J Street Exposed
Much of J Street’s duplicity and problematic agenda can be read between the lines in statements by its executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami. Asked about J Street’s funding from Arab and Muslim sources, Ben-Ami said (worth quoting despite somewhat dense verbiage):
I think it is a terrific thing for Israel for us to be able to expand the tent of people who are willing to be considered pro-Israel and willing to support Israel through J Street. ... We are so clearly pro-Israel, and we are an organization that is grounded in and based in Jewish values and a Jewish desire to support the state of Israel, that if someone wants to choose to do their political giving through us, it’s more a question for them: Do they want to be seen to be giving their money through us? If they do it, that’s the statement they’re making.
You don’t need a graduate degree in psychology to see the “protesting-too-much” nature of this pronouncement. Someone who is genuinely pro-Israel, and certain of it, would never need to hammer home his allegiances so blatantly -- and all in the service of claiming that people who are anti-Israel are actually pro-Israel and can prove it by donating to J Street.
Ben-Ami sounded similar notes in his recent exchange of letters with Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman, who criticized J Street for overemphasizing the settlements issue while ignoring the Palestinians’ and Arabs’ rejection of peace with Israel. Ben-Ami said in his reply: “I welcome your response and value the opportunity for civil dialogue within the American Jewish community among friends of the state of Israel.” Again, shouldn’t that be too obvious to need such iteration?
And Ben-Ami -- after praising the Saudi “peace plan” that mandates Israel’s total unilateral withdrawal and its inundation with alien Arabs before supposedly obtaining Arab recognition -- went on to write:
The sides -- left to their own devices -- have not proven able to take the final tough steps to close [the] gaps. We know the political constraints facing Prime Minister Netanyahu. President Abbas faces similarly difficult domestic politics.
Yet the answer is not to paper over the differences between the sides, but to resolve them. And that’s where the international community, and in particular the United States, come in. Only a serious, credible, and fair international mediator -- namely, the United States -- can help to close the gaps and reach a resolution.
There, at least, Ben-Ami’s words reflect J Street’s true agenda -- as their website puts it, “to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.” That is, J Street is a lobby to encourage the Obama administration to do something -- “end” the conflict -- even if the “sides” aren’t ready for it, don’t like the terms, or are being pushed into something against their will.
Regarding the Arab and Palestinian side, for J Street that entails resolutely and “ideologically” ignoring all evidence, however stark -- such as the recent Fatah conference in Bethlehem -- that they have not accepted Israel and hence are incapable of meaningfully making peace with it. Regarding the Israeli side, it means ignoring and contemptuously dismissing the positions of the elected Israeli government and of a population bloodied, traumatized, and made more skeptical by the dire outcomes of Israel’s recent ventures at peacemaking -- a population for which J Street has neither empathy nor respect.
No wonder Jeremy Ben-Ami protests so fulsomely about what a great Jew and friend of Israel he is.