international recognition of Palestine will enhance the possibility of a negotiated agreement in the future that fulfils the needs and wishes of both peoples.

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November 11, 2020


Dear President-Elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Harris:

J-Link, an international network of progressive Jewish organizations, congratulates you on your election. We wish you great success with your efforts to heal the divides, promote justice and raise hope domestically and globally.

As Jews who care about the state of Israel, its democracy and its security, we call upon you to renew US contact with the re-ignite peace talks in order to bring about a resolution of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

Attached to this letter is our J-Link Mission Statement. We support the traditional US role as a respected and impartial promoter of peace in the Middle East. We look forward to working with your government in support of our shared desire for a peaceful future.

Yours respectfully,

J-Link Coordinating Committee,

Kenneth Bob (Ameinu, U.S.A.), Barbara Landau (JSpaceCanada, Canada), Alon Liel (Policy Working Group, Israel), Pablo Lummerman (J-AmLat, Argentina), Giorgio Gomel (JCall Europe, Italy), Gabriella Saven (The Jewish Democratic Initiative, South Africa).

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November 11, 2020


Dear President Mahmoud Abbas

We are writing on behalf of J-Link, an international network of progressive Jewish organizations, to express our condolences on the untimely death of Dr. Saeb Erekat.

Dr. Erekat was internationally respected as a consistent voice for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, based on the right to self-determination of the two peoples. He held fast to the hope of achieving a negotiated 2 state outcome, and his leadership will be missed at this time of many challenges for the Palestinian people.

Our sympathy to his family and to those who share his hopes and vision for peace between our people.


J-Link Coordinating Committee, Alon Liel, Policy Working Group, Israel; Ken Bob, Ameinu, U.S.; Giorgio Gomel, J-Call, Italy: Barbara Landau, JSpaceCanada; Gabriella Saven, Jewish Democratic Initiative, South Africa; Pablo Lumerman, J-AmLat, Argentina.

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August 21, 2020

J-Link Statement on the Israel-UAE Deal

J-Link, the international network of progressive Jewish organizations, welcomes the agreement reached between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize ties between the two countries.

Recognition of Israel’s legitimate existence and the establishment of diplomatic relations, years after the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, is another important step in Israel’s acceptance in the Middle East. This is a welcome move toward integration in a region of the world to which it rightfully belongs


Israel’s commitment to suspend plans to unilaterally annex areas of occupied Palestinian Territories is a positive step. The worldwide opposition by national governments, international institutions, and civil society to such plans played a significant role in this respect. Opposition was strong and widespread including in the Jewish Diaspora. J-Link is proud to have contributed to the anti-annexation campaign..

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14 April, 2020


Dear General Benny Gantz, Chairman of the Knesset (Gabi Ashkenazi, MK; Amir Peretz, MK)

Passover is a time for Jews to reflect on our commitment to freedom, justice, security, and a yearning for a national homeland. There is now an imminent threat to these cherished values. According to the recent coalition draft, your proposed emergency unity government will introduce a Bill in the Knesset within the next three months to annex parts of the West Bank. This will happen without negotiations with the Palestinians, contrary to UN resolutions and international law. A simple majority in the Knesset will end the possibility of a viable two- state solution.