As the president and founder of J Street, a pro-Israel, pro-peace organization, I recently had the pleasure of visiting the region at an incredibly exciting time.

While I was there, a new coalition government was formed, with over three-quarters of the Knesset, Israel’s legislature, in the government.

The new coalition provides Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a nearly unprecedented level of support that could allow him to take strong steps toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The conversations our staff and lay leaders on our trip had with government officials and community leaders in Israel, Jordan and on the West Bank reinforced the deep urgency of achieving immediate progress towards two states and the critical role of the United States in jump-starting the otherwise-stalled peace efforts.

Yet what do we continue to see in our own country when it comes to the political debate surrounding Israel?

Candidates for office stake out hawkish positions they have been misled into believing they must adopt to be elected. Mega-funders are ready to pour millions into attack campaigns against candidates who stand up for peace, two states and rational American policy on Iran and the Middle East.

The concept of being pro-Israel is being hijacked by people who dismiss the two-state solution and who are not working for the rational interests of either Israel or the United States. This is why we founded J Street just over four years ago.

What we knew then continues to be true today. First, U.S. leadership is critical to breaking the stalemate. We found that there is a widespread expectation in the region that after the election the United States will engage assertively in a renewed effort to end the conflict.

Second, the prospects for progress toward a two-state solution depend on a broad-based stable Israeli governing coalition. Today, the emergence of the second-largest governing coalition in Israel’s history means Netanyahu is no longer constrained by his domestic politics from taking the necessary steps to make peace.

Finally, with patience running out in the region, we know that failure to act in this forthcoming window of opportunity may irreparably damage both the prospects for a two-state solution and American standing in the Middle East.

Look at what we have already seen in this U.S. election cycle. There have been outrageous statements as candidates trip over themselves to be to the right of even the Israeli government. We’ve heard Newt Gingrich say the Palestinians are an “invented people.” We saw Rick Perry promote Israeli annexation of the West Bank. We have heard Mitt Romney claim that “Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.”

This kind of rhetoric represents a dangerous break with bipartisan consensus over the last four presidential administrations that supported a land-for-peace formula, opposed settlement expansion and recognized the importance of a direct U.S. role in brokering a negotiated two-state solution.

These election-year political antics are predicated on a fundamental misreading of where American Jews and pro-Israel Americans actually stand when it comes to resolving the conflict.

Polls consistently show the majority of American Jews support a two-state solution and an active U.S. role in helping the parties achieve it.

The bottom line is that we have to seize our government’s Israel policy back from the polarizing politics of this election year; we don’t have the luxury of taking a year off from this issue as the window for achieving a two-state solution narrows.

That’s what we in the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement are trying to do.

In addition to the 58 other candidates J Street’s PAC has endorsed this cycle, we last week announced our endorsement of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is not only well-recognized as a stalwart supporter of Israel. In her capacity as chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she is also charged with much of the responsibility for protecting our security and that of our allies.

Someone with this level of responsibility and experience gives great weight to the advocates of pursuing diplomatic, not military, solutions to political problems.

The New York Times commented on the larger significance of the endorsement, saying, “the assumption has always been that to run for office, you have to run to the right on this issue with a relatively hawkish view on Israel and the Middle East — the ‘Israel right or wrong’ position. (JStreetPAC is) changing that calculus.”

What does it mean to really support a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?

It requires more than lip service from our Congress, the world’s greatest deliberative body, and from the American president.

It demands concrete and bold action backing a potentially historic effort and the diplomacy to end the conflict once and for all.

Jeremy Ben-Ami is president of J Street, a pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy and lobby group based in Washington.