ZOA: J Street’s Ben-Ami Pushes Dangerous ‘67 Borders, Praises Arafat as Peacemaker at Westchester Reform Temple
News Press Release
December 21, 2015

On December 16, 2015, Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and president of the anti-Israel, pro-Iranian-regime, pro-Palestinian-Arab, Soros-funded group J Street, gave an Orwellian, falsehood-filled speech at Westchester Reform Temple (“WRT”) in Scarsdale, NY, which included the following:  

Ben-Ami Urged Pressuring Israel to Retreat to the Indefensible Green Line “Auschwitz Borders”:  Under the guise of “helping Israel” and “Jewish values,” Ben-Ami urged the audience to push U.S. officials to pressure Israel to retreat to the indefensible “green line” (which Abba Eban called “Auschwitz borders”) and to establish a “Palestinian state” – which will surely be a terrorist state – with much of Jerusalem (Judaism’s holiest city) transformed into the “Palestinian” state’s capital.  

A retreat to the “green line” would: result in an indefensible Israel that is only nine miles wide at its center (a ten minute drive); place the Jewish people’s holiest sites (including the Western Wall) in the hands of “Palestinian” Arabs whose leaders – including PA president Mahmoud Abbas – publicly state that no Jew will ever step foot in their state; uproot 600,000 Jews from their homes, jobs, synagogues and communities; give the Arabs the strategic high ground overlooking central Israel’s plains; and subject  Israel and its airport to constant deadly rocket attacks and other terrorist attacks, making life unlivable for the entire Jewish nation. 

Palestinian Arab terrorist murders of innocent Israelis dramatically increased immediately after the Oslo accord brought Yasser Arafat into Judea/Samaria. 

Ben-Ami also claimed that he can’t tell Israel what to do, but then contradicted himself and outlined a series of steps for American Jews and the White House to join with the European Union and Arab nations to exert pressure on Israel to “choose” J Street’s catastrophic “solution.”   Ben-Ami said that J Street criticizes the White House for not doing enough to “help” Israel reach J Street’s “solution.”  Ben-Ami also admitted that J Street serves as a “blocking back” to help President Obama pressure Israel.

Ben-Ami Portrayed Lifelong Terrorist Yasser Arafat as a Reformed Man of Peace:  A  woman stood up at WRT and asked:  “Why is J Street bringing Jewish students to Ramallah to pay homage to Yasser Arafat’s grave?”

Ben-Ami responded that J Street brings students to Yasser Arafat’s grave to teach the students that a former Palestinian terrorist renounced and abandoned violence in 1993, and became a man of peace who even won the Nobel prize because he successfully made a peaceful transformation! 

In fact, Arafat – the bloodthirsty terrorist responsible for murdering 22 Jewish school children at Ma’alot in 1974 – remained intent on murdering Jews and destroying Israel throughout his entire life.  On the very same day (Sept. 13, 1993) that Arafat shook Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn to commemorate the Oslo accord in which Arafat was supposedly making peace with Israel, Arafat broadcasted a pre-taped interview (in Arabic) in Israel on Jordanian television announcing that the Oslo accord was merely a stage in the Arab plan to destroy Israel.

Palestinian Arab terrorist murders of innocent Israelis dramatically increased immediately after the Oslo accord brought Yasser Arafat into Judea/Samaria.  And from 2000 through 2005, Arafat instigated and directed the Second Intifada – also called “Arafat’s War” – in which Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered almost 2,000 innocent Israeli Jews (and American Jews) and injured over 10,000 innocent Jews.  After a lengthy trial, a U.S. federal court (the Southern District of New York) recently found that Arafat’s PLO and Palestinian Authority were responsible for the murders of American Jews in Israel during the 2000-2005 period.

J Street’s New Map Shows All Land Beyond ’67 Border Incl. Eastern Jerusalem as Arab Land:  Ben-Ami also showed a short video promoting J Street’s new project to persuade synagogues and others to redraw maps of Israel to exclude from Israel all areas beyond the “green line.”   The map on J Street’s video also relabeled eastern Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria as the “Occupied West Bank.”  Line drawings of people wearing “Palestinian” flag colors were placed throughout that area. 

Alarmingly, WRT’s Rabbi Jonathan Blake stated that WRT has adopted the J Street’s map.  WRT’s religious school children will now be taught from J Street’s distorted maps!  

The “green line” is the 1949 Armistice lines.  These lines are not and have never been an internationally recognized border.   The 1949 Armistice lines are merely the point where the fighting stopped after six Arab nations invaded Israel, and Jordan illegally seized eastern Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria and destroyed 58 synagogues and expelled the Jewish population.  Jordan’s illegal seizure violated Israel’s international legal rights to all of Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria – recognized in the internationally binding San Remo documents stemming from the 1920 San Remo conference.  These documents have never been superceded, because the Arabs rejected UN Resolution 181.   Israel also has the strongest historical, legal, political and religious rights to these areas: Jews were the majority in Jerusalem from the first census in the 1800s – and are the only people who ever had their capital in Jerusalem.

We hope that WRT officials will rethink their decision to teach WRT’s Jewish children from J Street’s inaccurate, dangerous propaganda maps that deny the Jewish people’s rights.    No synagogue should use a map that implies that areas to which Israel has the strongest claim belong to the Arabs – particularly when the Arabs refuse to even negotiate any “resolution.” 

Ben-Ami Lied About J Street’s Support for a Palestinian “Right of Return” and Non-Recognition of the Jewish State:  Ben-Ami also lied that its “solution” involves mutual recognition and no “right of return” (for “millions” of descendants of “Palestinian refugees” to “return” to Israel within the green line- in fact only 30,000 refugees are still alive from 1948).

J Street, in fact, promotes a Palestinian “right of return” at its conferences.  J Street’s 2013 national conference applauded a Fatah speaker’s call for a Palestinian “right of return.”   J Street’s official policy is that a “Palestinian right of return” needs to be negotiated, and only says that J Street “would support” a majority settling outside the green line.  Thus, even J Street’s “official” policy (which is misleadingly less awful than what J Street actually promotes) involves many supposed descendants of “Palestinian refugees” settling within the green line. 

J Street also does not support recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.  In fact, J Street vehemently publicly opposed Netanyahu’s call for the PA to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.  Later in his WRT talk, Ben-Ami stated: “We cannot wait for the Palestinians to get around to recognizing the Jewish People.”

Ben-Ami Falsely Portrayed Jewish “Settlements” As The Main Obstacle to Peace When The Real Obstacle is That Arabs Don’t Accept Israel Within Any Border, and Instead Incite and Engage in Terrorism:  Ben-Ami’s inaccurate claim that “settlements” are at fault is belied by the facts that Arab terrorists repeatedly attacked Jews long before there were any “settlements,” and that when PM Netanyahu froze all construction for 10 months, Abbas still refused to negotiate. Also, Jews live in only 2% of the territories and have not built a single legal new community there since 1993.

The real obstacle to peace is the Palestinian Arabs and their leaders’ violence, incitement and refusal to accept Israel within any borders.   “Palestinian” Arabs repeatedly refused incredibly generous offers of statehood in 1937, 1947, 2000, and 2008.  

Anti-Israel Soros Keeps Funding J Street:  Ben Ami publicly admitted during his WRT speech that George Soros “remains a significant funder of J Street to this day.”  He had previously brazenly lied that that the famed anti-Zionist Soros had initiated his group with a gift of almost one million dollars.

Ben-Ami Lied About the Iran Deal, and Avoided Addressing Iran’s Violations:  When asked about Iran’s serious recent violations of the Iran deal, Ben-Ami avoided answering the question, and again defended the deal, citing phony polls and false, debunked claims that former Israeli security personnel were divided about the deal.   In fact, the Israeli right and left, both Likud and Labor, the Israeli security establishment, Americans, and American Jews were all overwhelmingly opposed to the catastrophic Iran deal. Polld showed Israelis opposed the deal by 9-1, American Jews by 2-1.

Ben-Ami Denied That PA Leaders’ Incitement Is Causing Palestinian Arab Terrorism, and Instead Falsely Blamed Israel: Ben-Ami denied that the PA was to blame for inciting terrorism, and instead blamed Israel, saying: “They [Arabs] are taught from life from Israeli actions; they grow up with lack of rights, lack of freedom and occupation.  I don’t think it’s from the textbooks.” 

There is no “oppression” by Israel:  Israeli Arabs are full citizens of Israel and are Supreme Court Justices, doctors, lawyers, teachers and members of Knesset.   They vote and have equal rights.  Almost all Arabs in Judea/Samaria live under  Palestinian Authority rule – where they have their own newspapers, schools and parliament – and are only subject to some Israeli security arrangements to prevent terror.

Incitement is, in fact, to blame.  The PA pays terrorists and their families large monthly pensions for murdering innocent Israelis.  PA leaders incessantly incite violence against Jews and glorify terrorists in schools, textbooks, PA official television, newspapers, cartoons, PA-controlled mosques, speeches, etc.   The PA frequently broadcasts TV specials, and names children’s camps, schools, and sports teams and public squares after Jew-killing terrorists.

PA Pres. Abbas incited the recent wave of anti-Israel terror with lies that Israel was changing the status of al Aqsa mosque and even coming to destroy it.   On PA television on September 16, 2015, Abbas effusively praised and blessed “martyrs” who shed blood carrying out the war to defend Jerusalem and al Aqsa from being “defiled” by Jews’ “filthy feet.”

PA official newspapers have been publishing cartoons inciting knife attacks on Israelis, and mocking Israelis who run from Arab knives.  As a result, since mid-September 2015, Palestinian Arab terrorists have murdered 22 innocent Jews and wounded 252 innocent Israelis in 91 stabbing attacks, 34 shootings and 17 car-ramming attacks.

Ben-Ami Lied About J Street’s Support for BDS:  Ben-Ami falsely claimed that J Street “unequivocally” opposes BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel).  In fact, J Street opposes and lobbies against anti-BDS legislation. 

Ben-Ami admitted that J Street brings pro-BDS speakers to college campuses and conferences – but then falsely claimed that J Street only does so to “argue against them.”  In fact, J Street honors and gives platforms to the heads of the BDS movement- with no argument against them. 

Ben-Ami also revealed that J Street’s supposed argument “against” BDS consists of agreeing with and reinforcing BDS’s ideology and aims!  Ben-Ami stated: “The best argument against BDS is to say that we agree with the right of Palestinians to get out from under the occupation.”  

Many in the Audience were Outraged: Many WRT audience members said afterwards that they were upset and outraged by Ben-Ami’s speech.  One woman said that she was so upset that she was shaking.

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