The liberal Middle East advocacy group J Street accused Israel of "fanning growing flames of anti-Semitism" by waging a military campaign to stop Hamas terrorists from firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
J Street, which has said little about the conflict in recent weeks, released a statement Friday afternoon after Hamas resumed attacks on Israel moments after a temporary 72-hour ceasefire had expired.
J Street decided that now is the time to "put forward some hard truths" about Israel as it fights to defend its citizens from terrorism.
"Failure to solve this conflict is eating away at support for Israel around the world, damaging the country’s legitimacy and, in some cases, fanning growing flames of anti-Semitism," J Street leader Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a posting on the group’s website.
The U.S.-based group also accuses Israel of being racist. Little is said of Hamas’ commitment to the genocide of all Jewish people.
"When members of Israel’s sitting government openly oppose the two-state solution, spout racism, and promote ideas that undermine Israel’s democratic fabric, it’s hard to view this government as a credible partner for a real and substantial peace," Ben-Ami writes.
"Hatred of the other" among Israelis and the American Jewish community "needs to be addressed," according to Ben-Ami.
"The growth and extent of hatred of the other, intolerance and outright racism in our own Jewish community – both in Israel and in the United States – is frightening. It needs to be addressed directly and combated seriously by our community’s leaders here and in Israel," according to Ben-Ami
"We highlight the need to fight the racism and intolerance that are growing too quickly in Israel and in the American Jewish community," he adds.
J Street also is against Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which continues to be enforced in order to ensure that missiles and other weapons do not flow freely into Gaza.
"Keeping the Palestinian people locked up under near-total blockade or occupation only strengthens extremists like Hamas, undermines moderate partners like President Abbas, and increases the threat to Israel rather than making it more secure," according to the statement.
Ben-Ami also demands that Israel "respect" the Obama administration.
"The Israeli government should pay more heed to the advice of its friends in the White House and the State Department and at a minimum should show them the respect that the country’s closest ally deserves," he writes.