Two American-based leftist Jewish groups have taken issue with the list of top 10 anti-Israel groups that was released this week by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The two groups, J Street and the New Israel Fund (NIF), issued a joint statement in which they called the list “short-sighted and unproductive.”
“Every organization that works on Israel recognizes that our community is suffering from increasing polarization. That is why we are puzzled when one of the most respected mainstream organizations in the U.S. exacerbates, rather than quiets, unnecessary confrontation,” said the statement released on Wednesday.
“The ADL says it selects the list based on its assessment of each group's ‘ability to organize, sponsor and endorse Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel; their sponsorship of and participation in anti-Israel rallies, panel discussions or conferences; and their ability to pursue anti-Israel policy initiatives and lobbying efforts against Israel,’” the two groups said.
“As leaders of organizations that staunchly support free debate about Israel, and that also oppose the global BDS movement, we question whether such lists are a useful way to oppose beliefs and tactics with which we disagree.
“We believe that the way for Israel to flourish in peace and security is to end the occupation, achieve a peace agreement with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution, and protect Israel's identity as a democratic and pluralistic Jewish homeland. Simply dismissing organizations which seek to end the occupation and resolve its human rights issues by other means – even if we disagree with such means – is taking an easy way out.
“And lumping organizations which truly oppose Israel's right to exist with others that harshly criticize Israeli government policy is shortsighted and unproductive,” said J Street and NIF.
The ADL’s list included organizations such as American Muslims for Palestine, CODEPINK, Muslim Public Affairs Council and even two Jewish groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta hareidi sect.
NIF and J Street claimed in their statement that the "sin" of several of the groups named by ADL “does not go much beyond support for the BDS movement or partnering with those who do.”
The groups took specific issue with the ADL naming the Muslim Public Affairs Council on this list, particularly because ADL said the group “explicitly recognizes Israel and supports a two-state solution, but partners with groups in the BDS movement.”
“This is guilt by association and an unfair indictment of an organization that seeks dialogue with our community,” said NIF and J Street.
“Issuing such blanket denunciations is ultimately self-defeating. Indeed, such condemnations have been issued, and are occasionally still issued, against our own organizations by various self-appointed guardians of ideological purity, who often turn out to be fronting an ultra-nationalist, pro-settlement agenda in Israel.
“That's why we believe so strongly in open debate, why we do not launch guerrilla media campaigns against those who oppose our progressive values and why we must speak out when other organizations, including those with whom we profoundly disagree, are smeared with the same tactics.
“There is room for an important debate about BDS, a debate we believe we can win and are winning. We can and should discuss the contours of a final negotiated settlement, Israel's future as a democracy and the complexities of Israel-Diaspora relations.
“This list makes no contribution to those debates. We hope that 2013 is the last year it is issued,” concluded the statement.
While J Street prides itself as being “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace,” many, if not most, Jewish Americans believe that the organization actually undermines the interests of the State of Israel and Jewish people. Numerous Jewish leaders and organizations have publicly disassociated themselves, altogether, from J Street’s rhetoric and policies.
J Street has endorsed terror groups and one of its co-founders has even claimed that Israel’s creation was “an act that was wrong.”
The group has also hidden the fact that it receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from pro-Palestinian Authority billionaire George Soros, who once said Israeli and American policies fuel anti-Semitism.
NIF funds a wide range of far-left and anti-Israel groups in Israel and abroad. It was infamously found to have sponsored left-wing Israeli organizations that provided 92% of the Israel-based quotes which appeared in the Goldstone Report – a United Nations report on Israel's Cast Lead counter-terrorism operation which was slammed as one-sided and defamatory of Israel.