Given that Egypt/Israeli peace has helped stabilize the Middle East, President Hosni Mubarak's resignation is of particular interest to Israel and its advocates in the U.S. So far, three American Jewish/Israel groups have spoken out, welcoming the development with varying measures of trepidation.
AIPAC (formally the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the most staid and staunchly pro-Israel advocacy group in Washington, doesn't usually say much, but today it offered hope that Mubarak's resignation doesn't upset Egypt's alliance with the U.S. Spokeswoman Jennifer Cannata e-mailed this statement:
"AIPAC hopes that today's historic events will lead to an Egypt that embraces democracy, respects freedom and rejects radicalism. We also hope that Egypt's government continues the country's pro-American, pro-Western orientation and expresses a firm commitment to maintaining its peace treaty with Israel."
J Street, the left-leaning group founded in 2007 by ex-Clintonite Jeremy Ben-Ami, welcomed Mubarak's resignation more enthusiastically. Ben-Ami's statement:
J Street welcomes the announcement that Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as President of Egypt.
We applaud the bravery of the Egyptian people who have inspired the world through their nonviolent movement to secure an Egypt that guarantees representative government, opportunity and dignity.
The cries of the Egyptian people for freedom and democracy have echoed across the globe with people of all races, religions and backgrounds who have known oppression and tyranny. We have all been inspired by the courage of those who, against all odds, took to the streets and changed the world - in particular, the younger generation which has led the way, seeking not only greater freedom but a better future for themselves and their families.
We hope that the military council which has taken control of Egypt will fulfill its commitment to hold elections and manage a smooth and rapid transition toward democracy and civilian rule, in keeping with the nonviolent spirit of the people on prominent display before the world these past few weeks.
Today, a new chapter opens in the history not just of Egypt, but of the Middle East. We pray it is a chapter rooted in freedom, dignity and respect for others. As Americans, Jews, and friends of Israel, we hope as well it is a chapter rooted in peace, and that the treaty between Israel and Egypt remains, as it has been, a bedrock of stability in a volatile region.
The epic changes underway in the broader Arab world have important implications for Israel, beyond simply its bilateral relationship with Egypt, as well as for the United States. It is now even more imperative to seriously pursue a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert provided the following advice this week to his successor Benjamin Netanyahu in light of events in Egypt: "Don't wait. Move, lead and make history. This is the time. There will not be a better one."
The tides of history are with those seeking their freedom, and it is imperative for the United States and Israel to work proactively to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict. Today's news from Egypt only increases the urgency, making clear once again that in these historic tides, an unsustainable status quo will not hold.
A second left-leaning group, the National Jewish Democratic Congress, also praised Mubarak's resignation but noted that "a difficult situation lies ahead." From NJDC President David Harris:
Today's resignation of President Hosni Mubarak is a truly historic moment for Egypt and the entire Middle East. The ability of the Egyptian people to make their voices heard in favor of democracy and liberty was an inspiration to all of us who regard these freedoms as paramount.
We recognize that President Barack Obama and the entire Administration has worked vigorously to ensure the core principles that the United States was founded upon are observed during the events in recent week -- and we are proud of how the White House has represented the United States during this tremendously fluid time.
As the President noted in his comments this afternoon, a difficult transition lies ahead. Significant questions remain about Egypt's relations with Israel -- and Israel's own critical security needs. We are confident that President Obama and America's allies will help encourage a newly free Egypt to embrace peaceful coexistence with its neighbors -- and stability throughout the Middle East -- as key benchmarks moving forward.
The hallmark and proof of this real transition will be genuine democracy; it's up to America and all freedom-loving people to help ensure this transition, for the sake of the Egyptian people.
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