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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
J Street claims
to support Israel, but in truth provides devious cover for anti-Zionists
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 guardian.co.uk, 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.
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 http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html.
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.
||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
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, guardian.co.uk
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
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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