A message of urgency to every American Citizen

In the midterm elections, there are "many candidates who have been endorsed by a group known as J Street." A bi-partisan group of US Christians writes why, in their view, J Street is far from a pro-Israel organization.

Pastor Ryan Speakman, | updated: 14:25

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Living Word Family Church, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

We are reaching out to you as a strong, reliable supporter of Israel and close U.S-Israel relationship.  We are a bipartisan group of Americans living in both the U.S. and Israel who share your concerns. Those of us who visit Israel, in fact, have a front-row seat to American Mideast policy, both when it goes right and when it goes wrong.

In today's elections, we are appalled to learn that many candidates have been endorsed by a group known as J Street.  Though the organization bills itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” we are of the opinion that nothing could be further from the truth.  It says a lot about any candidate who has accepted this endorsement, in our view, and should raise serious questions regarding what that means when claiming to be pro-Israel.

J Street was launched with, and still receives, substantial funding from George Soros and his web of family members and organizations.  Though evasive about its funding sources, records indicate that J Street may receive donations from members of pro-Iran organizations and leaders of Muslim student groups.

“Pro-Israel” J Street’s founders include those on record describing Israel’s very creation as “an act that was wrong.”   Thus, it advocates one-sided concessions and withdrawals by Israel, and considers illegitimate any Jewish presence beyond the vulnerable 1949 Armistice line, including most of Jerusalem.  (This line leaves Israel only 9 miles wide in places, called Israel’s “Auschwitz borders.”)  J Street lobbied the Treasury Department to investigate charities whose beneficiaries included Jews living across that line, including Jerusalem residents.

Speakers invited to J Street conferences include leaders of the movement to boycott, divest from, and impose sanctions against Israel (“BDS”), which aims to economically isolate and destroy Israel; ranking members of the P.L.O.; and an assortment of others who oppose the very existence of any Jewish State.

J Street is soft on Iran—even softer than was the Obama administration—but hard on Israel defending itself, such as blaming Israeli policies for the thousands of rockets Hamas aimed and fired at Israel’s civilian population.


Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren once said, J Street “not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It’s significantly out of the mainstream.” 
It has lobbied in favor of American support for anti-Israel U.N. resolutions, including the notorious 2017 Security Council Resolution 2336: that resolution declared all disputed land controlled by Israel beginning in 1967—including the liberated Old City of Jerusalem—to be occupied Palestinian land, and all Israeli activity or settlement altering the “character” of those areas to be “flagrant violations” of international law.

As former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren once said, J Street “not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It’s significantly out of the mainstream.”  Recently, J Street vehemently opposed the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move of America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—moves not only consistent with bipartisan-supported U.S. law, but which were applauded in Israel by all mainstream parties.

J Street defames Christian Zionists—Israel’s most reliable friends in the world—by outrageously and slanderously claiming that Christian Zionists are “extremists” who “block the path to peace”, and with their hawkish Jewish allies “hold American policy hostage.” They maintain that Christian support for Israel and the Jewish people is actually just a ruse to instigate having Jews killed and “goading Arabs into war” as a “catalyst for Armageddon.”

J Street’s strength comes from bestowing the political cover of a “pro-Israel” label on politicians who advocate measures weakening Israel.  This “pro-Israel” bait-and-switch claim has been called out even by those who are not shy in expressing disagreement with particular Israeli policies, such as Professor Alan Dershowitz.  He has called J Street “one of the most virulent anti-Israel organizations in the history of Zionism and Judaism,” and said that J Street “has done more damage to Israel than any other American organization.”

Others, such as former Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman, cut off all ties with J Street. Tellingly, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., who routinely meets with leaders of Jewish organizations from all over the political spectrum, refuses to even meet with J Street.

The “pro-Israel” candidates endorsed by J Street in the last election included: Rep. Keith Ellison, who had a decade-long involvement with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam and has complained that American foreign policy is controlled by Israel–but who J Street declared a “true friend of the Jewish people”; Rep. Hank Johnson, who claimed “Jewish people” routinely steal Palestinian property, and who compared Jewish residents of the West Bank to “termites”; and Rep. Marc Pocan, who last year reserved Congressional office space for an anti-Israel forum he sponsored featuring virulently anti-Israel and pro-BDS organizations. 

This year is no different.  Besides Pocan and Johnson, J Street is endorsing such “pro-Israel” candidates as Scott Wallace, whose Wallace Global Fund has granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that support BDS, including to the so-called Jewish Voice for Peace and to fund a U.S. tour by the obsessively anti-Zionist British politician George Galloway; and Leslie Cockburn, who authored (and has never disavowed) a cartoonishly consipritorial  book supposedly revealing Jewish control of global institutions and U.S. foreign policy, finding Israeli manipulation behind pretty much every foreign crisis troubling America, and arguing that Israel is generally a menace to the world—but that Israel’s enemies such as Gamal Abdel Nasser and Saddam Hussein were reasonable (she dined with Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay).  Her co-author husband Andrew maintains that Israel is allied with ISIS.   She is, not surprisingly, a favorite on neo-Nazi websites and favorably cited by David Duke. 

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, who, during the 2014 Gaza war, while Hamas was firing thousands of rockets at Israel, voted against additional funding for Israel’s wildly successful and lifesaving Iron Dome missile defense system—the very system protecting Israelis from those rockets.  The funding passed, 395-8.  O’Rourke also denounced the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem as “provocative.”  J Street is endorsing him as the “pro-Israel” candidate for Senate—against the Senate’s arguably-most ardent defender of Israel, Ted Cruz.

J Street even endorsed Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American socialist who had tweeted her support for convicted Palestinian terrorists, was a keynote speaker at BDS/anti-Israel rallies, criticized proposed cooperation between California and Israel regarding water and agriculture technology and deemed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) guilty of racism for meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  (All of that was OK with J Street; only after Tlaib’s August primary win, when she walked back support for a two-state solution, did J Street withdraw the endorsement. 

As with any country, there is room to disagree sharply but honorably with particular policies of Israel’s government.  But J Street is beyond the pale.  It promotes policies which the vast majority of people in Israel itself—both left and right—see as posing an existential threat to their country and undermining their own lives and safety; to call itself “pro-Israel” seems Orwellian, and wrings out all useful meaning of the “pro-Israel” label.

For those who truly care about embattled State of Israel, defend the safety of its residents, and respect the democratic choices made by its citizens who must live (or, too often, die) with the consequences of misguided policies, a J Street seal of approval is nothing to be proud of; rather, it should be seen as a black mark on any endorsee’s claim to be pro-Israel.

A J Street endorsement of any candidate calls into question that candidate’s actual pro-Israel credentials, and should set off alarms among true pro-Israel voters.

We feel strongly that any J Street endorsed candidate  must be challenged to either defend the acceptance of the J Street endorsement, or unequivocally renounce it.  We urge you and those around you to spread the word as to how concerned we pro-Zionist patriotic Americans—in both the U.S. and Israel—are at the possibility of electing yet another member of Congress endorsed by J Street.  Please do what you can to help prevent this from happening.

With deepest appreciation for your friendship, we thank you for considering our request.

Sincerely,

Pastor Ryan Speakman
Living Word Family Church, Lake Havasu City, Arizona




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