Daily Israel Report

Dershowitz Challenges J Street: Why Won't You Let Me Speak?

Veteran Israel advocate accuses J Street of 'the worst hypocrisy going' for silencing opposing voices - and issues a challenge.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 6/5/2014, 10:05 PM

Prominent US lawyer, political commentator and veteran Israel advocate Professor Alan Dershowitz has issued a sharp challenge to left-wing lobbyist group J Street, saying that if they want to be accepted by the wider Jewish community they should first open up their own membership to other viewpoints.

Speaking at the Israel Day Concert earlier this week, Dershowitz addressed the controversy over far-left groups who marched in the Israel Day Parade. He said that while he condemned any boycotts against Israel - including those limited to targeting Jews in Judea and Samaria - the strength of the parade was unity and as such, anyone who wants to march should be allowed to do so.

"If you favor boycotting Israel, if you favor any kind of unique sanction against Israel, singling out Israel to be the only country in the world to be subject to BDS, you cannot be pro-Israel," he stated, referring to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

"On the other hand this is one day where we don't check people for how kosher their tzitzis are or how supportive they are of Israel - we really allow everyone to march."

Professor Dershowitz contrasted the pluralistic outlook of the parade's organizers with the attitude of J Street's leadership, who ironically pose as a liberal alternative but simply shut out opinions they don't agree with, he said.

"J Street is the worst hypocrisy going. They want to be part of the 'big tent' but they will not allow people like me to ever speak at J Street events... because they don't want their members to hear the truth about what their positions really are."

Addressing J Street directly, Professor Dershowitz challenged: "If you want to be part of the big tent invite me into your tent. Let your people hear a real pro-Israel point of view."

He also emphasized that there was "no difference" between those who advocate for a complete boycott of the Jewish state, and those who limit calls for boycotts to "settlement goods" - or Jewish businesses and communities in Judea and Samaria.

"If you uniquely boycott Israel and don't boycott every other country in the world which you believe has a problem then you are selectively imposing that morality," he stated.