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Peeling Off J Street’s Invisibility Cloak: What Today’s NY Times Magazine Won’t Tell You

Examine the new progressive pro-Israel lobby closely, and you'll find a Palestinian billionaire and agents for Arab states.

by
Lenny Ben-David

Bio

September 13, 2009 - 12:19 am
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There is no street in Washington named for the letter  “J,” but that hasn’t stopped a group of critics of Israel from forming the “J Street” lobby. It’s like J. K. Rowling’s invisible Platform 9 ¾ at the King’s Cross Station. Befitting a Harry Potter character, J Street performs acts of illusion and deception such as cooking its polling data and presenting it as scientific truth.  The “pro-Israel” J Street PAC has cloaked dozens of PAC contributors as plain citizens, when they are actually Arab-American, Palestinian, Islamic, and pro-Iranian activists. All the while, J Street hides the names of its directors and has never explained who makes its controversial decisions.

The adoring media audience gasps with uncritical wonderment at the amazing show of prestidigitation carried out so far by the upstart lobby. The  J Street appreciation society was expanded today with a lengthy piece in the New York Times.

Breaking out of the media trance, a Jerusalem Post reporter recently revealed that the organization maintains a “finance committee” consisting of “50 members — with a $10,000 contribution threshold.”  It’s members include, according to the report, “Lebanese-American businessman Richard Abdoo, a current board member of Amideast and a former board member of the Arab American Institute, and Genevieve Lynch, who is also a member of the National Iranian American Council board.”

The latest conjurer is Zahi Khouri, who contributed to J Street PAC this summer. The unfortunate man is listed in Federal Election Committee records filed by J Street as “not employed” and living in Orlando, Florida.

Open the New York Times of September 9 to the Op-Ed section, however, and learn that he is the “chief executive of the Palestinian National Beverage Co.” The Times could have gone on to describe Khouri as a director of the Palestinian Development and Investment Company (PADICO) and CEO of Paltel, the Palestinian telecommunications company and cellular service provider.  He also writes that he lives in the West Bank, [cue violins] having “left a comfortable life on Park Avenue in Manhattan” to open his Coke franchise.

In his New York Times article, Khouri decries Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s attempts to achieve an “economic peace” between the Palestinians and Israel. He dismisses the seven percent growth projected for the West Bank, fails to mention the crippling corruption that has plagued the Palestinian Authority, and ignores the Palestinian terrorism that wracked the West Bank and Gaza economies and forced Israel to build security barriers to protect its citizens. When the previous Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, offered almost all of the West Bank and sections of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority’s Abu Abbas rejected the deal. But Khouri the conjurer lays the blame for the stalemate at Netanyahu’s feet.

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