The J Call movement was launched in a meeting held Monday at the European Parliament in Brussels. The movement urges the European Union to press Israel to end the occupation in Judea and Samaria and sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians in line with the two-state doctrine.
The initiative, a first of its kind, drew Jewish intellectuals and public figures from across Europe and from Israel as well. Organizers say they are motivated by concern for the State of Israel's wellbeing and believe that the only way to ensure its existence as a Jewish and democratic state is to immediately work to establish two states.
Speakers at the meeting included French philosopher and writer Bernard Henri Levy, as well as politicians and Jewish community leaders from Europe. Israel's leftist camp was represented by Professor Zeev Sternhell, former ambassador to France Elie Bar Navi, and former envoy to Germany Avi Primor.
'Warning a friend'The head of France's Peace Now branch, David Chemla, said the new movement's call is only directed at Israelis, adding that the group feels it has a duty to warn its friend. Meanwhile, Bar-Navi said that the days where only Israel's enemies were allowed to speak are over.
Up until now, Israel supporters faced only had one choice, he said: Supporting a hawkish policy or keeping silent.
Professor Sternhell said that J Street's distinction is in showing US Jews that supporting Israel doesn't automatically suggest endorsing any policy adopted by Israeli governments.
"The Israeli government should be pressured from three directions: The US administration, European governments and the Jewish communities," he said. "They must have a voice in the matter."
J Call is blatantly coming out against other organizations which represent European Jewish communities. Criticism of the new initiative was promptly raised by leading European Jewish figures claiming J Call was a danger to Israel, catering to its enemies. They argued that the new leftist initiative does not make equal demands of the Palestinian leadership and effectively blames Israel for the political stagnation.
Meanwhile, far Left groups also criticized J Call, claiming it legitimizes a racist Israel.