Here is who is representing ‘Jewish activism’ to our kids at American universities:
J Street’s university arm has dropped the “pro-Israel” part of the left-wing US lobby’s “pro-Israel, pro-peace” slogan to avoid alienating students.
That decision was part of the message conveyed to young activists who attended a special weekend program for students ahead of J Street’s first annual conference, which began on Sunday…
“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.'”
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…”
Yonatan Shechter, a junior at Hampshire College, said the ultra-liberal Massachusetts campus is inhospitable to terms like “Zionist” and that when his former organization, the Union of Progressive Zionists (which has been absorbed into J Street U), dropped that last word of its name, “people were so relieved.” — Jerusalem Post
I’m not going to analyze J Street’s positions any more to try to show that they are the opposite of ‘pro-Israel’. I’m not going to quote Ambassador Michael Oren about J Street’s positions being bad for Israel’s interests. I am not going to try to analyze J Street’s funding sources or even director Jeremy Ben-Ami’s previous anti-Israel work — Lenny Ben-David has done a tremendous job of that here.
My (somewhat random) comments:
- The Arab world, and now Iran, has been prosecuting a war against Israel for more than 60 years. Palestinian Arabs have been trying to drive Jews out of the region for almost 100 years. What does it mean to say “Jewish students feel connected to Palestine”? Do Armenian students feel connected to Turkey? Should they?
- The Big Lie about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that it is a human-rights or social justice issue rather than part of a regional war.
- Maybe “[students] were so relieved” when the left-wing Union of Progressive Zionists dropped the word ‘Zionists’ because — unlike Ben-Ami and the J Street leadership — they were uncomfortable with the hypocrisy of calling themselves ‘Zionists’ and at the same time bringing the anti-Zionist ‘Breaking the Silence’ organization to campuses.
- Why does Jeremy Ben-Ami make me so angry? Not because of his left-wing anti-Israel position, which is common in many quarters today, and not because he holds it despite having Jewish parents. It’s because he claims the role of advocate for Israel, even as a spokesperson for an American Jewish perspective, while doing his best — as a paid agent of Israel’s enemies — to weaken American support for Israel.
I would be overjoyed if J Street, too, would follow the lead of the far more sincere students, come out of its closet and unabashedly drop the phrase ‘pro-Israel’ from its self-description.
Of course, not doing this is their whole point, isn’t it?