The organization which calls itself “J Street” is billed as “pro-Israel and pro-peace”. It presents itself as an alternative to AIPAC, which it says is dominated by the “far right”. It appears to be very well-funded and has numerous well-known liberal Jews among its supporters.
In fact, J Street’s goals are inimical to the continued existence of the state of Israel. Its supporters either desire the elimination of the Jewish state or do not understand the consequences of accepting its principles.
Here is J Street’s Statement of Principles, with my comments.
- Consistent and concerted diplomatic engagement by the United States to achieve Israeli-Arab peace. A negotiated end to the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts serves both U.S. and Israeli strategic and security interests. Achieving it must be a priority for any future U.S. administration;
“Engagement” is a code word for pressure on Israel to make concrete, irrevocable concessions — giving up territory — in return for unenforceable promises of peace and normal relations. Whenever the US has been “engaged” — after the 1967 and 1973 wars, the Israeli-Egyptian ‘peace’ deal, the 1982 agreement that let Arafat and his terrorists escape Beirut, and of course Oslo — Israel has been forced to give up gains earned in blood in return for promises, both from the US and the Arabs, that were not fulfilled.
- An enduring relationship between the US and Israel that promotes their common interests. We recognize and support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, a democratic country that promises equal rights for all its citizens and that has the right to defend itself against external threats;
This paragraph makes two points: Israel is the “homeland of the Jewish people”, but not a Jewish state; and it only promises, but does not provide, equal rights for all of its citizens. In order to understand the importance of the juxtaposition of these statements, we need to consider the demands presently being made by the elite of the Israeli-Arab population: their understanding of ‘equal rights’ essentially calls for the elimination of the Jewish character of the state.
- The creation of a viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders with agreed reciprocal land swaps. The future Palestinian state will require unprecedented levels of international economic and political support to succeed, including a resolution of the refugee issue within the new Palestinian state and in current host countries;
For various reasons, including the lack of support among Palestinians for any non-rejectionist leadership, majority support for Hamas, and the military capabilities of the Iranian-funded and armed Hamas, a peaceful Palestinian state simply impossible. A fantasy. If we ignore this and create a state anyway, we will be helping set up a terrorist entity like today’s Gaza strip right next to Israeli population centers.
- An Israeli-Syrian peace agreement based on the land-for-peace formula, security guarantees, and details outlined in previous negotiations;
Another fantasy. Giving up the Golan heights will drastically reduce Israel’s deterrent against Syrian attack, allow renewed terrorism on what has become a quiet front, allow Hezbollah to grow even stronger. In return, Israel will get less than what she got from Egypt, not even a prolonged cease-fire.
- A comprehensive regional peace that builds on the Arab Initiative, leading to recognition of Israel by all its neighbors in the Middle East and the creation of a new regional approach to cooperation and security;
The Arab (Saudi) Initiative is a surrender document. It requires Israel to return to the 1967 lines with no exceptions and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes; it calls for a solution of the refugee problem in a way which can only be understood as their return to Israel; and Israel gets nothing until she has entirely met Arab demands. The Arab initiative directly contradicts J Street’s planks calling for land swaps and for refugees to return to the Palestinian state and not to Israel, so one wonders what it’s doing here.
- An American policy in the Middle East more broadly based on diplomacy, multilateralism and real partnership with the European Union, the Quartet and others. We support dialogue with a broad range of countries and actors, including Iran, over confrontation in order to find solutions to the region’s conflicts.
The European Union and the Quartet members other than the US (Russia, the EU, and the UN) are all quite hostile to Israel. How does involving them help? And what exactly does J Street propose to offer to Iran in order to ‘find a solution’ to Ahmadinejad’s desire to replace US influence in the Middle East with a Shiite Caliphate? Permission to build nuclear weapons?
To advance these goals, we seek to build a broad and inclusive campaign that crosses ethnic and religious lines and in which American Jews play a prominent role.
Yes, it really helps the argument when you can say “See, even the Jews think Israel is intransigent and must be forced to make peace”.
We believe honest discussion of American and Israeli policies is healthy for the U.S., for Israel and for the American Jewish community. We will actively promote debate in the United States that is as open and spirited as it is in Israel.
In other words, Mearsheimer and Walt were right, AIPAC and the Israel Lobby ‘muzzle’ debate about Israel in the US.
In that debate, we will oppose alliances with the religious right or any radical religious ideologues in the name of supporting Israel as well as efforts to demean and fan fears of Islam or of Muslims.
It’s interesting that on the J Street site, there is no mention of any of the real threats faced by Israel from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. No mention of the tens of thousands of Syrian and Hezboillah missiles targeting Israel at this moment, no mention of the liklihood of war with Hezbollah and Hamas. What we find instead is an attack on Christian Zionist John Hagee! Does J Street think John Hagee is a greater menace than Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad?
The statement of principles is not in any way pro-Israel or pro-peace. It is a blueprint to force Israel back to the indefensible 1967 borders and to entirely surround her with armed terrorist entities that will continue to build up their military capabilities with Iranian funding; it encourages the radical elements among the Israeli Arabs in their struggle to turn Israel herself into a Palestinian state from within; it promotes the completely unacceptable Arab Initiative; suggests that dialogue is the way to deal with imminent military threats; makes approving noises in the direction of the antisemitic doctrine of Mearsheimer and Walt; and tries to drive a wedge between Israel and the 100+ million evangelicals in the US who want to support her.
The consequence of allowing a Hamas state to be set up in the West Bank and of failing to firmly oppose Iran and her proxies, to weaken Israel and strengthen its enemies cannot possibly be peace, but its opposite.
The primary goal of J Street appears to be to get Israel out of the territories, even though there is no partner which could create a peaceful Palestinian state. Secondarily it opposes the Jewish character of the state. Its domestic goals in the US are to reduce the influence of the Christian right and to keep Jews from making alliances with right-wing forces.
J Street is just another part of the general offensive against support for Israel in the US that has been taking place for the past few years. This one is aimed at support from liberal or uncommitted Jews, just as Jimmy Carter’s book is designed to weaken pro-Israel sentiment among Protestants.
It would be very interesting to learn the sources of funding for this slick group’s disingenuous propaganda.
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