Daily Israel Report

J Street Red-Faced over Pro-Terror Activists

Left-wing group denies Washington University activists who wore T-shirts glorifying terrorist Leila Khaled were leaders of J Street U.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/31/2014, 3:11 PM

J Street Logo
J Street Logo
J Street

J Street, an American Jewish group that claims to be pro-Israel, has been embarrassed by revelations that two of its activists wore T-shirts glorifying an infamous PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorist to a screening of anti-Israel film “Five Broken Cameras” in April 2013 at Washington University.

However, according to The Tower, the two students, identified as Fadi AbuNe’meh and Taka Yamaguchi, “were apparently leading activists with the campus chapter of J Street U, an organization that describes itself, inter alia, as 'pro-Peace.'”

In coverage of the J Street U screening, Yamaguchi was described as the moderator of the event, while AbuNe’meh is quoted as a representative of the group. Another student, named as Elisabeth Housman, who "liked" the photo of the two posing with pictures of prolific airline hijacker Leila Khaled emblazoned on their shirts, is listed on the local campus Hillel website as the official contact person for J Street U on campus.

The story was broken by the Truth Revolt blog, which found that the event was created and hosted on Facebook by Yamaguchi and AbuNe'meh, and that in a review of the screening, Fadi AbuNe'meh was billed as a J Street member, while Yamaguchi was also billed as the moderator of the post-film discussion.

“The J Street U National Student Board joins with J Street in condemning t-shirts bearing the image of convicted airline hijacker Leila Khaled as being hateful and inimical to our fundamental commitment to a non-violent, negotiated resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” said J Street U in reaction. “Glorifying terrorism is abhorrent to us as people committed to a peaceful and secure Israel living alongside the future state of Palestine.”

J street U claimed that “the pictures of two people wearing the t-shirt were taken at an event last year at Washington University. The program was sponsored by three organizations and was open to the public. The two people pictured are not and never have been J Street U leaders, nor do they represent the organization in any way.

“The false allegations were based on a selective excerpting of a Facebook exchange, which excluded the student in question’s explication that while he attended J Street U events many of his personal positions are 'not in line with the J Street line,' and that he 'does not represent the organization in any way.'”

In February, a J Street delegation met Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in Ramallah.

"The Jewish American community, particularly as represented by J Street, faces the dual challenge of influencing both the U.S. administration and the hardline and extremist Israeli government; for there to be peace and stability, we must move rapidly," Ashrawi told the J Street members.

The far-left lobbying group, which seeks to alter Israeli government policy through lobbying Washington to apply pressure to Israel, recently drew criticism for throwing its weight behind the Palestinian Authority's refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.