J Street, founded in 2008 with money from progressive sugar daddy George Soros, markets itself as kind of left-wing AIPAC. From the very beginning the group went out of its way to emphasize its motto of “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” But as fellow progressive Alan Dershowitz said about the group, "J Street is neither pro-Israel or pro peace." The group has little legitimacy in the Jewish Community, but was promoted by Barack Obama as an important organization.
Ben Ami explained the President's statement to Matthew from his perspective of being liberal:
I think he has broken up educationally and in work around a group of very intellectual Jewish liberals who shared his commitment to civil rights and equal rights and working for those who have less and need more. And that's what he viewed to be the Jewish ethic. And he saw it in school, he saw it in his law firm, he saw it in everything that he did. I think he considers himself in a sense to be an honorary member of the tribe in that sense. (Note: a video of the entire segment is embedded below)While this social justice speech was very nice and probably reflects Obama's feelings it is not an accurate representation of Jewish tradition. While working for the poor and giving charity is indeed a huge part of Jewish Law, it is a personal, not a government responsibility.
The creation narrative in Genesis explains that man is created in God’s image. With those words, the Bible is not teaching us that we are all dead ringers for the “big guy upstairs.” If that were the case everyone’s driver’s license would have the same picture, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue would seem a bit creepy, and no one would be able to solve crimes-- eyewitness testimony would be useless because everyone would look the same and everyone would have the same DNA.
The idea of being “created in God’s image” is supposed to teach us that just as God acts as a free being without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so does man. Our Maker performs “good” as a matter of his own free choice. Because we are created in his image man also has the opportunity to do the right thing as a matter of free choice. Only through free choice, can man truly be “in the image of God.” Or to put it another way...free choice is God's version of limited government. And when government takes over our personal responsibility it denies us the opportunity to get closer to God by doing good deeds (we call them mitzvot).
So the foundation of Obama's statement about being Jewish is build on an incorrect assumption.
Matthew continues by running video clips of various Republican candidates talking about the two state solution...which has nothing to do with the Israeli view. Both Matthews and Ben Ami correctly state that most American Jews and Israeli Jews support a two state solution, what they refuse to admit is that every single Israeli Prime Minister after Yitzchak Rabin supported a two state solution--Rabin didn't but Netanyahu does.
As far as using Jeremy Ben Ami as his "pro-Israel" expert Matthews is ignoring the truth. J-Street is decidedly Anti-Israel.
During the 2008 Israeli action against Hamas, when the IDF was protecting the country after it suffered tens of thousands of rockets from Gaza, J Street called Israel’s “escalation in Gaza counterproductive” and was “disproportionate.” It also made a moral equivalency argument between the policies of Israel and Hamas, stating that they found difficulty in distinguishing “between who is right and who is wrong” and “picking a side.” The group has also advocated that the US negotiate with Hamas. J-Street lobbied in Congress to accept the discredited anti-Israel Goldstone Report which accused Israel of war crimes during that action against Hamas.
In 2011, J-Street urged the Administration to support a UN Security Council resolution falsely condemning Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as “illegal.” Successive US administrations have refused to describe Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as “illegal.” In fact, even President Obama vetoed a 2011 Arab-sponsored UN Security Council resolution calling them “illegal” and has described them only as “illegitimate.”
In 2012, J-Street hosted the book launch of Peter Beinart who had just published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for a “Zionist BDS” campaign that would seek to economically suffocate all Israeli Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines. Also addressing this conference was Mustafa Barghouti, a leading figure in the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment) campaign, who claimed the Oslo peace process was a piece of Israeli “deceit,” asserted that “what we are witnessing today is a creation, or a consolidation to be precise, of a system of segregation and Bantustans,” and declared that Palestinians “actually live” under an “apartheid” regime.
More recently J-Street has advocated that the U.S. negotiate with Hamas, and during a meeting with Obama at the White House on tax day of this year, they asked the President to go around Israel and have the UN create a Palestinian state without any negotiations.
None of the above was explained to viewers during this episode of Chris Matthew's MSNBC Show Hardball, resulting in a fake journalist, interviewing a fake supporter of Israel, using a fake interpretation of Jewish law, to prove that the President of the United States is a (fake) Jew.
"My Mother the Car" reruns would be a better television choice, but the full Matthew's/Ben Ami video is below: