I thought it was impossible to find anything else to criticize about the self-described ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ J Street, after it was exposed for taking money from anti-Israel sources and lying about it (some of my previous posts on J Street are here), but apparently its perfidy is bottomless.
J Street has a youth organization, J Street U, “The Campus Address for Middle East Peace and Security.” What does it teach American college students about Israel and the conflict?
J Street U has a new National Board President, a Middlebury College senior named Moriel Rothman. Here’s how he explains the controversy surrounding the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and Sheik Jarrah:
…the Jerusalem municipality has been bending to the will of fanatic Jewish settlers, and producing -based on archaic documents from the Ottoman period and manufactured Israeli law– eviction notices to a number of Palestinian families, and in some cases -such as with three families in Sheikh Jarrah- acting on those eviction notices by force and removing those Palestinian families from their homes. The municipality’s actions are hugely problematic from a moral standpoint: not only are Jews buying up and/or stealing Arab land in East Jerusalem, but Arabs are moreover unable to buy land in the primarily Jewish West Jerusalem… These policies are also hugely problematic from the standpoint of peace, as East Jerusalem must be the capital of the future Palestinian state, and the Clinton Parameters, which state that Palestine will get control of Arab neighborhoods and Israel will control Jewish neighborhoods, are made harder and harder to implement with each infiltration of Jewish settlers into Arab neighborhoods like Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah.
I am not going to go into detail about the legal issues, except to mention that the Jewish ownership of the homes in question was decided by the left-leaning Israeli Supreme Court. Palestinian Arabs and their supporters have simply decided that the neighborhood will be theirs for political reasons, and the law be damned. I quote this passage in order to draw attention to Rothman’s tone. Not very ‘pro-Israel’, is he?
But at least they oppose the boycott-divestment sanctions (BDS) movement. Don’t they? Lori Lowenthal Marcus writes,
…let’s take a close look at the single positive point about J Street raised in the articles by those who admit being disappointed by J Street’s lies but believe there’s still life in them thar liars.
Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for federations and Jewish Community Relations Councils, criticized J Street’s lack of candor [!] but said that he and some of his constituent agencies have praised the organization because J Street was “very helpful” as a “credible left-wing pro-Israel organization” that opposed divestment efforts on campuses…
BDS attempts to damage Israel economically, but far more significantly, to delegitimize it by placing it on the same moral level as apartheid South Africa, which was subjected to similar actions. Marcus notes that J Street U doesn’t seem to have a problem with this aspect of BDS:
But why doesn’t J Street favor divestment from Israel? Is it because an economically strong Israel is a healthy and safe Israel? Nope. Is it because an economic intifada is a danger to Israel’s existence? Nope. Is it maybe even that Israel isn’t so bad that it deserves BDS? Nope again.
The reasons appear in an email sent about a year ago from J Street U National Board member Tal Schechter (quoted in the abominable Mondoweiss blog at http://mondoweiss.net/2009/11/j-street-seeks-to-undermine-bds.html):
To Jewish Israelis, divestment only reinforces the notion that they are constantly under attack, creating an environment in which it is harder to achieve peace, not easier.
For Palestinians who already suffer from a weak economy, divestment only puts their society more at risk.
Get it? It will make those irrational Israelis even more stubborn and it will damage the Palestinian economy. They oppose BDS because it is counterproductive, the same reason given by Mahmoud Abbas for (at least for the present) opposing terrorism.
That’s it. That’s the most ‘pro-Israel’ they get.