Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, has taken an unprecedented swipe at the “pro-peace” J Street lobby that also accepts Hamas, saying the two-year-old group is “significantly out of the mainstream.”
J Street, heavily funded by billionaire George Soros, has called for Israel to negotiate with Hamas and has criticized the country for the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign against Hamas attacks on civilians in farms, towns and cities. Unlike the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby, J Street actively campaigns for Congressional candidates who want Israel to surrender all land restored to the country in the Six-Day War in 1967.
The group supports dividing Jerusalem so that the eastern portion, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall, would be the capital of Palestinian Authority state. It also has taken a generally dovish issue on the Iranian nuclear threat.
Oren this week told delegates at a conservative Jewish convention that J Street “not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it [also] opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It’s significantly out of the mainstream.”
The ambassador previously rejected an invitation to address the political lobby’s conference in Washington two months ago, stating that J Street’s policies "might impair Israel's interests."
J Street also was one of the few Jewish groups that did not condemn the Goldstone report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes in Operation Cast Lead while barely mentioning Hamas’ attacks on Israel. The United Nations-authorized report said Hamas “may have been guilty” of “some” war crimes.
”When it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion,” Oren stated. “You are fooling around with the lives of 7 million people. This is no joke.”