Criticism vs.Loyalty to Israel Debate at "Facing Tomorrow" Panel
"There are boundaries, which if you cross them, you are not loyal to Israel and J-Street has crossed those boundaries", said Danny Dayan, the head of the Judea and Samaria Council emphatically in an INN interview at the President's Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
This was the point stressed in his forceful appearance before a packed audience at the panel called Thin Ice: Criticism vs. Loyalty in Israel-Diaspora Relations held at the conference, along with Jeremy Ben-Ami of J-Street, Diana Pinto, Fania Oz-Salzberger and Union for Reform Judaism President, Eric H. Yoffe.
"J-Street has crossed all these lines", he said, citing several specific examples, such as the organization's support for BDS and anti-Israel candidates. "Donna Edward from Maryland is as anti-Israel as you can get and is fervently endorsed by J-Street."
He described the organization as having "infiltrated the solidarity with Israel tent and trying to sabotage it from within", adding that criticism is fine, but undermining Israel's interests is not legitimate criticism.
Eric Yoffe, President, Union for Reform Judaism, told INN that J-Street has made mistakes, but that it cannot be considered anti-Israel and that diversity should be welcomed. . "Israel has a wonderful message", he said, but must develop a sophisticated one. He ended by saying that the best way to ensure loyal Diaspora Jewish criticism is to send young people to israel because "Israel sells itself".
INN turned to Dr. Danny Lamm, President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, a member of the audience, for his opinion on what was said at the session. "The red line is support of the BDS movement, which J-Street has done," he said. "Criticism that enables those who are opposed to the very existence of israel is out of bounds. BDS undermines the future of Israel . We in the diaspora cannot impose our ideas on issues that impact on the security on those who live here".
Mr. Ben-Ami, despite stressing in his presentation that Israel must not veto dialogue with others, even its enemies, was not willing to speak to INN. (After telling him that INN would post his views verbatim, his aide promised to send an answer to a list of questions. INN will be doing that in the near future.)
Facing Tomorrow 2011, the third annual Conference under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, is taking place in Jerusalem from June 21-23 and is attended by more than 4,000 people from around the world, including numerous VIPs.
Facing Tomorrow 2011, the third annual Conference under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, is taking place in Jerusalem from June 21-23. Attended by more than 4,000 people from around the world, including numerous VIPs, the Conference focuses on the vital issues, initiatives and decisions that must be implemented today in order to guarantee a better tomorrow for the world, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel.
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