Monday, November 12, 2018

J Street: From Blocking Back to Quarterback?

"Our No. 1 agenda item is to do whatever we can in Congress to act as the president’s blocking back."
J Street co-founder Jeremy Ben-Ami, "The New Israel Lobby," September 9, 2009


And in order to do whatever they could in Congress to support Obama, J Street took -- and continues to take -- a different approach than AIPAC.

AIPAC supports the policy of whoever is elected to lead Israel. In order to do that, AIPAC backs the idea of bipartisan support:
AIPAC is not a political action committee (PAC) and we do not rate or endorse candidates for elected or appointed office. AIPAC members in all 50 states are encouraged to be politically active and develop relationships with their members of Congress to help educate them about the importance of U.S.-Israel ties.
J Street is different on both counts:

o J Street does not support the policy of Israel's elected leaders. Instead, they follow their own agenda
o J Street has their own Political Action Committee, supporting only Democrats - Democrats who support the "two-state" solution:
JStreetPAC was established in 2008 as the first-ever federal political action committee (PAC) to explicitly promote American leadership to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Also, as part of their agenda, J Street has deliberately discarded the idea of bipartisan support for Israel in favor of support for their agenda, by supporting only Democrats in Congressional elections.

The one-sided approached has, of course, resulted in some lopsided endorsements.

For example, there is Rashida Tlaib, whom J Street endorsed despite the fact that Rashida Tlaib
o supported Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh
o supported Islamic Relief, which has links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
o criticized California’s Kamala Harris for discussing cooperation between California and Israel on water management, agriculture, and cyber security
o accused Harris of “racism” for meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
o retweeted a post from Linda Sarsour supporting Ahed Tamimi, who was jailed for incitement and assaulting an IDF soldier -- and upon release voiced support for suicide bombing.
Photo
Rashida Tlaib. Public Domain


J Street did end up withdrawing their support for Tlaib.

Why?

Not because of her anti-Israel views or support for terrorists.

In their statement about withdrawing support for Tlaib, entitled "J Street Will Not Endorse Candidates Who Do Not Endorse a Two-State Solution," J Street makes clear what their priorities are:
While we have long championed the value of a wide range of voices in discussion of the conflict and related issues, we cannot endorse candidates who conclude that they can no longer publicly express unequivocal support for a two-state solution and other core principles to which our organization is dedicated.
The statement then continues:
Rashida Tlaib’s election as the first Palestinian-American woman Member of Congress will be a historic milestone for the Palestinian-American community and for the United States as a whole. We strongly support and are encouraged by her commitment to social justice, and we are inspired by her determination to bring the voice of underrepresented communities to Capitol Hill. We wish her and her campaign well, and we look forward to a close working relationship with her and her office when she takes her seat in Congress next year.
Other questionable Democrats that J Street has supported include Representative Mark Pocan, who last year anonymously reserved official Capitol Hill space for an anti-Israel forum organized by organizations that support boycotts and Representative Hank Johnson, who referred to Israelis living in Judea and Samaria as 'termites'

But at least they supported J Street's two-state solution!

In last weeks midterm elections, the Democrats regained control of the House, helped in part by the $5 million dollars that J Street used for Democratic candidates.

And what was J Street's reaction?

J Street president Jeremy "blocking back" Ben-Ami wrote an email to supporters that:
"After last night's victories, we can finally begin to retake the reins of America's foreign policy and make gains in our fight for a better future for Israelis and Palestinians."
From YouTube Video
Jeremy Ben Ami. From YouTube Video


That's one statement you will not hear from AIPAC.

But this is the same J Street that
o despite their repeated denials to the contrary, in 2008 and 2009 received funding from George Soros,  
o in 2009, claimed it "refuses to embrace" the Goldstone Report, which criticized Israel on its conduct during Operation Cast Lead. Yet when a resolution was sponsored in Congress condemning the report, and Goldstone circulated a document defending it, the source of the report was traced back to Mort Halperin of the J Street advisory council. In fact, J Street went so far as to facilitate visits for Goldstone to the Hill 
o already in 2009, had connections with NIAC, a pro-Iranian advocacy group that would become instrumental in pushing the Iran deal -- which J Street still supports. 
o brought "Breaking the Silence" to speak at Princeton University during Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut.
And now J Street blatantly tells its supporters that their goal is to control foreign policy?

J Street is not pro-Israel.
J Street is not pro-Peace.

J Street is just pro-J Street.

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