Archive for September, 2010

Shorts: The end of J Street, and a letter to the editor

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Die, J Street, Die!

J street reminds me of Rasputin, who was supposedly poisoned, shot several time, clubbed, tied up in a carpet and thrown into the icy Neva river to freeze or drown before he finally died.

Revealed to be receiving money from donors associated with Arab and Iranian interests, called out by the Israeli Ambassador for taking positions that “could impair Israeli interests,” caught in a bare-faced lie about its connections to anti-Israel billionaire George Soros, J Street may be losing its influence with the Obama Administration and on Capitol Hill as it daily grows more radioactive.

Now new revelations published by the Washington Times about J Street’s covert lobbying on behalf of the notorious Goldstone report may finally wrap J Street and its smoothly mendacious director, Jeremy Ben Ami, in a carpet and throw them into the Neva:

J Street — the self-described pro-Israel, pro-peace lobbying group — facilitated meetings between members of Congress and South African Judge Richard Goldstone, author of a U.N. report that accused the Jewish state of systematic war crimes in its three-week military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

Colette Avital — a former member of Israel’s parliament, from the center-left Labor Party and until recently J Street’s liaison in Israel — told The Washington Times that her decision to resign her post with J Street earlier this year was a result in part of the group’s “connection to Judge Goldstone.”

“When Judge Goldstone came to Washington, [J Street leaders were] suggesting that they might help him set up his appointments on Capitol Hill,” she said. Ms. Avital later disavowed knowledge of J Street’s dealings with Judge Goldstone during a conference call arranged by J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami…

In a statement provided to The Washington Times this week, Mr. Ben-Ami said, “J Street did not host, arrange or facilitate any visit to Washington, D.C., by Judge Richard Goldstone.”

He went on to say, however, that “J Street staff spoke to colleagues at the organizations coordinating the meetings and, at their behest, reached out to a handful of congressional staff to inquire whether members would be interested in seeing Judge Goldstone.”

Ben-Ami’s explanation that he didn’t bring Goldstone to Washington — like his apology for ‘misleading’ the public about Soros — is reminiscent of a famous explication of the meaning of the word ‘is’.

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A letter to the editor

One of my favorite quotations is this one, from journalist A. J. Liebling:

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.

My local newspaper, the Fresno Bee, owns several, and they jealously guard their freedom to keep persuasive presentations of contrary opinions off of them. Last week I wrote a letter in response to an op-ed by syndicated columnist Trudy Rubin, which they declined to print (they might still surprise me, but I doubt it).

Anyway, here are my 200 words on Trudy Rubin, with a couple of links added:

Trudy Rubin (“Hatred of Muslims hurts U.S.”) wrote of the promoter of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, “there is no question that he’s a proud American and a moderate Muslim.”

In a recent radio interview, this ‘moderate’ flatly refused to condemn the Palestinian Hamas – a murderous, extremist faction which is proud of its genocidal intentions. If you think I’m exaggerating, you can read the Hamas Covenant.

But Rubin seems intent to cast any objection to Rauf’s program – or indeed, any opposition to the political component of Islam – as “hatred of Muslims,” and suggests that it is all a trick by conservative politicians and propagandists (she mentions the usual suspects, Palin, Gingrich, Limbaugh, etc.)

It’s not religious prejudice to be concerned about a political program, one that is in direct opposition to our Constitution, when we’ve seen its destructive effects in many parts of the world.

We should all learn to draw the appropriate distinctions between politics and religion, extremists and moderates, and individuals and groups. Hate is never acceptable, but we can’t let political correctness make all discussion of Islam – and its politics — taboo.

I guess the taboo is in force at the Fresno Bee.

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