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J Street’s European Copycat Runs into Detour

The US-based left-wing J Street lobby has spawned a copycat “J Call” in Europe. Jewish leaders are up in arms, calling it divisive.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 5/4/2010, 3:53 PM / Last Update: 5/4/2010, 4:04 PM

Israel News photo: European Jewish Congress

The left wing American-based J Street lobby has taken a virtual long walk and spawned a copycat “J Call” lobby in Europe, but the European Jewish Congress is up in arms.

J Call has spread a petition with nearly 4,000 signatures claiming that “our connection to the State of Israel is part of our identity” but that “systematic support of Israeli government policy is dangerous and does not serve the true interests of the State of Israel.”

The new European lobby, launched on Tuesday, alleged there is “the danger [that] lies in the ‘occupation’ and the continuing pursuit of settlements” in Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem where the Palestinian Authority claims sovereignty.

In response, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) said it "is expressing its staunch support for the Israeli government on the purported eve of the renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians, albeit by ‘proximity talks.” The EJC noted it is “the democratically-elected umbrella organization which represents European Jewry [and] regrets the recently circulated petition by the so-called group ‘J Call’ as "divisive, counter-productive and unhelpful."

“In contradiction to the petition, the EJC commends the Israeli government’s actions to help build a more conducive setting for peaceful negotiations and applauds the very difficult concessions it has made, noting the increase in access and movement for the Palestinians by removing two-thirds of all roadblocks and the settlement moratorium," EJC stated.

Its president Dr. Moshe Kantor noted that “continued one-sided pressure on Israel does not encourage the Palestinians to engage in serious negotiations and only endangers the already unstable situation in the region.”

He said that the European Union should also pressure the PA “to end its incitement, rhetoric and hate education. It should worry those countries that fund the PA that in the last couple of weeks a road within the government compound in Ramallah was named after a Hamas bomb maker” and that “European taxpayers’ money should not go to activities that glorify mass murder."

Kantor charged that J Call represents a small minority opinion of European Jews as opposed to the EJC, which he said speaks for the majority that elected it.