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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Official Israel wakes up to the danger of J Street

In what might be described as something of a watershed event, the Israeli embassy in Washington has described J Street, the 'pro-Israel, pro-peace' organization that is actually pro-'Palestinian,' as something that could hurt Israel's interests.
Despite early indications the embassy was looking to engage the group, [Ambassador Michael] Oren has yet to meet with executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami or agree to participate in the [J Street's annual] conference.

Instead, the embassy has "communicated to J Street its views on the peace process and on the best way to ensure Israel's security," according to embassy spokesman Yoni Peled.

The message, Peled said, is that "while recognizing the need for a free and open debate on these issues, it is important to stress concern over certain policies that could impair Israel's interests."
J Street's response is what you might expect:
"It's not a surprise that we disagree with certain Israeli government policies," J Street spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said. "Our bottom line is that we always support the State of Israel and its future as a democracy."

"That's why J Street exists - to have this open debate" on differing points of view, she explained, adding that the organization still hopes Oren will attend the conference to further that discussion.

According to Spitalnick, some 1,000 Israel activists will attend the multi-day event. In addition, 160 members of Congress have signed onto the host committee for the conference gala.
I question whether those are 'Israel activists.' Or at least whether they are 'pro-Israel activists.' We already know that J Street receives significant support from people who seek to undermine the existence of the Jewish state.

Read the whole thing.

Spitalinick's response later in the article to criticism related to Stephen Walt's support for J Street is disingenuous, to put it mildly. And I understand that the list of 160 members of Congress who have signed onto the 'host committee' is quite a piece of work that includes almost no Republicans and that also does not include many Democrats who are known to be strong supporters of Israel.


At 1:50 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

J-street is not by any stretch of the imagination a pro-Israel organization. It acts to build US support for policies that harm Israel, strengthen its enemies and make peace even more remote in the Middle East. Just because they have Jews does not mean what people think it means.

What could go wrong indeed


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