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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
(415) 356-7801

November 3, 2009

J Street claims to support Israel, but in truth provides devious cover for anti-Zionists

Dear Friend of FLAME:

J Street started in 2008 as a alternative to the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful independent lobbying organization in the U.S. working on behalf of the state of Israel.  From J Street's official statements---pro-Israel, pro-peace, supporting a two-state solution---it's difficult to see the difference between it and AIPAC, since AIPAC assertively supports these values as well.  However, J Street also states that it was started as a reaction to the influence of the "far right" in the American political debate on Israel, and that is the first clue as to its pedigree.

While J Street claims to be a voice of moderation in this debate, its recent annual conference, which attracted a reported 1,500 attendees, seems to be dominated by voices of the far left.  J Street, for example, has yet to condemn the notorious Goldstone Report on Israel's alleged "war crimes" put out by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, and when liberal Rabbi Eric Yoffie condemned the report at the J Street convention, he was booed.

Jamie Weinstein, a reporter for FrontPage who was in attendance at that conference, observes that it was "instructive to listen to what J-Streeters asked when they were given the opportunity to question various speakers. [M]ore often than not, these questions were critical of Israel. For instance, at a panel discussion on Iran, one J-Streeter asked why Israel could have nuclear weapons and not Iran? The question was warmly received with applause."

Another journalist, Jonathan Chait of the liberal New Republic, who spoke at the conference in favor of a group "like J Street," was chagrined to discover that "J Street had loosened the definition of 'pro-Israel' to the point where it had virtually no meaning. As a result, the group has attracted the support of a lot of people who do not think of themselves as pro-Israel at all, some of whom oppose Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state."

A controversy arose last week when J Street's campus organization moved to drop the "pro-Israel" component of the group's mission.  The group quickly denied dropping that phrase, but has reportedly left the decision about using it to individual campus chapters.

In addition to attracting ultra-left anti-Zionists, J Street seems also to have attracted supporters with strong pro-Arab backgrounds, including former political agents of Saudi Arabia, as well as money connected to Saudi Arabia.

None of this would be so bad if J Street hadn't recently been invited by President Obama to take part in an advisory meeting with other Jewish organizations on the Middle East peace process---the first time the group has been included at this level of American politics, while the venerable and more conservative Zionist Organization of American was excluded from the meeting. 

This week's FLAME Hotline, written by Isi Leibler in the British online, provides a concise outline of the facts that discredit this new group.  I strongly recommend you review this article, since I'm confident you'll be hearing more about J Street in the future, and it's critical you can respond to friends and colleagues with the facts.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME


If you agree that FLAME's outspoken brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's ability to influence public opinion---including the administration's tendency to hold Israel solely responsible for peace in the Middle East---comes from Israel's supporters like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

P.P.S. President Obama has asked for input from U.S. citizens on his Middle East policies. To give him your opinion about whether J Street represents your positions on Israel, please write the President---immediately.

J Street's 'pro-Israel' stance is phoney
"This lobby group reminds me of the Jewish communists who defended Stalin's antisemitism in the guise of a peace campaign."
By Isi Leibler, October 26, 2009,

Antony Lerman falsely accuses me of calling for the "excommunication" of liberal lobby group J Street like the "Jewish apostates of the Middle Ages" who "fabricated blood libels". I have never proposed denying freedom of expression to groups hostile to Israel. I do, however, challenge J Street's duplicity in trying to masquerade as a Jewish mainstream "pro-Israel" organisation while consistently campaigning against the Jewish state. J Street represents a mere fringe group whose views are totally at variance with the attitude of the overwhelming majority of American Jews.

J Street policies are even more extreme than the most radical Israeli leftwing groups. The fighting with Hamas in Gaza, which was endorsed by all Jewish political parties in the Knesset, was criticised by J Street as "counterproductive" and "disproportionate". This, of itself, is no issue. What is unacceptable is the moral equivalency made by J Street between the policies of Israel and Hamas and its difficulty in distinguishing "between who is right and who is wrong".

It was recently disclosed that Arab and pro-Iranian elements were providing approximately 10% of J Street funding, a somewhat bizarre situation for a genuinely "pro-Israel" organisation. One donor and member of the organisation's finance committee, Genevieve Lynch, participated in the National Iranian American Council, the unofficial lobby group for the Iranian government. Judith Barnett, a former registered agent for Saudi Arabia, is a donor and serves on the J Street advisory council. Nancy Dutton, until 2008 an attorney for the Saudi Arabian embassy, donates to J Street's political action committees, which actively finance anti-Israeli congressional candidates.

In summary, J Street displays a consistent track record of hostility towards Israel. One has yet to see a single statement backing Israel on any substantive issue. It vigorously lobbies the US government to be "tough" to exert pressure on Israel's democratically elected government to make unilateral concessions. It opposes sanctions against Iran. It financially supports the election of anti-Israeli congressmen and raises the spectre of dual loyalties for American Jews who support Israel. In the process, it defames mainstream Jewish organisations, depicting them as extremists and misrepresents itself as a unique promoter of a "two-state policy" — despite the fact that a virtual consensus favouring this prevails among Israelis and diaspora Jews alike. It receives financial support and praise from foes of Israel. For an organisation of this nature to promote itself as "pro-Israel" is utterly preposterous.

Today the Jewish state is facing unprecedented pressures far beyond calls to freeze settlements. In the aftermath of the toxic Goldstone report, Israelis travelling abroad now face the threat of prosecution as war criminals, not least in Britain itself, where universal jurisdiction is cynically exploited by anti-Israel elements. Israel also faces the danger of a nuclear Iran. In these and other existential threats to Israel's very legitimacy and survival, Israel is largely dependent on US support, which J Street seeks to undermine.

No one seeks to deny critics of Israel freedom of expression. What is contemptible is the "pro-Israel, pro-peace" pretensions of J Street, reminiscent as they are of the Jewish communists who defended Stalin's state-sponsored Soviet anti-Semitism in the guise of promoting bogus "peace" campaigns.

The committed global Jewish community encompasses a wide range of opinions on many matters related to the Jewish state. However, it fervently supports Israel's broad struggle to defend its citizens against terror campaigns orchestrated by the mullahs of Iran through their surrogates, Hamas and Hezbollah. J Street is thus utterly dishonest when it lobbies the Obama administration to impose unilateral concessions on Israel, while misleadingly posing as speaking on behalf of the American Jewish mainstream. This is misrepresentation plain and simple.

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