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J Street has come under growing scrutiny for its dubious methods, funding, and associations.
Last month on Commentary’s blog “Contentions,” Noah Pollak noted that J Street’s polls — which always come out showing that American Jewry holds the same positions as J Street — are conducted by Washington consultant Jim Gerstein, who happens to have been a J Street vice president. But “you’d never know this from J Street’s staff page or the voluptuous promotion that accompanies the release of a J Street poll. You wouldn’t know it from all the mentions of Gerstein on J Street’s website, in which he is always portrayed as an independent actor.” But why disclose such bothersome details when you’re pushing for the grand cause of peace with Hamas?
Then last week it was revealed that J Street, almost uniquely among American Jewish organizations, receives part of its funding from Arab and Muslim donors, along with at least two State Department officials with Saudi and Egyptian connections and a lawyer who once represented the Saudi embassy in Washington. The Arab and Muslim contributors include members of J Street’s own finance committee as well as Muslim student groups; the latter in particular are not known to be enthusiasts of Israel’s cause. Lenny Ben-David, a former Israeli diplomat and currently an AIPAC staffer, said it “raises questions as to their banner that they’re a pro-Israel organization. Why would people who are not known to be pro-Israel give money to this organization?”
And just this week, an exposé on American Thinker by Matthew M. Hausman highlighted the presence on J Street’s advisory council of people with anti- rather than pro-Israel credentials. They include the founder and the president of another American Jewish group, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, which collaborates with anti-Zionist groups — including the radically anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement — and “refuses to identify itself as pro-Zionist”; the board chair and the CEO of the New Israel Fund, known for funding Israeli Arab groups like Adala, Mossawa, and the Arab Human Rights Association that seek Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state; and, perhaps most egregiously, Robert Malley, who among much else is a known Hamas and Hezbollah apologist and in a recent New York Times op-ed insinuated that Israel’s dissolution as a Jewish state is the only “solution.”
It seems that J Street has become another branch of Peace Now, not only in terms of its goals, but also because of its tactics, seeing as how Peace Now:
which spends large sums of money to locate every new Israeli structure in Judea and Samaria, has effectively been on the payroll of at least three European governments, according to the Knesset Interior Committee, based on research by Israeli investigative reporter David Bedein.We need to ask just what J Street is advocating--and on whose behalf.
In 2005, for instance, European Union countries funded Peace Now to the tune of 1.75 million shekels (some $400,000), and three times that amount in 2006. The biggest donors were Great Britain and Norway, which are opposed to the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria - thus that the money they give Peace Now essentially serves those governments' foreign policy interests. Given Peace Now's surveillance activities over Israeli communities and IDF military installations in Judea and Samaria, the organization is thus "in effect spying on Israel for foreign governments," Bedein reported.
The Knesset Interior Committee confirmed in 2004 that Peace Now had received 50,000 Euros from the government of Finland to conduct intelligence activities in Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan, Gaza and Jerusalem. The Israel Penal Code for Espionage defines “photography of sensitive areas of Israel for any foreign power” as an act of espionage, punishable by ten years imprisonment.
It was reported last month that Peace Now was suspected of setting up a financial scam to mask the European sources of its funding. The Non-Profit Associations Registrar suspects that Peace Now used a non-profit organization called Sha'al, which supposedly dealt with educational matters, to receive and disburse millions of shekels over a period of many years.
Funny how those who claim to be most pure in the search for peace seem to be the ones who are most ready to sell their services.
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