ZOA Condemns Anti-Israel J Street For Urging Obama To Support U.N. Res. Condemning Jews Living In Judea/Samaria/E. J’lem As Illegal
January 31, 2011

Cong. Ackerman (D-NY) ends relations with J Street




The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned J Street, the George Soros/Arab-funded anti-Israel group that masquerades as a left-wing, pro-Israel lobby, for supporting the resolution introduced in the United Nations Security Council that condemns as illegal the “ongoing settlement activity” – i.e. Jews building homes in existing Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. J Street is urging the Obama Administration, not to veto the resolution, but to support it.


In its statement, J Street said, “The resolution introduced in the United Nations Security Council this week condemns Israel’s ongoing settlement activity and calls on both parties to continue negotiating final status issues in an effort to resolve the conflict in the short term. These are sentiments that we share … if the resolution does come to a vote, we urge the Obama administration to work to craft language, particularly around Jerusalem, that it can support condemning settlement activity and promoting a two-state solution … we cannot support a U.S. veto of a resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy” (‘New J Street Policy Statement on Settlement Expansion & UN Security Council Resolution,’ January 20, 2011).


J Street’s stance urging President Barack Obama not to veto the resolution led liberal Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) to cut ties with J Street. Cong. Ackerman said that “I’ve come to the conclusion that J-Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated … The decision to endorse the Palestinian and Arab effort to condemn Israel in the U.N. Security Council is not the choice of a concerned friend trying to help. It is rather the befuddled choice of an organization so open-minded about what constitutes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.” He also said that Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) had refused to make “unilateral gestures of good faith” and had sent the Obama Administration-led peace talks into a “dead end … But astonishingly, it is Israel that J-Street would put in the stocks in the public square” (‘Jewish Lawmaker Slams J Street for Position on Anti-Israel U.N. Resolution,’ Fox News, January 26, 2011).


J Street, which openly lied about receiving funds from anti-Israel billionaire George Soros but which in reality received $750,000 from him in the past year, has been found to be significantly funded by pro-Saudi activists, Arab-American leaders, Muslim activists and State Department anti-Israel Arabists.


Last year, J Street was found to have received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from dozens of Arab and Muslim Americans, according to the Federal Election Commission filings cited by the Jerusalem Post, as well as money from individuals connected to Palestinian and pro-Iranian advocacy groups.


These include:


·         Genevieve Lynch, a board member of the National Iranian American Council, which has worked closely with J Street to block sanctions against Iran being debated in Congress;


·         Nancy Dutton, widow of Fred Dutton, who served as a Saudi foreign agent in Washington for 30 years. (During the 1982 AWACS debate he was believed to be responsible for the line, “Reagan or Begin?” which strongly suggested American Jews’ double loyalty.)


·         Ray Close, former CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia for 22 years and father of Kenneth Close, who is registered at the Justice Department as a foreign agent, working for Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, the author of the Saudi ‘Arab Peace Initiative.’

·         Mehmet Celebi, a former fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign before being fired from it after it emerged that he was involved in the production of a virulently anti-American and anti-Semitic film in Turkey called “Valley of the Wolves.”


·         M. Cherif Bassiouni, a DePaul University law professor who once wrote in the Harvard International Law Journal that “A large segment of the world population asks why Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people, which includes the commission of ‘grave breaches’ of the Geneva Convention and what the customary law of armed conflict considers ‘war crimes,’ is deemed justified, while Palestinians’ unlawful acts of targeting civilians are condemned? These are only some contemporary examples of the double standard that fuels terrorism.”


J Street has consistently taken positions to the left of the left-wing Israeli Labor Party. While Israeli leftists have clearly urged support for strong sanctions against Iran if it does not halt its drive to acquire nuclear weapons, J Street opposed them for most of the last few years and only latterly said it supported some sanctions. Leading Israeli leftists, including Yossi Beilin, an architect of the Oslo process and a former leader of the far-left Meretz Party, have all publicly called for strong Western sanctions against Iran. Beilin has told audiences that the late Yitzhak Rabin launched Oslo principally because of his fears of Iran, telling a German audience last year that he “advocates increased sanctions towards Iran in order to stop centrifugal uranium programs.” Israeli Labor leader and current Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, has made Iran’s isolation the centerpiece of his exchanges with his counterparts in the West. Avshalom Vilan, a Meretz Knesset Member until March, was a forceful advocate of reaching out to countries most able to wound Iran’s economy, including Germany and India.


In contrast, in a policy statement, J Street said in 2009 that it did not oppose further sanctions “in principle,” but “under the current circumstances, it is our view that ever harsher sanctions at this time are unlikely to cause the Iranian regime to cease weapons development … [Engagement should] not be conducted with a stopwatch” (Ron Kampeas, ‘On Iran Timetable, U.S. Jewish and Israeli Left Are Divided,’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 7, 2009).


J Street has also criticized Israel on numerous occasions when the country was under one-sided pressure to concede or desist in its policies. During the December 2008- January 2009 Israeli military incursion into Hamas-controlled Gaza, J Street refused to support Israel’s operation, which received bipartisan support in the Knesset, and called instead  for an early ceasefire. Yet, according to a Migdam poll, the Israeli military campaign against Hamas in Gaza was supported by an overwhelming 60% of Israelis, as against only 23% who opposed it. J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami is on record (in a 2009 Q&A in the left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz) supporting negotiating with Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that controls Gaza and which has murdered hundreds of Israelis through suicide bombing and other terrorist attacks and which calls in its Charter for the worldwide murder of Jews. No mainstream left-wing Israeli party endorses this position.


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “J Street has not only endorsed the essentially racist, discriminatory position that Jews and only Jews, because they are Jews, should be barred from living in or moving to Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, the religious, historical and legal heartland of the Jewish people. It also opposes the U.S. vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for not instituting such a policy. In short, it wants such a resolution to pass. This is a disgrace and Cong. Ackerman was right to dissociate himself from this tainted, malign group.


“We should take note: U.N. Security Council resolutions are regarded as binding international law. J Street wants Israel to be condemned and its future actions enabling and sustaining the lives of Jews in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem to be labeled criminal. Here we see the essential extremism and hostility to Israel of J Street – it is not content to disagree with Jews who live in these territories or the policies of the Israeli government – it wants to criminalize these people and the Israeli government.


“Moreover, such a resolution would be a distortion of international law. In 1948, Jordan invaded Israel and illegally occupied and annexed the territories in question. The United Nations refused to recognize Jordan’s annexation and sovereignty over these lands. These territories are simply unallocated land under international law. Additionally, as Israel captured these lands in a defensive war in 1967 which Jordan initiated, it is clear that Israel is not illegally occupying someone else’s sovereign territory.


“J Street has proved itself again to beyond the pale of a wide spectrum of pro-Israel opinion and should be shunned by the American Jewish community and all supporters of Israel, irrespective of political opinion. The ZOA calls upon all Members of Congress who have relations with J Street to follow Cong. Ackerman’s lead and end those relations.”


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