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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Z Street stands down J Street

On Friday, I published an email account by StandWithUs's Roz Rothsetein of Thursday night's J Street event at the University of Pennsylvania. Arutz Sheva has more details of the evening's events.
Z Street, a local pro-Israel organization initially attempted to pressure the University to withdraw its invitation to J Street’s Ben-Ami but when Hillel responded with claims that it was merely renting space to the powerful Washington lobby, Z Street settled for a room in the Hillel building to hold a simultaneous pro-Israel event. The group brought Mitchell Bard, who attracted most of the students concerned with events in the Middle East, and left J Street an audience comprised mainly of elderly Jews from the Philadelphia area.


During the period that the Z Street sponsored Mitchell Bard event attracted students away from Ben-Ami’s presentation, the ZFA distributed flyers explaining why the school’s pro-Israel students were opposed to – and ashamed of – J Street’s presence at their Hillel. The flyers included many anti-Israel statements made by J Street leaders and showcased how J Street seeks to undermine Israel’s sovereignty and security by imposing its political agenda on an independent state. Several members of J Street unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the distribution of the ZFA flyers. After handing out all of their material and speaking to the local media, the Zionist students entered the event but were prevented from asking questions.

ZFA told Israel National News that their protest was not only directed at J Street but also at the Hillel staff who, in their view, pushes an extremist political agenda. In recent years the Penn Hillel has brought fringe groups to campus such as Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence, each of whom receive generous funding from European governments hostile to the Jewish state.

“Its time for us to take back our Hillel and give students a voice again,” Finkel said. “Hillel exists so that Jewish students can have a safe haven on campus. It is hard enough to advocate for Israel on campus without your own Hillel giving space to dangerous and manipulative anti-Israel groups like J Street. Israel is an independent state with its own government and leaders. The people of Israel can and do make their own choices. What right do American extremists like J Street have to impose their will on a foreign country?”

Read the whole thing.


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