J-Street Exposed – by Jamie Weinstein


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While covering J-Street’s first annual national conference over the last three days, I think I recognized one of 1,000-plus attendees from television. Proudly wearing a Code Pink t-shirt, the woman was handing out cards advertising a December 31 march to “break the illegal Gaza siege.” If I am right in my recollection, I remember watching her being removed by Capitol Hill police officers with her Code Pink compatriots for protesting some congressional hearing I was watching on C-Span. She may not have been welcome on Capitol Hill, but she sure seemed in her element at J-Street.

After three days among J-Streeters, I have reached some important conclusions about the nature of the organization, its followers and its future. By listening to its executive director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, speak during the plenary sessions, one would be led to believe that J-Street was founded to fill the void for a “pro-Israel” lobby that supports a “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and opposes settlement expansion.

But the largely unspoken reality, which was only sometimes acknowledged by conference attendees and speakers, is that J-Street has arisen to challenge the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the hugely successful bipartisan lobby that supports a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

If so, this is more than a little strange. I happen to know many people who work at AIPAC, who used to work at AIPAC and who are active supporters of AIPAC. For the record, I interned for AIPAC when I was in college. Of all the people I know (we are talking dozens), I am not aware of a single person associated with AIPAC who does not support a two-state solution to the conflict. Indeed, AIPAC as an organization supported Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the Oslo Accords in the 1990s. The natural implication of both polices, of course, was the creation of a Palestinian state down the road.

So if there is no void to fill here, what about J-Street’s emphasis on removing settlements? Well, if you support a two-state solution, then you necessarily understand that the natural implication of that policy is that most settlements will be removed from the West Bank in a final peace settlement. There is a difference of emphasis, of course. J-Street seems to think by the nature of its emphasis that settlement expansion is the number one impediment to peace in the Middle East. As far as I am aware, AIPAC does not subscribe to this fantasy, though the organization is ideologically diverse enough that some of its members very well may. But certainly the settlements issue is an unpersuasive reason for J-Street’s existence.

So, what sets J-Street apart as an organization? One wouldn’t discover the crucial differences between AIPAC and J-Street by only listening to Jeremy Ben-Ami’s speeches or by reading J-Street’s website. These differences can best be gleaned by listening to J-Street attendees and observing their actions.

You can learn a lot by observing how people act. During this week’s conference, J-Streeters most often applauded when Israel was criticized or when a speaker demanded that Israel remove settlements. Quiet invariably filled the room when a speaker defended Israel. Such a stance was not to be tolerated. Thus, when liberal Rabbi Eric Yoffie blasted the biased Goldstone Report, which unconvincingly accused Israel of war crimes, some people booed.

It is also instructive to listen to what J-Streeters asked when they were given the opportunity to question various speakers. Again, more often than not, these questions were critical of Israel. For instance, at a panel discussion on Iran, one J-Streeter asked why Israel could have nuclear weapons and not Iran? The question was warmly received with applause.

Just as significant as what J-Street’s leaders and supporters say is what they do not say. While Jeremy Ben-Ami tried to walk a fine line and present as moderate an image as he could without completely alienating his audience, it was notable how rarely he mentioned Palestinian terrorism or the threat to Israel of a nuclear Iran. When he gave the floor to pre-selected members of the audience, their comments were most often critical of Israel in some way. Not once did I hear someone from J-Street praise Israel for its liberal values or its democratic system.

In interviews I conducted on Sunday night at the opening of the conference, some J-Streeters told me that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the international community tried Israeli leaders for “war crimes.” Many also told me they couldn’t see much of a moral difference between a democratic Israel and Israel’s totalitarian enemies. As much as Jeremy Ben-Ami pretends that J-Street is a moderate, pro-Israel organization, its membership is chock full of left-wing radicals. Against this background, it should come as no surprise that J-Street’s campus offshoot recently dropped the “pro-Israel” part of the organization’s increasingly untenable “pro-Israel, pro-peace” slogan.

The contrast with AIPAC is acute. At AIPAC conferences, you get a sense that the attendees actually like Israel and admire it for the values it upholds in very difficult circumstances, even as they recognize that the country is not perfect. With J-Street, too many members are embarrassed by Israel. They are more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Israel’s repressive enemies than the democratic Jewish state.

I have written previously that J-Street will ultimately collapse because it was built on a foundation of fallacies. But this collapse could come more quickly than one might expect. After all, this is an organization that calls itself a “pro-Israel” lobby but spends most of its time criticizing Israel. And if, as may well be the case, the leadership of J-Street is saner than many of its members, what will happen if, down the road, J-Street takes a relatively rational stance in defense of Israel that alienates its radical base? If J-Street’s conference this week is any guide, that will be the end of this already unnecessary organization.

  • billmorgenstein

    “With J-Street, too many members are embarrassed by Israel”. What should have been said is the with J-Street too many members are embarrassed at being Jewish!

  • http://thesustainableenterprisefieldbook.net/ Shakira A.

    Now that's kind of a ridiculous pronouncement, isn't it? Why would any European Jew HAVE TO remain being a Jew? If they were truly embarrassed about being Jewish, wouldn't they simply accept another religion?

    Why can't it be that J-Street'ers take Israel's stand for democracy as a serious position, and therefore believe that they have the right to suggest Palestinians also have rights? Why can't it be that J-Street'ers believe that continuous theft of Palestinian farms and property is just WRONG?!

  • billmorgenstein

    Shakira,

    Thank you for your response. Does your reference to a “European Jew” betray a bias? Any Jew whether Oriental or European can convert or become an agnostic or even an atheist. As you know in some parts of the Muslim world converting means a death sentence, which some extremists even carry out. Yes, I am angered when a Jew betrays their people but I would never take it to a violent form.

    You shouldn't be blinded by J-Street's real motives. Israel is a Democracy and has factions of all stripes fighting and arguing in their Knesset. No doubt Israel has and does make mistakes and has at times, may have overreacted to young Palestinian taunts. How can you not see however the filth and bile that is taught to Palestinian children? How can you not see that a Palestinian moderate will be demonized and sometimes worse? Let us argue for a moment that you are correct saying that Israel is stealing farms and property. If the Palestinian and corrupt Arab leaders would really be concerned with the Palestinians they would put aside their impossible demands and sit down with the Israeli's to build a better life for all and prosper side by side.

    Is that really too much to ask?

  • SamBlue

    Methinks that J-Street doth protest too much. Pro-peace? What person of good will is not pro-peace? Pro-Israel? Can one imagine AIPAC, ZOA, JNF, Herzl Foundation, Chabad, Christian Zionists feeling obliged to insist, “We are pro-Israel.”? That would be laughable. Admittedly, one can be both pro-Israel and criical of some of Israel's policies, even actions–e.g.,the evacuation of Gaza–but when criticism is destructive and blatantly echoes the libelous rhetoric of Israel's enemies, then one has a righr to question the motives of such people. I noticed (on YouTube) that many of rhe attendees were young people–I am a WWII vet–who are idealistioc and well-intentioned. But as for rhe older attendees, I question their motives. In the 1930s, the Communist Party created “front” organizations, which also appealed to the better instincts (e.g., the American League Against War and Fascism–who is not against these?); They supported the Party in every one of its tortuous (pro-Soviet) twists and turns–until an event (Soviet-Nazi Non-Aggression Pact) exposed the “front” for what it truly was, a creature of Soviet foreign policy. Whose policy dioes J-Street support?

  • therealend

    That was very well put. I wish I would have said that.

  • billmorgenstein

    Thanks. Even thinking and practicing reasonable thought will help.

  • antifascist18

    Who is behind J Street?

    First, the blood money of George Soros, plus a lot of funds from Hamas and from Saudi agents in the U.S.

    Second, the usual useless idiots who have walked over from the International Solidarity, ANSWER, Code Pink, and Pieces Now rallies and meetings to join with a better funded organization of fellow self-hating pukes.

    Three, the Jews in Name Only Congressional Dems like Gabrielle Giffords, Steve Cohen, Gary Ackerman, the obnoxious Alan Grayson, the equally obnoxious Bobby Wexler, and the further obnoxious Jerry Nadler, Barney aka Brenda Frank, Filner and so many others who put their pew-sitting Bonzo and their party above both their Jewishness and America.

    Four…This crew is interesting. They consist of Republicans in Name Only who regard John Foster Dulles as their spiritual leader, and whose elder “statesmen” include the likes of Jim Baker and Brent Scowcroft, or those who'd smile when Chinese or Iranian students yearning for Freedom are shot down in the streets of Beijing or Tehran, but go apolectic if Israel bombs a Hezbollah arms dump or builds a new Settlement. They include the current National Security Adviser, Jimmy Jones, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Charles Freeman (whom J Street clearly loves), and former Nixon Library Director and current Soros hack Steve Clemons (Nixon, who despite all his faults would be horrified by J Street, as he was extremely supportive of Israel – ask a REAL Republican like Al Haig). It doesn't surprise me that these RINO Realists, who are no better than Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan, are also very supportive of Obama Mid-East policies.

    Which leads me to Five, the Obama White House. After all, a pew-sitting Bonzo who has a penchant for befriending and hiring Jew-baiters like Samantha Power, Rob Malley, and (the thankfully aborted) Charles Freeman, and self-haters like Emanuel and Axelrod, would have no problems loving moral retarded “Jews” who love him!

    In short, J Street, aka Judenrat Strasse, clearly NOT pro-Israel, nor pro-Peace. But funded by Blood Money and staffed by those who'd make the old Judenrat look like saints (after all, they had NO choice, but J Street has).

  • billmorgenstein

    Shakira,

    Thank you for your response. Does your reference to a “European Jew” betray
    a bias? Any Jew whether Oriental or European can convert or become an
    agnostic or even an atheist. As you know in some parts of the Muslim world
    converting means a death sentence, which some extremists even carry out. Yes, I
    am angered when a Jew betrays their people but I would never take it to a
    violent form.

    You shouldn't be blinded by J-Street's real motives. Israel is a Democracy
    and has factions of all stripes fighting and arguing in their Knesset. No
    doubt Israel has and does make mistakes and has at times, may have
    overreacted to young Palestinian taunts. How can you not see however the filth and
    bile that is taught to Palestinian children? How can you not see that a
    Palestinian moderate will be demonized and sometimes worse? Let us argue for a
    moment that you are correct saying that Israel is stealing farms and
    property. If the Palestinian and corrupt Arab leaders would really be concerned
    with the Palestinians they would put aside their impossible demands and sit
    down with the Israeli's to build a better life for all and prosper side by
    side.

    Is that really too much to ask?

    _

    In a message dated 10/29/2009 10:37:13 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
    writes:

    Shakira A. (unregistered) wrote, in response to billmorgenstein:

    Now that's kind of a ridiculous pronouncement, isn't it? Why would any
    European Jew HAVE TO remain being a Jew? If they were truly embarrassed about
    being Jewish, wouldn't they simply accept another religion?

    Why can't it be that J-Street'ers take Israel's stand for democracy as a
    serious position, and therefore believe that they have the right to suggest
    Palestinians also have rights? Why can't it be that J-Street'ers believe
    that continuous theft of Palestinian farms and property is just WRONG?!

    Link to comment: http://disq.us/2lz5e

    —–
    Options: Respond in the body to post a reply comment.

    To turn off notifications, go to: http://disqus.com/account/notifications/

    _ (http://www.marquesafunding.com/)

  • houyhnhnm

    The sooner J street can be ignored here, the better.

  • LucyQ

    Why would any European Jew HAVE TO remain being a Jew?”

    The question you ask would be phrased better if it asked why any Jew from anywhere wants to remain a Jew? The answer is that Judaism is the most honest, moral religion in the world. The only one that says all boys everywhere are sons of God, the only one that says to kill one human is to kill the world, to help one human is to heal the world.

    Palestinians don't have the right to murder or make human bombs out of their children. For a people who have openly and recently declared that 'death is more important than life,' and 'we want Islam, not democracy,' why can't Westerners simply accept them at their word instead of vigorously trying to convert Palestinians to be just like Westerners?

  • LucyQ

    Excellent article. I hope you don't drift into the laziness of nasty name-calling pretending to be serious journalists as too many of the other writers here have done. You're new to me and I'm enjoying your well-reasoned, well-researched articles.

  • LucyQ

    I'm not familiar with all the politicians you named and Grayson is new to me but I appreciated his honesty when he recently stated that the GOP is against health-care (but for health care for all Afghanis and Iraqis-my observation), against education of all American kids and anti-peace.

    Since you think Grayson is wrong, where is the GOP plan for health care for Americans education for our kids and peace for our nation?

  • antifascist18

    Honey,

    Too bad you don't get it.

    The GOP does have a plan. It consists of getting HMO's to stabilize their costs that it won't increase, but that we will NOT have Socialized medicine rammed down our throats, nor will we have to pay penalties if we don't go along with the program. Furthermore, if you're reading the news at all, Lucy, you'd know that those “death panels” that Sarah Palin brought up and got ridiculed for are still on the table. And if you believe Henry Waxman, a firm supporter of open borders is telling the truth when he says ILLEGALS will not get health care, I have a bridge in Brooklyn available to you for $24 dollars.

    Everytime the GOP put reasoned amendments into the plan, Pelosi (who takes Cadillac Care even though she and her billionaire husband could go to public clinic), Reid and others either ignore or shoot it down.

    1808 pages in the beginning, never read by most of those who dumped it on us, and now it's 1909 with the same marlakey. If you want your kids to go to community health center, with no choice of doctors (a lot of them will resign if this goes through), no referrals, but higher costs to you and me, then go for it, I'm glad you've got the money to do so.

    But maybe the rest of us don't.

    Grayson, by the way is NOT honest, and is a typical fat arrogant pig. But Lucy, you're not being honest with us either, as everything you wrote, including the snide remark about “Afghanis and Iraqis” – and of course the “anti-peace” (of course if its Peace through Appeasement, that's fine by you) remark smacks of unadultered Lefty ignorance.

    I suppose you'll be blaming the GOP and Israel for 9/11 next, right?

  • LucyQ

    Unlike you, I'm not hoping for another 911. We currently have death panels in the form of insurance companies who won't cover certain procedures as with some forms of cancer and won't cover some humans with pre-existing conditions. That's why so many Americans have to go to foreign nations now for certain procedures including dental……if they want to live without pain and tumult.

    I'm in favor of covering illegals who are working here and I am opposed to open borders. I'm in favor of a healthy society with healthy children who our children and grandchildren go to school with, church, temple, play sports and so on. We are already paying the cost of health care to illegals whether in open society or in prison. Thus, it would be much cheaper to cover them and much healthier for our citizens.

    That wasn't a snide remark about Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Gen McChrystal, we are nation building in those nations. That is a very liberal plan, to say the least, and will be much, much more expensive than nation building in our own nation by improving our highways, hospitals and schools and even if we're there for 1, 000 years, there is no guarantee that Iraq or Afghanistan will get rid of Islam to convert to democracy and be just like us.

    Since nation building is our goal, then we should be invading Mexico, a much closer and much more important nation to us which is falling apart. We cannot afford to be nation building in the ME.

    But of course, not being an independent thinker, you are mimicking the usual immature outbursts of the GOP. Those who don't agree with you are all commies, Devils, socialists, anti-Christs and self-haters. That's why the GOP lost lasy year……Mr and Mrs America were tired of you.

  • antifascist18

    Mr. and Mrs. America may have been tired of the GOP, but unfortunately, dear Miss Uneducated (and please, don't tire me by saying you have all these degrees and I don't), you bought into the “hope and change” of a community organizer who spent the majority of his adult life sitting in a pew and applauding a Nazi – yes, even a Black man who spouts Hate of America, Hate of Christians, and Hate of Jews is a Nazi. Unlike Colin Powell, who spent his adult life serving this country, Lucy, Barry H. Obama consorted with those who'd tear it down. You claim to be so smug and smart, the earmarks of a typical Lefty. But the facts were clear and evident, the facts too that the Dems, in insisting banks give no money down loans to those who obviously couldn't pay back, that our economic crisis was created NOT by Bush and Cheney or even McCain who bluntly warned two years before that we were on the verge of collapse, but by Frank, Dodd, Pelosi and the same Obama you were excited to get. Well, you – and we – got him, a coward, a reverse racist, and an incompetent who would rather play golf than be decisive on Afghanistan. Hopefully we will have a NEW Congress in 2010 and a REAL President two years later who will represent America and American citizens, one who won't hire bleached blonde bimbos who gush about Mao Tse Tung (ever hear of him, hon?) or Communists who blame America for 9/11. Then you can cry all you want in your milk. We will hopefully take back this country, or it will be gone, and if it is, I sure hope you know how to wear a burka and hajibi…but don't protest because you just might end up like the Neda Soltan whose murder your hero convienently ignored while he was bullying Israel and Honduras.

  • moe

    I would not call this group J-Street. It would be better to call them P-street. They are supporting the Palestinians and probably would love to see Israel abandoned.
    Israel has enough of these “Peace Lovers” and you can see what happened after Israel gave back the Gaza Strip.
    These people forgot how the Palestinians were dancing in the streets of Ramalla and Gaza after 9/11. The Goldstone report is a slap in the face of people who fight for their freedom.
    Where were J-Street and the rest of the world, and Judge Goldstone himself, in the last 8 years of bombardment on civilians around the Gaza Strip. The fact that Israel waited and waited for 8 years before unleashing its power is a good answer for the report. But to hear a bunch of whoever they call themselves applauding this report is just disgusting.

  • LucyQ

    But it is tiring to read your mimicing Rush. If you insist on pretending you're Rush, then at least make an effort with one fifth of his obvious talent and logic.

    Mr and Mrs America are tired of both parties and more and more of them are realizing it's the same corrupt party. This is probably the best time possible for an independent party to emerge.

  • antifascist18

    Lucy,

    I'm NOT Rush, and believe it or not am no fan of his, though he is far better educated and much more informed about America than Anita Dumb aka Dunn or that Michael Moore in a suit known as Robert Gibbs…still, NOT Rush, Sorry.

    But you're NO Mrs. America, either. Hilarious, yes. Mrs. America, nope.

    Good post, Moe. They really are a P Street, but I think Judenrat Strasse is much more appropo for the Nazi collaborationist-Saudi and Hamas funded crew of self-haters.

    Check out Congressman Bob Filner. This self-described “History Professor” was an enthusiastic participant at the Conference and he claimed too much Jewish money was poured into D.C. (read: Caroline Glick at the J'Post). Interestingly enough Filner himself is a self-hater, just like Giffords, Grayson, Steve Cohen and other JINO Dems. I wonder how much money those in his congregation (if he belongs) or friends of the faith poured into his campaign coffers,

    Another reason to vote the bastards out next year. It's already beginning in NY23, in Virginia and in New Jersey, Thank God.

  • antifascist18

    Any Jewish Democratic Congressman or women who attended this Quislinger conference deserves a prefrontal lobotomy, or if that is too drastic, be voted out of office next year, as they have placed Obama, Soros, and their Party over their faith, over the United States of America, and over Israel.

    Remember these names – Giffords, Cohen, Weiner, Ackerman, Frank, Waxman, Grayson, Berman, Nadler, Berkley, Schakowsky, and others, folks. Bobby Wexler is resigning, otherwise his name would be towards the top of the list.

    Better an Evangelical Republican who Loves this Country and the State of Israel (Joe Wilson??) than a Jewish-born Leftist Democrat who supports the policies of and bows down before the Bonzo who spent 20 years in a pew and is a coward, an anti-semite, a reverse racist, and yes, as Congressman Wilson so honestly said – a liar.

  • LucyQ

    I guess you like us nation building in the ME, the longest war in our history. The result is almost a bankrupt nation-US and you like it. Figures. The GOP is becoming more and more like Muslims=sacrificing their young for what?

    Hopefully, Obama will quit Afghanistan and Iraq, the main reason the vast majority voted for him. If not, he'll be out but that doesn't mean the ground will be fertile for the GOP. Most Americans believe war should be the last option, not the first, and don't want their taxes to increase due to nation building in the ME.

  • antifascist18

    And who is sacrificing our troops and betraying them due to his indecisiveness and cowardice?

    None other than Boy Obama.

    And by the way, Lucy, if we DO quit Afghanistan, then what prevents us from experiencing another 9/11? An Obama and Biden who never served their country, but sure know how to betray Allies and appease our enemies?

    We can WIN in Afghanistan and then get out, if the little pew-sitter gives General McChrystal the men and the resources to do the job, not play golf or leave a place as a beehive for terror.

    Again, you talk like a typical Lefty stooge. Guess all that moveon.org agitprop and Democratic Party lies paid off in your case, sweets.

  • LucyQ

    Grow up, tiny one. All politicians are liars, that's a fact. If we want to improve politics, one shouldn't have to be a multi-millionaire to even run. They should have 3 months to run with public financing and that's it. It won't guarantee better politicians but at least many more citizens have a shot at it. Our current corrupt system is only producing corrupt politicians/thieves/liars. If we keep the corrupt system as it is, we only ensure more corruption.

  • LucyQ

    You are the Muslims best friend regardless of whether you are Muslim or not. You want to bend over backwards to build them new hospitals, schools, roads, etc while helping their cause-recruiting more terrorists. You are China's best friend too as our nation building is causing us to almost be bankrupt, borrowing more and more from China.

    The only way to prevent another 911 is to invade all 22 Islamic nations in the ME plus those two 'entities' at the same time. We can't do it because our Euro allies don't want to help us, we don't have enough soldiers and we don't have enough cash so being in Afghanistan or Iraq is guaranteeing another 911, not preventing it.

    An open democracy can't totally prevent those attacks but we can beef up our borders and close existing loopholes in our sky and oceans.

    You want to believe most Jews and Christians who voted for Obama including a high percentage of our soldiers are traitors cause they don't agree with your extremist views so suit yourself.

  • PAthena

    So far as I can tell, J-Street is loyal to communism, with the communist line on Israel, so that Israel can do no right. The Arab and Iranian money give the Mohammedan backing for this. The communist line, is to call Arabs “Palestinians,” from 1964 when the Soviet Union and Gamal Nasser in Cairo founded the “Palestine Liberation Organization.” “Palestinian” was synonymous with “Jew” from the time the Roman Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to “Palestina” in 135 A.D., after defeating the last Jewish rebellion under Bar Kochba. (He also outlawed Judaism.) The name “Palestine” then became synonymous with “land of the Jews” or “the Holy Land,” and “Palestinian” synonymous with “Jew.” That is why the Zionists wanted the “Palestine Mandate.”
    I can see no reason that yet another Arab (non-Jewish) state should be established, especially since the proposed state would be in Judea and Samaria, the land of the Jews.

  • clark81

    Whatever AIPAC's stated goals may be with regard to the peace process, in PRACTICE, the organization reflexively supports whatever the current policy of the Israeli government might be at any given moment, even when those policies are manifestly contributing to a failure to achieve a meaningful and lasting peace. Both organizations may be nominally committed to the “two state solution” but only J-Street actively pursues efforts to secure a two state solution.

  • Jacob168

    The J-Street ideology like so many claming to be for support of Israel reflects on a desire for Israel's destruction. There is no wish for the State of Israel, only total inhalation will fill their nihilism death wish.

    If only a moment of history is reviewed on the freedom of souls and prosperity, in the long history of Israel, where would the reasonable person choose to exist? The real reason that the State of Israel can not exist is purely a religious one, for a long as there is one Jew left practicing the faith them Islam is subject to the truth.

  • LucyQ

    I like your outstanding posts!