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Op-Ed: The Well-Justified Rejection of J-Street

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizaitons had good reasons to reject the extremist group J-Street’s membership bid.
Published: Friday, May 09, 2014 5:27 AM



Is it any wonder that avowed “I am not a Zionist” billionaire George Soros is a major funder of J-Street?
There were very good reasons that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (the Conference) clearly voted against the membership application of J-Street, an extremist group whose activities are hostile to Israel. 

The key stated missions of the Conference are “mobilizing support to halt Iran’s nuclear program,” “counter[ing] the global campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people,” “bolster[ing] Israel’s security” and combating terrorism and anti-Semitism. 

J-Street’s actions are clearly at odds with these policies.

J-Street lobbies against sanctions and against military action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. J-Street works closely with NIAC (National Iranian American Council), a notorious apparent agent of the Iranian regime.  NIAC board member Genevieve Lynch is a significant J-Street donor. 

J-Street brings to its conferences and college campuses leading NIAC pro-Iranian regime speakers, including NIAC head and leading Iran apologist Trita Parsi, and Hillary Mann Leverett, who, during a J-Street event condemned as “fundamentally racist” anyone who did not “trust” the Iranian regime.  J-Street likewise urges U.S. Congresspersons to simply “believe in Iran.” 

J-Street-PAC raises million of dollars to defeat Israel’s staunchest supporters in the U.S. Congress – further damaging the Conference of Presidents’ efforts to mobilize support to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons. 

Additionally, J-Street persistently defames and delegitimizes Israel on college campuses and in its conferences. J-Street and its campus arm (J Street U) bring to college campuses and conferences leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to economically destroy Israel (BDS), the “Breaking the Silence” group that defames Israel and the IDF, including falsely accusing the IDF of committing brutal atrocities against Palestinian Arabs, and anti-Israel Muslim leaders. 

J-Street videos call Israel the “oppressor” and portray the Palestinian Arabs as the “oppressed,” and liken the IDF to Hamas.  (See J-Street’s 2011 Conference "Giving Voices to our Values” video, reproduced at "J Street and the Jewish War Against Israel," by Caroline Glick. 

Liberal Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz has likewise explained:

"J Street . . . calls itself pro-Israel and pro peace but . . . always seems to be taking positions that are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian.  . . . J Street invites BDS [Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israel] supporters and those who oppose Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people to speak at its events.”  ("Dershowitz Eviscerates Jeremy Ben Ami and J Street," Haaretz, March 29, 2014)

J-Street also supports worldwide "Lawfare" and "Courtroom Intifada" against Israel (bringing legal actions against Israel and Israeli officials), by bringing speakers for these movements to J-Street conferences.  J-Street conference speakers include the legal representative of virulent anti-Israel NGOs, and of a Canadian lawsuit seeking a judicial declaration that Israel is guilty of committing "war crimes" and that Israel's security barrier is illegal. 

J-Street also lobbied to have President Obama vote for an anti-Israel U.N. resolution – a clear conflict with the Conference of Presidents’ mission.

J-Street also promoted and disseminated the Goldstone Report, which falsely accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.  J-Street also introduced members of Congress to Mr. Goldstone, to further propagate these false accusations against Israel.  A J-Street official ghost-wrote Goldstone’s letter criticizing a Congressional resolution that condemned the Goldstone report. 

J-Street took no corrective action when Goldstone recanted much of his report. 

Instead, J-Street continues to falsely accuse Israel of killing Palestinian Arab civilians.  For instance, in March 2012, J-Street lied that “Israel Defense Forces… have killed over a dozen Palestinian civilians.”  In fact, no civilians were killed in the Israeli operation, which took place in Gaza, which is controlled by the terrorist group Hamas.  The 16 “Palestinians” killed were all anti-Israel terrorists (10 from Islamic Jihad, 6 from "Popular Resistance Committees").

In addition, the very first day that the IDF began operations in Gaza to stop thousands of Hamas rockets from falling on Israeli men, women and children and homes and schools in Southern Israel, J-Street demanded that Israel must stop this essential, defensive, long overdue operation. 

And just last week (on April 23), despite Hamas calls for murdering every Jew and Israel’s destruction, and despite the fact that the U.S. State Department recognizes that Hamas is a terrorist organization, J-Street promoted “aggressively” pushing a framework for a Hamas-Fatah State.  Promoting a Hamas-Fatah state framework surely conflicts with the Conference of Presidents’ goal of combating terrorism and anti-Semitism. 

Further, this week, J-Street actually supported as accurate Secretary of State John Kerry’s “apartheid” accusation against Israel.  In addition, J-Street criticized the bi-partisan Jewish organizations which had pointed out how offensive Kerry’s remarks were. 

Is it any wonder that avowed “I am not a Zionist” billionaire George Soros is a major funder of J-Street?

The “big tent philosophy” must never be a “universal tent” philosophy.  Everyone agrees that there must be a red line.  J-Street has clearly crossed that line by engaging in activities that defame and delegitimize Israel and that are antithetical to the Conference’s purposes. 

Morton Klein is the President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).  The ZOA is a founding charter member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.