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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The difference between criticizing Israel and being anti-Israel

Isi Leibler explains the difference between criticizing Israel and being anti-Israel, and why J Street clearly falls into the latter category.
The dividing lines between J Street and mainstream Jewish groups are not its views, but its efforts to convince Americans to encourage President Barack Obama to pressure the Israeli government. It is surely unconscionable for trendy American Jews to canvass their government to force Israel to act contrary to its will regarding national security, with potential life-and-death repercussions. J Street justifies this on the grounds that Israelis need “tough love,” comparing us to children on drugs who must be pressured into doing what’s good for them, or impounding the car keys of a drunken friend.

The blatant dishonesty of Ben-Ami’s stated willingness to back Israel during war was demonstrated by J Street’s approach to the Gaza conflict – which united all sections of the Israeli political spectrum, including the far-Left Meretz. J Street applied moral equivalence to Israel and Hamas, claiming that “there are many who recognize elements of truth on both sides of this gaping divide,” and reproached Israel for launching “a disproportionate response.” It stated that “we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly of right and wrong,” and accused Israelis of “lacking sanity and moderation” in their attitude toward Hamas.

J Street also supports and finances the candidacy of anti-Israel congressmen, and constantly campaigns against pro-Israel resolutions in Congress. Immediately following the Fogel family massacre, J Street even opposed a bi-partisan congressional resolution condemning the PA for anti- Semitic incitement, claiming that “the current PA leadership has taken great political risks and shown real willingness to end the conflict.” It facilitated meetings on Capitol Hill for Goldstone to promote his discredited report. Furthermore, in 2009 – at the height of the Iran sanctions debate – Ben- Ami published an article opposing UN sanctions, although he has since changed his position.

J Street lobbied against a US veto of an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council, prompting Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman to sever ties with the group, quipping that “J Street is so open minded about what constitutes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.”

J Street repeatedly slanders AIPAC and its efforts to generate bi-partisan support for Israeli governments, labeling it an extreme right-wing body. It warns American Jews that their “one-sided support of Israel” could lead to charges of dual loyalties. One of its founding partners and a member of its advisory board, Daniel Levy, even told a gathering in Abu Dhabi that the creation of Israel was “an act that was wrong.”

J Street now ritually condemns boycott, divestment and sanctions, yet still welcomes organizations promoting BDS, like Voices for Peace, in their conferences. It also co-sponsored a congressional mission to Israel with Churches for the Middle East, a pro-BDS coalition. It honors IDF soldiers who refuse to obey orders. It supports the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity group, which calls for the liquidation of the Jewish Agency and Jewish National Fund.

Ben-Ami tries to make light of the scandal that exposed him as a serial liar, obliging him to apologize for having repeatedly denied that J Street was clandestinely funded by George Soros, a pathologically anti-Israel Jew. There are other anonymous offshore donors, and evidence that much of J Street’s funding emanates from sources hostile to Israel, including Arabs.

The list of J Street’s anti-Israel initiatives is endless. Most are either ignored or played down in Ben-Ami’s misleading book, which could well serve as a case study of Orwellian double-speak, topped by the dishonest manner in which it portrays itself as “pro-Israel”. It is reminiscent of the “pro-peace” communist front organizations that sought to dupe bleeding-heart liberals into believing they were promoting peace, whilst in reality they were advancing the interests of the “Evil Empire.”
J Street may be a lot of things, but pro-Israel is definitely not one of them.

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