J Street defines itself as “pro-America, pro-Israel, pro-peace,” and was formed as a left-wing lobbyist group to counter traditionally pro-Israel groups. It has repeatedly made claims against the state of Israel, and it has also been revealed that anti-Israel billionaire George Soros provides much of the organization’s funding.
Detailed information regarding the scheduled speakers at the conference was provided to Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website by Journalist David Bedein, director of the Israel Resource News Agency and The Center for Near East Policy Research, who is currently in Washington for the conference.
“We know that the Ambassador from Switzerland will appear at the conference,” said Bedein. “Switzerland is funding the event through the Geneva Initiative. There will be discussions within the conference on BDS.”
Additional guests at the conference, noted Bedein, include U.S. top envoy Dennis Ross. “Ross is coming to the conference with the official blessing of the Obama Administration,” he said. “There’s also Ron Pundak who is representing the Peres Center for Peace, which is a star of the conference with several representatives on its behalf.”
According to a Bedein, last month J Street conducted a conference in Jerusalem, during which it encouraged young adults who are soon to begin their service in the IDF to refuse orders if they are asked to serve in areas considered beyond the Green Line. “They [J Street] invited students who are about to be drafted and told them to disobey orders and even to defect from the IDF if and when they are called to serve beyond the Green Line,” said Bedein.
He noted the name of another participant in the conference: Mustafa Barghouti, cousin of Palestinian Authority official Marwan Barghouti, who is currently in prison in Israel due to his involvement in many terrorist attacks in which innocent Israelis were killed.
“Mustafa Barghouti is in charge of spreading disinformation on behalf of the Arabs,” said Bedein. “For years he has spread rumors that Israel deliberately kills children using tear gas and all sorts of other ways. He is the Palestinian Authority’s representative at the conference. They are not bringing someone that is supposed to be a moderate, but rather this extreme person.”
Bedein said that his organization will send a reporter to the conference who will ensure that the coverage is appropriate and will “ask all the right questions.”
In regards to the fact that members of Israel’s Knesset will take part in a conference which is so blatantly anti-Israel, Bedein said that he had approached the MKs who are planning to take part in the conference, including MK Daniel Ben Simon (Labor), Nachman Shai (Kadima), and Shlomo Mulla (Kadima), and asked them how their Zionist stance goes along with taking part in such a conferenece. He noted that Ben Simon responded by denying that J Street is anti-Israel, while Shai and Mulla did not respond at all.
He added that he believes that MKs taking part in such a conference should be considered crossing a red line.
“When you see that during this conference there will be a broad discussion on the boycott of Israel, when you see participants who clearly and blatantly support the Arab right of return and have expressed their regret that the state of Israel exists, when you see that UN officials who have criticized the very existence of Israel have been invited, this is crossing a red line,” said Bedein.