It took a week, but J Street now regrets its board member's meeting with Hamas
A week ago, the Washington Jewish Week reported that J Street founder and board member Kathleen Peratis met with Hamas
That J Street board member is Kathleen Peratis (also an initial founder of the group), a partner at the New York law firm of Outten & Golden LLP. She also co-chairs the Middle East and North Africa Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch.
Peratis recounted her time exploring Gaza's illicit smuggling operation in a recent article for The Forward.
While Peratis was not in the Gaza Strip at J Street's behest, I can't help but wonder why a prominent member of the American Jewish community was canoodling with Hamas - a known terrorist group that you might recognize from its previous appearances in "The Bombing of Israeli Citizens" and "The Violent Kidnapping of an Israeli solider." (J Street did not officially sponsor Peratis' trip, but it was happy to circulate her article to members of the J Street family -- as well as reporters and others -- via the group's daily news round-up.)
Asked what to make of Peratis' eyebrow-raising article, a J Street official said that Peratis does not speak for the group on this issue.
J Street spokesperson Jessica Rosenblum, in fact, went on the record to say that "J Street believes that Hamas' consistent opposition to the peace process, its support for terror against Israeli civilians, its use of violence for political purposes and its denial of the Holocaust are reprehensible."
Peratis, however, recounts her experience as a fun-filled joy fest spent with friends. She quotes one smuggler as saying: "Please tell your friends that Hamas people are ordinary people. We are not barbarians."
Right. "Ordinary people" who routinely murder innocent men, women, and children -- and assassinate their own political adversaries. (Though not every resident of Gaza, of course, is a terrorist. Far from it.)
It took a week of handing out her article but J Street has finally decided that Peratis' meeting wasn't a good idea
J Street strongly regrets the recent meetings by its Board member Kathleen Peratis with members of Hamas and the articles that she has written about her visit to Gaza.
J Street’s policy clearly states our belief that “Hamas’ consistent opposition to the peace process, its support for terror against Israeli civilians, its use of violence for political purposes, and its denial of the Holocaust are reprehensible.”
In our view, J Street leaders – directors and staff – should not meet with Hamas.
Ms. Peratis was advised prior to her trip of J Street’s view that its leaders should not meet with Hamas. We deeply regret that she chose to meet with Hamas representatives anyway.
She did not represent J Street in the meetings she did have, and her writings do not in any way reflect the views of J Street.
But of course, they're not going to kick her off their board or something even though J Street leaders 'shouldn't meet with Hamas.' Think of all the money she's given them. I mean, what's important in life?
Labels: Hamas, J Street