Chalk Up one for honesty, the Anti-Israel lobbying Group J-street's slogan is "Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace. But it has directed its college arm to drop the "pro-Israel" part of the slogan during a special meeting before its first national convention which started yesterday.
Students are a big part of J-street's base.And at their earlier weekend session, the participating students mapped out strategies for bringing J Street's anti Israel approach to college campuses and encouraging students to join in the effort.
"We don't want to isolate people because they don't feel quite so comfortable with 'pro-Israel,' so we say 'pro-peace,'" said American University junior Lauren Barr of the "J Street U" slogan, "but behind that is 'pro-Israel.'"J-street claims to be pro-Israel, but the next time it takes a stance that matches that of the majority of Israelis it will be the first time. openly campaign against Israel on the grounds that it possesses a superior understanding of what is best for Israelis. Seeded with dollars by self-proclaimed Nazi collaborator George Soros, and given "legitimacy" by President Obama because he agrees with their anti-Israel position, J-Street works to lobby the US Government to pressure Israelis, contrary to their will, to take steps that could have life and death implications.
Barr, secretary of the J Street U student board that decided the slogan's terminology, explained that on campus, "people feel alienated when the conversation revolves around a connection to Israel only, because people feel connected to Palestine, people feel connected to social justice, people feel connected to the Middle East."
J Street traces the Mideast conflict chiefly to the notion that “Israel’s settlements in the occupied territories have, for over forty years, been an obstacle to peace.” Those settlements, adds J Street, have “undermine[d] peace prospects by making Palestinians doubt Israeli motives and commitment.” Why the presence of Jews in Arab lands constitutes an obstacle to peace, while more than a million Arabs live comfortably in Israel, J Street doesn’t explai
During the conflict with Hamas, which was endorsed by all Jewish political parties in the Knesset both right and left, J Street called Israel's "escalation in Gaza would be counterproductive" and was "disproportionate." It also made a moral equivalency argument between the policies of Israel and Hamas, stating they found difficulty in distinguishing "between who is right and who is wrong" and "picking a side." That doesn't sound very pro-Israel.
J Street also takes a stance against sanctions against Iran for its nuke program and and uses the anti-Semitic canard that Israel controls US foreign policy, saying that it "opposes the role of force by Israel or the United States" against Iran. Ironically it supports the urges the US to force Israel.
The organization also wants the US and Israel to negotiate with Hamas, a terrorist group actively trying to destroy Israel. And even though President Barack Obama has done so, J Street chief Ben-Ami refuses to endorse Israel as a "Jewish state."
Ben-Ami constantly uses the "dual loyalty" stereotype; "the impact of Israeli policies on our interests as Americans and Jews," suggesting support for Israel by American Jewry would lead to alienation from the Americans who would decide that Jews have a greater loyalty to Israel than America.
It was J Street who used the "dual loyalty" argument when the fight emerged over the Obama's choice of Chas Freeman, the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia who was not only anti-Israel but was an apologist for terrorists and the brutal China regime. Sadly Congressman Steve Israel, who led the fight against the Freeman appointment, decided to become part of J-Street's "welcoming committee." As Israel usually has a pro-Israel position, he obviously chose to accommodate the White House even if it meant giving legitimacy to an anti-Israel organization.
Aslo cause for concern was the recent disclosure that Arab and even pro Iranian elements were funding J Street. Like many other lobby groups, J-Street is comprised of two organization, only one, the Political Action Committee, has to release a list of major donors to the FEC. The Jerusalem Post has examined that list and found that many of the PAC's contributors are Arabs, Muslims and several individuals connected to organizations doing Palestinian and Iranian issues advocacy
Arab and Muslim donors are extremely rare for other organizations that describe themselves as supporters of Israel as J Street does, Jewish leaders at organizations across the political spectrum told The Jerusalem Post. Because most of these other organizations are not PACs, however, US law does not require them to release their donor lists. J Street's non-PAC arm also does not release a complete list of contributors.The Jerusalem Posts also reports that activists from several pro-Israel groups, suggested that J Street's donor list reflects on the group's commitment to Israel:
"It raises questions as to their banner that they're a pro-Israel organization. Why would people who are not known to be pro-Israel give money to this organization?" asked Lenny Ben-David, a former Israeli diplomat and staffer for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a major Washington lobby but not a PAC that makes contributions to candidates. "Once you introduce a large group and large amount of money from people who are suspect in their pro-Israel credentials, J Street loses some of its credibility in claiming it is pro-Israel and representing the Jewish community."
....the funds that come from these sources indeed constitute a small fraction of the year-and-a-half-old organization's political fundraising, which totaled around $844,000 in 2008 - a key election year - and $111,000 so far in 2009. They comprise several dozen of the PAC's 4,000-5,000 donors.
But some of the contributors play key roles in the organization. The finance committee's 50 members - with a $10,000 contribution threshold - include Lebanese-American businessman Richard Abdoo, a current board member of Amideast and a former board member of the Arab American Institute, and Genevieve Lynch, who is also a member of the National Iranian American Council board. The group has also received several contributions from Nancy Dutton, an attorney who once represented the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
Smaller donors include several leaders of Muslim student groups, Saudi- and Iranian-born Americans, and Palestinian- and Arab-American businessmen who also give to Arab-oriented PACs.
...Mainstream groups ranging from the American Jewish Committee to the United Jewish Communities 150-plus federations rarely if ever get such donations; PACs from the National Jewish Democratic Council's to the Republican Jewish Coalition's don't list such contributors among their public filings.
Other progressive Jewish groups also aren't accustomed to such backers.
"APN receives thousands of checks every year from its supporters. The vast majority - as far as we can tell - are American Jews. That is the segment of the US public that we typically target," said APN spokesman Ori Nir, noting that while he does not keep tabs on every check received, he knows that all of the group's major donors are Jewish.
Nir, whose group has similar stances on the peace process and engagement with Iran to J Street, also said that the organization tears up any checks sent with Israel-bashing notes.
A leader from a mainstream pro-Israel organization said that while his group has never received money from such sources, "There's no moral impediment for reaching into other constituencies. It's not something we have done, but I like to think the cause of Middle East peace is a cause that is not only supported by American Jews but is broadly supported."If J-Street is listing these sources on its PUBLIC filing, just imagine what the donors list they don't have to release to the public looks like.
At the same time, he suggested that these donors might have chosen to give to J Street because "that constituency supports the kind of a line that maybe naturally gravitates to an advocacy organization that's more critical of Israel."
IN SHORT, J Street remains an anti-Israel organization funded by George Soros and other anti-Israel donors. While its college arm has dropped the pretense of being pro-Israel, the rest of the organization should be honest and also drop its pretense of being Pro-Israel. Unfortunately that wont happen as long as Anti-Israel politicians such as President Obama, and politicians such as Steve Israel who are Pro-Israel but lack the political guts to stand up to the President, continue to give J-Street legitimacy