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STANDWITHUS CONCERNED ABOUT J STREET
 

StandWithUs has concerns about "J Street," a new organization and lobby whose goal is to change U.S. policies on Israel. Though J Street claims to be "pro- Israel" and "pro-peace" and to represent mainstream Jewish opinion, we are troubled because their positions seem to undermine Israel and its search for peace with security. Their views may also contribute to anti-Israel biases and misinformation.

Among our concerns are the following:

We are concerned because J Street echoes many of the charges in Walt and Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby, and denigrates mainstream Jewish organizations across the political spectrum.

We are concerned about many of J Street's funders and advisors who have opposed Israel or have ties with Arab governments that have been consistently hostile to Israel. They include one board member who donated $10,000 and is on the National American Iranian Council, widely viewed as the unofficial lobby in America for the current Iranian regime. [1] Others include Zahi Khouri, a wealthy Palestinian businessman, who considers AIPAC and Netanyahu "enemies of peace" [2] Another J Street donor is a board member of Human Rights Watch, an organization that targets Israel [3] for unfair criticism, and was recently exposed because its "military expert" was obsessed with Nazi memorabilia, and because it solicited funds from the Saudi government, enticing them by promising to continue its biased investigations of Israel. J Street advisor Judith Barnett worked for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade, and became a registered agent for Saudi Arabia. [4]

We are concerned because J Street draws a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. During Israel's recent war against Hamas, J Street said it could not identify "who was right or who was wrong," proclaiming that "we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right and wrong." [5] We are deeply disturbed that J Street would equate the moral principles of Israel and Hamas, whose founding document calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel, and includes sections that echo The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

We are most concerned because J Street frequently endorses anti-Israel, anti-Jewish narratives. J Street claimed that Israel's response in the war against Hamas was "disproportionate;" accepted the discredited claims of the UN Goldstone report on Israel's conduct during the Hamas war; [6] launched letter writing campaigns to support a "60 Minutes" show demonizing Israeli settlers; [7] supported the staging of "7 Jewish Children," a play with such strong anti-Semitic messages that the BBC wouldn't air it, [8] and praised Jimmy Carter whose biased views have been so damaging to Israel. [9]

We are concerned because J Street lays equal blame on Israel and the Palestinians for the ongoing conflict, ignoring the long history of Palestinian rejectionism, the extremism of Palestinian organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Fatah-funded Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and the unfortunate results of Israel's concessions for peace, such as the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. We are disturbed when we read statements blaming both sides equally for the failure of past peace efforts, such as, "It is J Street's position that the parties themselves have proven incapable of reaching a resolution to the conflict." [10]

We are concerned because J Street frequently opposes the positions of the Israeli government and its electorate, and urges America to oppose center piece Israeli policies that have wide public support in Israel and the U.S. J Street opposed Israel's war against Hamas, supported the U.S. administration's call for a settlement freeze without comparable demands put on the Palestinians, rejects stronger sanctions against Iran, and calls for the U.S. and Israel to negotiate with Hamas. J Street seems to belittle or ignore official Israeli policy and the realities on the ground in the region.

We are also troubled that many Israeli J Street members are affiliated with Israeli political parties that were soundly defeated and marginalized in recent elections, and who seem to be trying to influence the American public and government to adopt their rejected platforms.

We are troubled that J Street claims to represent the silent mainstream of American Jewish opinion even though the polls that J Street conducted to prove the popularity of its positions were exposed as unreliable because biased questions forced the responses that J Street sought. [11] Other polls of Jewish American opinion produced substantially different results.

StandWithUs shares the deep concerns of Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, who condemned J Streetís position on Israel's war against Hamas. He wrote that J Street's views are "deeply distressing because they are morally deficient, profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment and also appallingly naÔve." [12]

We are all committed to breaking the impasse on the road to peace in the Middle East, but we should be concerned about a group that misrepresents itself to well-meaning people by falsely claiming that it reflects mainstream American Jewish opinion, and while promoting policies and views that threaten to harm Israel and undermine the arduous efforts for establishing an enduring peace.

[1] http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/08/exposing -j-street-fraud-why-is-pro.html

[2] Lenny Ben-David, "Peeling Off J-Street's Invisibility Cloak: What Today's NY Times Magazine Won't Tell You, Pajamas Media, Sept. 13, 2009 at http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/peeling-off-j- streets-invisibility-cloak-what-todays-ny-times- magazine-wont-tell-you/

[3] http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/peeling-off-j- streets-invisibility-cloak-what-todays-ny-times- magazine-wont-tell-you/ and NGO Monitor at ttp://www.ngo- monitor.org/article/human_rights_watch_hrw_

[4] http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/peeling-off-j- streets-invisibility-cloak-what-todays-ny-times- magazine-wont-tell-you/

[5] http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite? cid=1244371055245&pagename=JPArticle% 2FShowFull and http://www.jstreet.org/page/rep-marcy- kaptur-d-oh-statement-violence-gaza

[6] http://www.jstreet.org/blog/ , Sept. 21, 2009

[7] http://jstreet.org/campaigns/archived Jan. 29, 2009

[8] http://theaterjblogs.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/j- street-letter-of-support-on-discussing-7jc/

[9] http://www.campusprogress.org/asktheexpert/293 4/redefining-pro-israel

[10] http://jstreet.org/page/israel-palestine#

[11] http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index. php/pollak/75641

[12] http://www.forward.com/articles/14847/

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