American Jewish groups across the board congratulated Friday the Egyptian people on ousting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and expressed hope that the country maintained peace with Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement in response saying that "We join with the Egyptian people and the international community in hoping this new era will unfold peacefully and smoothly."

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued said in the statement that "tere are serious questions about what role the Muslim Brotherhood will play in the transition and beyond, and how this will impact Egypt’s policies, and its relations with the West and the State of Israel."

"The people of Egypt must now channel their passion for change into the more difficult task of building the foundations for a true open, inclusive and stable democracy," they said, adding that they "urge that those who manage this transitional period commit to sustaining regional stability, including through maintaining and enhancing peaceful relations and security cooperation with Israel."

The Simon Wiesenthal Center also issued a statement congratulating the Egyptians for their "courageous and non-violent transformation of their country.”

"We hope that future developments will help institutionalize individual and political freedoms and that the new Egyptian government will continue to maintain the legacy of peaceful coexistence with all its neighbors, including the state of Israel," the statement said. 

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami welcomed Mubarak’s stepping down, applauded the Egyptian people “who have inspired the world through their nonviolent movement to secure an Egypt that guarantees representative government, opportunity and dignity” – and called upon the Israeli Government and the US Administration to work to achieve the two-state solution.

“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”, Ben-Ami wrote.

“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”.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, said in a statement: “As Jews we are taught that a ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted.(Babylonian Talmud Berachot 55a). We hope and pray that the transition in Egypt will be one of calm and peace and that the next leader of Egypt will be chosen through open and democratic elections."

"We further pray that the next government will continue Egypt's leadership in the area of regional security and work to protect both Egypt's and the world's interest in continuing peace with Israel." Yoffie said.

 

The progressive Jews were skeptical about the perspective of the military securing the transition to democracy. Tikkun magazine's editor Rabbi Michael Lerner and the Network of Spiritual Progressives warned in a statement “we are fearful that the U.S. and others who seek 'stability' rather than 'democracy' may accept a new autocratic regime under the leadership of Vice President Omar Suleiman [the U.S. ally who played a significant role in the torture operations in Egypt] or under the leadership of a 'soft' military coup in which the Army becomes the primary force in Egypt. Nor would we welcome a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, though they have a legitimate role to play in any new government."

"It remains to be seen if a genuine democratic process takes place, or merely a military and security forces controlled process leading to elections that reflect the desires of the military which might continue to control the media and the security forces," he said.