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Twenty-Six Reasons J Street’s Demise Shouldn’t Be Mourned

A compendium of their falsehoods, misdirections, and anti-Israel activities.

by
Lenny Ben-David

Bio

February 22, 2011 - 12:00 am

11. J Street’s PAC received tens of thousands of dollars from one of the leaders of the Arab American community, Richard Abdoo. J Street’s relationship with the Arab American Institute is very tight, with the two organizations meeting together with White House officials. The Arab American Institute was also identified in 2004 as involved in a plot to establish a bogus organization called the Alliance for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, an organization that railed against Israeli settlements and praised Saudi King Abdullah’s peace plan. Behind the plot was a PR firm called Qorvis that served as Saudi Arabia’s foreign agent in Washington. The FBI raided Qorvis because of the bogus organization. Are J Street and the Arab American Institute the Alliance’s successors?

12. J Street PAC repeatedly took contributions from a Turkish American, Mehmet Celebi of Chicago. The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign dropped Celebi in 2008 when they discovered he helped produce Valley of the Wolves, a viciously anti-American and anti-Semitic Turkish film.

13. J Street refused to support Israel’s “Molten Lead” operation into Gaza in December 2008. At the outbreak of the conflict, J Street declared the action was “counterproductive” to peace and repeatedly called for a ceasefire. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a leader of the Reform movement, attacked the J Street position as “morally deficient” and “profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment.”

14. J Street attacked critics of the appointment of the controversial Chas Freeman as the director of the National Intelligence Council. Ben-Ami charged that Freeman was done in because he was critical of Israel. “What is important to me,” Ben Ami wrote, “is that the Obama team not draw the lesson from this episode that they simply need to be more careful vetting of appointees to make sure they’ve never criticized Israel.” In truth, Freeman was opposed by many who were troubled by his defense of China’s human rights record and his close connections with Saudi Arabia, but Ben-Ami would not be deterred from attacking Israel’s supporters. “Some are strutting proudly today at the personal destruction of someone who — in their view — is a real foe of Israel. In their view, intimidating those who would otherwise speak their mind on Israel is the ultimate service to protect and defend the state of Israel.”

15. J Street recently sponsored a speaking tour for John Ging, head of UNRWA in Gaza. The raison d’être of UNRWA is to perpetuate the Palestinian refugees’ status, thus encouraging their “right of return.”  J Street hosts speakers who most certainly cannot be perceived as “pro-Israel.”

16. The largest donor to J Street’s PAC is Bob Morris — a “Latin teacher,” according to Federal Election papers — and an eccentric perennial political candidate from Teton Village near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Morris, who is not known for any involvement in Israel or Jewish-related activity, gave $36,000 because, as he wrote recently, J Street “offset(s) the influence of AIPAC. It opposes Israel’s colonies on the West Bank … the #1 threat [sic] to our national security — and Israel’s.”

17. J Street’s congressional visit to Israel in February 2010 was a disaster. J Street’s Educational Fund cosponsored the mission with an activist group called Churches for Peace in the Middle East, an organization whose affiliates support the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) efforts against Israel. When J Street’s Israel handlers, including Ben-Ami’s own PR company, sought a meeting with Israel’s deputy foreign minister they rejected a request by the official that he meet only with the representatives. “It’s all of us, or none of us,” was the gist of the well-publicized J Street response. In the end there was no meeting. Incidentally, two of the five representatives failed to return to Washington in the new Congress.

18. Morton Halperin serves as one of five directors of J Street. Halperin is a close advisor to George Soros and was the author of a letter to members of Congress written on behalf of Richard Goldstone, defending the Goldstone Report critical of Israel’s conduct in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

19. J Street staff helped set up meetings for Richard Goldstone on Capitol Hill. The organization “facilitated meetings between members of Congress and South African Judge Richard Goldstone,” the Washington Times reported. “Colette Avital — a former Labor Party member of the Knesset and until recently J Street’s liaison in Israel — told the Washington Times that her decision to resign her post with J Street earlier this year was a result in part of the group’s “connection to Judge Goldstone. ‘When Judge Goldstone came to Washington, [J Street leaders were] suggesting that they might help him set up his appointments on Capitol Hill.’”

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