Archive for the ‘J Street’ Category

J Street lays a trap for Birthright

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

J Street’s recent attempt to slime Taglit-Birthright shows yet again that J Street is nothing more than a Trojan Horse intended to sabotage American Jewish support for Israel.

Birthright is an organization that provides free trips to Israel for young people from 18-27 years old, on the premise that nothing creates understanding and connection better than personal experience.

It’s been wildly successful, perhaps showing that the much-remarked lack of connection to Israel among young American Jews is due more to the suffusion of colleges and universities by anti-Israel propaganda than to Israel’s illiberal tendencies, as Peter Beinart has alleged.

J Street’s campus arm, J Street U, announced that they would be leading a Birthright tour with a difference. It would be called “Explore Israel: Progressive Zionism and Social Justice.” It would be “from a perspective that acknowledges your Jewish and progressive values,” and would help participants discover “the full contours of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” by meeting with “members of Israeli civil society working to advance the goals of democracy and human rights.”

In other words, J Street U would use the resources of Birthright to indoctrinate students with their brand of anti-Israel politics. And it’s not just theoretical — J Street U has organized Jewish students to join left-wing protests in Israel.

The announcement prompted inquiries to Birthright, which responded that no such tour had been approved. But J Street U pressed the matter, claiming that Birthright had ‘canceled’ their planned tour. And then J Street’s director, the serial liar Jeremy Ben Ami weighed in to suggest that the tour was killed for political reasons.

But Birthright never received a formal proposal and the trip was never approved at all:

Taglit-Birthright Israel wishes to clarify that at no time did it approve of a Birthright Israel trip in association with JStreet, nor did it give its trip provider, the Israel Experience, any approval for such a trip. We did not rescind its approval as no approval was given in the first place.

Three months ago, we were approached by the Israel Experience which informally inquired about holding a trip focusing on Progressive Zionism and social justice in conjunction with JStreet. We said such a trip, as described in a brief conversation with the Israel Experience, would likely be out of keeping with our longstanding policy of not conducting trips with a political orientation.

The Israel Experience made no follow-up, and it did not submit any formal request for such a trip. At no time did Taglit-Birthright Israel have any contact with JStreet or JStreetU.

Last week, we were perplexed to read a press release by JStreetU announcing it was “leading” a Birthright Israel trip, and soliciting participants to register for the trip on its website bearing a Taglit-Birthright Israel logo. Aside from the fact that no such trip was ever approved, there cannot have been any registered participants, since registration in North America begins on February 15th and takes place only through our website.

Ben Ami mentioned that Birthright trips had been led by other organizations that are ‘political’, such as AIPAC. But the difference is that AIPAC submitted a proposal beforehand, as Birthright explains:

For years, we have run a Capital-to-Capital trip through another trip provider, which focuses on the Israeli political system. The provider has been running this trip, with input from AIPAC, a mainstream Israel advocacy group, long before JStreet was established. It focuses on Israel’s political structure, with an approach similar to a political science class; the trip has never been tilted to one side of the political spectrum. Needless to say, the trip organizer submitted a formal trip proposal which underwent rigorous review before it was approved.

Ben Ami lays a trap for Birthright, suggesting that if it approves one ‘political’ group it must approve any such group. But by this principle, even Hamas could lead a trip! Of course there have to be limits, and AIPAC — whose point of view parallels that of the Government of Israel — is mainstream while J Street is not. In any event, since no proposal was submitted, Birthright didn’t have to decide.

The project, in my opinion, was intended to embarrass Birthright. If it agreed to a J Street-led tour it would anger its Zionist supporters as well as contribute to J Street’s efforts on behalf of the campaign to delegitimize Israel. On the other hand, refusing to approve it leaves Birthright open to the charge that it is a political organization — perhaps even imperiling its 501(c)(3) status (far-fetched? See here, here and here).

Birthright is one of the most effective tools we have to counteract the massive propaganda blitz that our young people are exposed to on campus and from their ‘progressive’ friends. Support and protect it.

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More on J Street’s Birthright trip

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Yesterday I wrote about the Birthright trip supposedly to be led by J Street U, the campus branch of the phony ‘pro-Israel’ organization J Street. I urged readers to write to Birthright and The Israel Experience, the ‘trip provider’ said to be organizing the tour for J Street.

Birthright responded to me that they were looking into the matter. An official of The Israel Experience responded to a reader, saying

Neither Birthright nor the Israel Experience are providing a JStreet trip. (rumors)

At first I thought that the press release from J Street U’s director, Daniel May, which appeared in several blogs (see here and here) was a hoax, because it didn’t appear on either the J Street or J Street U site. But one of the bloggers kindly pointed me to the signup page for the tour on J Street’s web site.

So here’s what I think:

Someone at J Street thought that it would be clever to trade on the good name of Birthright — after all, how could Birthright allow an anti-Zionist group to lead a tour? — and at the same time exploit the funding provided by truly pro-Israel donors and the Israeli government. The plan was to bring young people to Israel where they could meet with left-wing Jews and anti-Zionist Arabs, who would present to them J Street’s fundamentally anti-Zionist point of view.

But they apparently ‘forgot’ to ask Birthright before announcing the program!

This is a maneuver characteristic of J Street, which essentially exists to dishonestly use Jewish resources against Israel. So it accepts donations from well-meaning liberal Jews while also receiving funds from extreme left-wing sources such as George Soros and from individuals connected to Arab interests and Iran.

I have asked Birthright and The Israel Experience to publicly disavow any connection to J Street or J Street U. Email addresses are in my previous post, if you want to do the same.

Update [1126 PST]: I received the following (unsigned) email from Birthright:

JStreet has been asked to remove this page.

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Action alert: Don’t let J Street exploit Birthright

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

No program has been more effective in creating Zionist consciousness in Jewish young people than Birthright. Israel really is a vital, democratic, modern and generally cool place, so sending kids there for ten days for free is the best way to arm them against the barrage of anti-Israel propaganda they face at college or among their ‘progressive’ friends.

So naturally this had to happen:

J Street U is very happy to announce that we will be leading a free, ten-day Taglit-Birthright trip this summer titled, “Explore Israel: Progressive Zionism and Social Justice.”

This trip is an incredible opportunity to connect with the Israel that isn’t on the front page or in the guide books. Move beyond the headlines, and see what’s really happening on the ground…

The trip is a chance to appreciate the vibrancy of Israel’s history, culture and landscape from a perspective that acknowledges your Jewish and progressive values.

The best way to discover the richness of Israeli society and the full contours of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to travel around Israel and meet people from the diverse groups of the region. There is simply no substitute for seeing the land and connecting with the people.

On the trip, we’ll speak with members of Israeli civil society working to advance the goals of democracy and human rights. Our itinerary will provide a cross-section of Israeli opinion.

This trip is a gift of Taglit-Birthright Israel and will be provided by The Israel Experience, Ltd. — J Street press release (my emphasis)

In other words, the phony ‘pro-Israel’ organization J Street, a group that takes money from people associated with Saudi Arabia, the Arab-American institute,  Iranian interests, anti-Israel billionaire George Soros, a mysterious woman associated with the guy who beat the Hong Kong horse-racing track, and the Turkish producer of anti-Israel propaganda films; whose co-founder called the creation of Israel ‘an act that was wrong’; and which facilitated meetings between members of Congress and Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the notorious Goldstone report that accused Israel of deliberately murdering civilians in the Gaza war  — this organization has the chutzpah to use funds provided by Taglit-Birthright to sabotage its purpose!

J Street U, the campus branch of J Street which will be guiding the students on this trip, stopped calling itself ‘pro-Israel’ because

“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…”

What is J Street U? Its National Board President U is a Middlebury College student named Moriel Rothman. Here is how he explains the controversy around the Sheik Jarrah / Shimon haTzadik neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Pay attention not only to his words, but his tone:

…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.

This is what they call “progressive Zionism!” If you ask me, it has ‘progressed’ to the point that it can’t be distinguished from Arab propaganda — Ali Abunimah could have written that paragraph.

Now I am not saying that, distasteful as it is, an anti-Zionist organization like J Street U can be prevented from leading a trip to Israel in which young people will meet various Jewish left-wing extremists and Arab anti-Zionists, perhaps participate in a demonstration or two, and in general see the country through the eyes of those who hate it.

But I think it is highly inappropriate that funds that have been given to Taglit-Birthright by Zionists like me and by Israeli taxpayers should be used to pay for it!

So I suggest that you contact Birthright — you can email them at and ask them if they think that the anti-Zionist organization J Street U should be allowed to lead a Birthright trip.

Birthright works through ‘trip providers’ like The Israel Experience Ltd, in Israel — a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency. You can email the Deputy Director-General of TIE, Eran Applebaum at, and ask him if he thinks his organization should be helping J Street to damage Israel.

Do it now. I have, and I’ll report on any results.

Update [27 Jan 1307 PST]: This press release may have been a hoax. It does not appear on the websites of either J Street U or J Street. I found it in two blogs, here and here. Both of the writers took it seriously, but I’ve been told that Birthright denies that there will be such a trip!

Update [1629 PST]: It’s for real. Here’s the signup page.

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End the J Street charade

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

This one is just too good (h/t: Lenny Ben-David).

News item:

The United States House of Representatives unanimously on Thursday approved a resolution opposing unilateral declaration of [a] Palestinian state.

The resolution introduced by Rep. Howard Berman, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slams Palestinian efforts to push the international community to recognize a state in such a manner as “true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.”

The resolution calls on the U.S. administration to “deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties.”

Makes sense, right? It wouldn’t exactly promote peace if an Arab state were suddenly declared within some arbitrary borders (the 1949 armistice lines are exactly that). There would be no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, no land swaps for the large settlement blocs, no agreements to guarantee Jews access to holy places, no security arrangements to prevent ‘Palestine’ from inviting Iranian troops for ‘protection’, and more. And it would violate numerous UN resolutions, the Road Map, and the Oslo agreements.

The fact that it was unanimously adopted by the House shows how noncontroversial it is.

Why, only someone who really wanted to hurt Israel would oppose it. Even the most pro-Arab House members didn’t. But guess what?

The pro-Israel lobby [sic!] J Street issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing Berman’s resolution, saying “it addresses only one issue standing in the way of peace.”

In the statement, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said that the resolution continued “a pattern in which overly one-sided resolutions are introduced and moved to the floor of the House without an adequate opportunity for debate, discussion and modification by the Members.”

Let’s see: J Street takes money from people associated with Saudi Arabia, the Arab-American institute,  Iranian interests, anti-Israel billionaire George Soros, a mysterious woman associated with the guy who beat the Hong Kong horse-racing track, and the Turkish producer of anti-Israel propaganda films. Its co-founder called the creation of Israel ‘an act that was wrong’. J Street also facilitated meetings between members of Congress and Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the notorious Goldstone report that accused Israel of deliberately murdering civilians in the Gaza war. And of course they’ve opposed other pro-Israel resolutions in Congress.

Time to end the charade.

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UN, J Street, Hitler, fight for Palestinian rights

Sunday, December 12th, 2010
'Cultural performance' by al-Ashtar theater group at UN on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

'Cultural performance' by al-Ashtar theater group at UN on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. UN photo.

This is going to be an easy post for me to write, since I will let my friends at our United Nations write most of it for me:

In 1975, by its resolution 3376 the United Nations General Assembly established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and requested it to recommend a programme of implementation to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination without external interference, national independence and sovereignty; and to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced. The Committee’s recommendations were endorsed by the Assembly, to which the Committee reports annually. The Assembly established the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights (later redesignated as the Division for Palestinian Rights) as its secretariat and, throughout the years, has gradually expanded the Committee’s mandate.

As far as I know, no other ‘people’ has a committee to help them exercise their inalienable rights — certainly not the Jewish people, or the Kurdish people or the Tibetan people or anyone else. To make sure that nobody forgets the ‘plight’ of the sainted Palestinians,

Assisted by the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Committee organizes international meetings and conferences, cooperates and liaises with civil society organizations worldwide, maintains a publications and information programme, and holds each year on 29 November or around that date a special meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (29 November).

November 29, 1947, as everyone knows, is the date that the UN General Assembly passed the partition resolution which would have created — for the first time in history — a state for the ‘Palestinian people’!

That must be why they’re celebrating it, of course — oops, no, they are commemorating the nakba, the ‘catastrophe’ which came about because the peace-loving ‘Palestinian people’ started a war with the Jews in the Mandate — not because they wanted a Palestinian state but because they didn’t want a Jewish one! And they got their neighbors to join in.

By the way, those neighbors — Transjordan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon — didn’t want to create a Palestinian state either, but they too didn’t want a Jewish state, so they invaded the area of the Mandate and tried to get the territory for themselves. This is how Jordan came to control Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem for 19 years.

But to almost everyone’s dismay, the Jewish state came into being. One of the most dismayed was the exiled leader of the ‘Palestinian people’, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who had expected the Hitler would nip the Jewish state in the bud by murdering the Palestinian Jews. Here is a snippet from a NY Times report on revelations from newly declassified documents:

In chilling detail, the report also elaborates on the close working relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who later claimed that he sought refuge in wartime Germany only to avoid arrest by the British.

In fact, the report says, the Muslim leader was paid “an absolute fortune” of 50,000 marks a month (when a German field marshal was making 25,000 marks a year). It also said he energetically recruited Muslims for the SS, the Nazi Party’s elite military command, and was promised that he would be installed as the leader of Palestine after German troops drove out the British and exterminated more than 350,000 Jews there.

On Nov. 28, 1941, the authors say, Hitler told Mr. Husseini that the Afrika Corps and German troops deployed from the Caucasus region would liberate Arabs in the Middle East and that “Germany’s only objective there would be the destruction of the Jews.”

The report details how Mr. Husseini himself was allowed to flee after the war to Syria — he was in the custody of the French, who did not want to alienate Middle East regimes — and how high-ranking Nazis escaped from Germany to become advisers to anti-Israeli Arab leaders and “were able to carry on and transmit to others Nazi racial-ideological anti-Semitism.”

“You have an actual contract between officials of the Nazi Foreign Ministry with Arab leaders, including Husseini, extending after the war because they saw a cause they believed in,” Dr. Breitman said. “And after the war, you have real Nazi war criminals — Wilhelm Beisner, Franz Rademacher and Alois Brunner — who were quite influential in Arab countries.”

Too bad for Husseini and his ‘Palestinian people’, but Montgomery, Eisenhower and the Red Army stopped the Afrika Corps and Hitlerism before they were given their ‘inalienable rights’ to a judenrein ‘Palestine’.

Apparently our United Nations has taken up Husseini’s cause, now that Hitler is gone. The UN has set up a “Civil Society Network” that non-governmental organizations can join if they really care about helping the Palestinians get their inalienable rights.

Want to join? Here is all you need to do:

(a) be a recognized local, national or international non-profit organization;

(b) support the Charter of the United Nations, the principles of international law and the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily its right to self-determination;

(c) have demonstrated that it has concrete programmes or the serious intent to establish such programmes in support of the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

And our United Nations also publicizes the activities of organizations working for this humanitarian goal. For example, here is the North American calendar of “NGO Action News” for the past week:

Jewish Voice for Peace, Adalah-NY, Brooklyn for Peace, Code Pink, Jews Say No!, and Students for Justice in Palestine-Columbia held a demonstration on 10 December at TIAA-CREF’s offices in New York, to protest the financial service’s investment in companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. Supporters who were unable to join the protest are invited to sign a related petition.

The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) has launched its Winter Bazaar 2010, which will run until 21 December, in Washington, DC. Proceeds from sales of Middle Eastern maps, manuscripts and art, will benefit the ATFP as well as the American Charities for Palestine.

CODEPINK will lead a delegation to Gaza from 30 January to 6 February, to get a firsthand look at conditions on the ground.

J Street will hold a conference on peace in the Middle East called “Giving Voice to our Values,” from 26 February to 1 March, in Washington, DC.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation urges Americans to tell their Members of Congress to put US — and not Israeli — interests first, when it comes to budget decisions.

Creative Nonviolent Resistance against Injustice and are selling Fair-Traded Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Palestine in order to benefit Palestinian farmers. All profits will be donated to the newly created Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. For more information, contact Dennis Loh at:

J Street: pro-Israel and pro-peace. Right.

Oh, an aside: the UN’s Committee claims to support a “two-state solution.” But nowhere do they say anything like “two states for two peoples” or mention the Jewish people. Combined with the call for a right of return for ‘Palestinian refugees’, this implies that their vision of “two states” is the same as that of Mahmoud Abbas (which ultimately is the same as that of Husseini and Hitler): A Jew-free ‘Palestine’ alongside a former ‘Israel’ overrun by 4.5 million ‘refugees’.

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