The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a founding charter member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (the Conference) praises and thanks its fellow members of the Conference for clearly voting against the membership application of J-Street, an extremist group whose activities are hostile to Israel. Despite a drenching rainstorm and flood warnings, a large number of Conference members attended the April 30th meeting at which this important vote took place. Only a third of the Conference members voted for J-Street’s admission. Admission to the Conference requires a favorable vote of two-thirds of the Conference members. This was thus a ringing defeat for J-Street and its dangerous agenda.
J-Street’s bid was rejected despite the fact that J-Street launched a major campaign to gain admission to the Conference. J-Street contacted every member of the Conference (including the ZOA).
ZOA President Mort Klein noted, “The member organizations of the Conference correctly refused to give credibility to a group that works day and night against the very purposes that are at the heart of the Conference’s raison d’etre. The key stated missions of the Conference are ‘mobilizing support to halt Iran’s nuclear program,’ ‘counter[ing] the global campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people,’ ‘bolster[ing] Israel’s security’ and combating terrorism and anti-Semitism. ”
An examination of J-Street’s activities confirms why the Conference members voted correctly.
Significantly, J-Street lobbies against sanctions and against military action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. J-Street works closely with NIAC (National Iranian American Council), a notorious apparent agent of the Iranian regime. NIAC board member Genevieve Lynch is a significant J-Street donor. J-Street brings to its conferences and college campuses leading NIAC pro-Iranian regime speakers, including NIAC head and leading Iran apologist Trita Parsi, and Hillary Mann Leverett, who, during a J-Street event condemned as “fundamentally racist” anyone who did not “trust” the Iranian regime. J-Street likewise urges U.S. Congresspersons to simply “believe in Iran.”
J-Street-PAC raises million of dollars to defeat Israel’s staunchest supporters in the U.S. Congress – further damaging the Conference of Presidents’ efforts to mobilize support to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons.
J-Street’s pro-Iran regime activities are thus in direct conflict with the Conference of Presidents’ key mission of mobilizing support to halt the existential threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons.
Another key purpose of the Conference of Presidents is combating the delegitimization of Israel.
By contrast, J-Street persistently defames and delegitimizes Israel on college campuses and in its conferences. J-Street and its campus arm (J Street U) bring to college campuses and conferences leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to economically destroy Israel (BDS), the “Breaking the Silence” group that defames Israel and the IDF, including falsely accusing the IDF of committing brutal atrocities against Palestinians, and anti-Israel Muslim leaders. J-Street videos call Israel the “oppressor” and portray the Palestinians as the “oppressed,” and liken the IDF to Hamas. (See J-Street’s 2011 Conference “Giving Voices to our Values” video, reproduced at “J Street and the Jewish War Against Israel,” by Caroline Glick.)
J-Street also supports worldwide “Lawfare” and “Courtroom Intifada” against Israel (bringing legal actions against Israel and Israeli officials), by bringing speakers for these movements to J-Street conferences. J-Street conference speakers include the legal representative of virulent anti-Israel NGOs, and of a Canadian lawsuit seeking a judicial declaration that Israel is guilty of committing “war crimes” and that Israel’s security barrier is illegal.
J-Street also promoted and disseminated the Goldstone Report, which falsely accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. J-Street also introduced members of Congress to Mr. Goldstone, to further propagate these false accusations against Israel. A J-Street official ghost-wrote Goldstone’s letter criticizing a Congressional resolution that condemned the Goldstone report. J-Street took no corrective action when Goldstone recanted much of his report. Instead, J-Street continues to make false accusations regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza, further undermining and delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people.
J-Street also lobbied to have President Obama vote for an anti-Israel U.N. resolution – a clear conflict with the Conference of Presidents’ mission.
And, despite Hamas calls for murdering every Jew and Israel’s destruction, and despite the fact that the U.S. State Department recognizes that Hamas is a terrorist organization, just last week (on April 23), J-Street promoted “aggressively” pushing a framework for a Hamas-Fatah State. Promoting a Hamas-Fatah state framework surely conflicts with the Conference of Presidents’ goal of combating terrorism and anti-Semitism.
ZOA Pres. Klein further noted, “The vote against J-Street confirms that the ‘big tent philosophy’ must never be a ‘universal tent’ philosophy. Everyone agrees that there must be a red line. J-Street has clearly crossed that line by engaging in activities that defame and delegitimize Israel and are antithetical to the Conference’s purposes. J-Street placed itself outside Conference of President’s expansive ‘big tent.’”
Klein added, “This is not a matter of simple differences of opinion with J-Street. Differences of opinion are welcome at the Conference. The issue is that J-Street’s policies and actions directly conflict with the Conference’s goals, and harm Israel and the Jewish people.”
As liberal former Congressman and Chair of the Mideast Subcommittee Gary Ackerman noted when disassociating himself from J-Street, “J-Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated . . . The [J-Street] 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.”
Liberal Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz likewise explained, “J Street . . . calls itself pro-Israel and pro peace but . . . always seems to be taking positions that are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. . . . [I]t is imperative that J Street’s hypocrisy be exposed. . . . J Street invites BDS* supporters and those who oppose Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people to speak at its events . . . J Street only wants people to hear views [of] the anti-Israel hard left . . . . It categorically refuses to allow its members to hear views that are more centrist and more pro-Israel, such as my own.” (“Dershowitz Eviscerates Jeremy Ben Ami and J Street,” Haaretz, March 29, 2014).
ZOA actively campaigned against J-Street’s admission to the Conference of Presidents. ZOA called member organizations and distributed 18 bullet points as to why J-Street should not be admitted to the Conference, along with links to ZOA’s “JStreetExposed.com” website, which contains further information on J-Street’s anti-Israel activities, and quotes condemning J-Street from liberal officials who have disassociated themselves from J-Street.
The bullet points and “JStreetExposed.com” website also provide information on J-Street’s donors, including the self-described anti-Zionist George Soros, as well as Genevieve Lynch (who is a prominent board member of an apparent agent for the Iranian regime, NIAC – the National Iranian American Council) and leading Muslims. These individuals’ financial backing of J-Street further evidences J-Street’s hostile-to-Israel agenda.
ZOA also issued press releases condemning J Street’s recent statements on the Hamas-Fatah unity deal and Secretary of State John Kerry’s “apartheid state” comments.
Mr. Klein also spoke at the Conference’s meeting yesterday. (Each member organization that wished to speak was able to do so.) ZOA would also like to thank Andrew Borans, of the AEPi fraternity, who eloquently described J-Street’s harmful activities on American college campuses during the meeting.
ZOA also wishes to thank all the member organizations of the Conference who participated in the membership voting process, and to thank the Conference of Presidents for managing the entire process fairly and impartially.