J Street

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J Street
J Street Logo
Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami
Type 501(c)(4) charitable organization
Focus Arab–Israeli conflict
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Location
Area served  Israel /  USA
Method Lobbying
Key people Jeremy Ben-Ami (Executive director)
Franklin Fisher (Advisor)
Daniel Levy (Advisor)
Debra DeLee (Advisor)
Marcia Freedman (Advisor)
Shlomo Ben-Ami (Advisor)
Samuel W. Lewis (Advisor)
Lincoln Chafee (Advisor)
Website www.jstreet.org

J Street is a nonprofit liberal[1][2][3] advocacy group based in the United States whose stated aim is to promote American leadership to end the Arab–Israeli and Israel–Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. It was founded in April 2008.

J Street states that it "supports a new direction for American policy in the Middle East – diplomatic solutions over military ones", "multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution"; and "dialogue over confrontation" with wider international support. According to J Street, its political action committee is "the first and only federal Political Action Committee whose goal is to demonstrate that there is meaningful political and financial support to candidates for federal office from large numbers of Americans who believe a new direction in American policy will advance U.S. interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel and the region".[4]

J Street describes itself as a pro-Israel organization which supports peace between Israel and its neighbors.

Etymology[edit]

J Street, as an American lobby organization aimed at Washington leaders and policymakers, derived its name from the alphabetically named street plan of Washington, D.C.: J Street is missing from the grid (the street naming jumps from I Street to K Street for historical/orthographic reasons).[5] Also, by association, the letter J is a reference to "Jewish". Further, K Street is a street in downtown Washington on which many influential lobbying firms are located, and which become synonymous for Washington's formidable lobbying establishment. Consequently, the choice of the name reflects the desire of J Street's founders and donors to bring a message to Washington that, metaphorically like the missing "J Street" of the D.C. grid, has thus far been absent.[6] It may also[citation needed] suggest being slightly different from the more "mainstream" lobbying entities.

Political vision[edit]

According to the J Street website, the organization seeks to provide a political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who believe that a "two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential to Israel's survival as the national home of the Jewish people and as a vibrant democracy". J Street has a two-fold mission: first, to advocate for urgent American diplomatic leadership to achieve a two-state solution and a broader regional, comprehensive peace and, second, to ensure a broad debate on Israel and the Middle East in national politics and the American Jewish community.[4] In 2011, J-Street opposed recognizing Palestine as an independent state at the United Nations.[7]

According to its website, J Street "recognizes and supports Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people"[8] and Israel's "desire for security as the Jewish homeland, as well as the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own".[4] According to its executive director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street is neither pro- nor anti- any individual organization or other pro-Israel umbrella groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He says J Street is proud of AIPAC's many accomplishments and clarified that the two groups have different priorities rather than different views.[1][6][9]

Explaining the need for a new advocacy and lobbying group, Ben-Ami stated: "J Street has been started, however, because there has not been sufficient vocal and political advocacy on behalf of the view that Israel's interests will be best served when the United States makes it a major foreign policy priority to help Israel achieve a real and lasting peace not only with the Palestinians but with all its neighbors."[10]

Alan Solomont, one of the founders of J Street and a former national finance chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and currently a Democratic Party fundraiser, described the need for J Street in the following way: "We have heard the voices of neocons, and right-of-center Jewish leaders and Christian evangelicals, and the mainstream views of the American Jewish community have not been heard."[1] During its first conference, Ben-Ami said, "The party and the viewpoint that we're closest to in Israeli politics is actually Kadima." Kadima MK Meir Sheetrit, who attended the conference, said, "They are more left than Kadima, but on this main issue, which is peace, I think we agree."[11]

J Street's official policy positions as of August 2009 are:

  • On Iran: J Street believes Iran cannot be allowed to achieve nuclear weapons and supports a "comprehensive and multilateral approach, rooted in active diplomatic engagement with Iran and the international community. It supports the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009. J Street is strongly opposed to any consideration at this time of the use of military force by Israel or the United States to attack Iran.
  • On the Israeli–Palestinian conflict: "J Street believes that reaching a sustainable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is both a fundamental American interest and essential to the survival and security of Israel as a democracy and home for the Jewish people."[12]
  • On Jerusalem: "Jerusalem's ultimate status and borders should be negotiated and resolved as part of an agreement between official Israeli and Palestinian authorities and endorsed by both peoples." "J Street would support [...] a two-state solution under which the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem would fall under Israeli sovereignty and the Arab neighborhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty." "J Street does believe that Israel's capital is in Jerusalem and will be internationally recognized as such in the context of an agreed two-state solution."[13]
  • On Israeli settlements: "Israel's settlements in the occupied territories have, for over forty years, been an obstacle to peace. They have drained Israel's economy, military, and democracy and eroded the country's ability to uphold the rule of law."[14]
  • On the Arab World: "J Street believes that the US should actively promote and facilitate reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world, as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations and relevant security guarantees – in the context of a comprehensive peace agreement." J Street references the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as a possible framework for a comprehensive Arab-Israel peace.[15]

In May 2012, a J Street delegation visited with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, headed by Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami.[16]

Structure[edit]

J Street PAC logo

J Street and J Street PAC, founded in April 2008, exist as separate legal entities with different political functions. The J Street Education Fund joined the J Street family of organizations in 2009:

  • J Street – a nonprofit advocacy group registered as a 501(c)(4) social welfare group. J Street aims to encourage and "support strong American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts peacefully and diplomatically".[4]
  • The J Street PAC – a political action committee capable of making direct political campaign donations. Thus, the J Street PAC will provide political and financial support to candidates who are seeking election or reelection and agree with J Street's goals.[17]
  • The J Street Education Fund, Inc. – a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It aims to educate targeted communities about the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, raise the visibility of a mainstream pro-Israel, pro-peace presence within the American Jewish community, and promote open, dynamic and spirited conversation about how to best advance the interests and future of a democratic, Jewish Israel. J Street Local, J Street's national field program and J Street U (formerly UPZ), J Street's on campus movement are programs of the J Street Education Fund.
  • J Street U - the student organizing arm of J Street, organizing chapters on university and college campuses.[18]

Management[edit]

J Street's founding Executive Director is Jeremy Ben-Ami, a former domestic policy adviser in the Clinton Administration.[1] Ben-Ami's grandparents were among the founders of Tel Aviv, his parents were Israelis, his family suffered in the Holocaust, and he has lived in Israel, where he was almost killed in a Jerusalem terror attack.[10] Ben-Ami has worked for many years with Jewish peace groups, including the Center for Middle East Peace and the Geneva Accord.[6][19]

The initial support of J Street came from multi-billionaire George Soros, who for a brief time was associated with the organization. Soros pulled out before the initial launch, so as not to negatively affect the group.[20] In September 2010 it was revealed that despite the organization's denials, Soros secretly funded the group.[21]

Advisory Council[edit]

J Street's advisory council consists of former public officials, policy experts, community leaders and academics, including Daniel Levy, a former high-ranking Israeli official who was the lead drafter of the groundbreaking Geneva Initiative, Franklin Fisher and Debra DeLee of Americans for Peace Now, Marcia Freedman of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, Democratic Middle East foreign policy expert Robert Malley, former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Samuel W. Lewis and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.[19][22]

The Obama Administration nominated Hannah Rosenthal, a member of the advisory council of both J Street and J Street PAC, to be the head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.[23]

Rabbinic Cabinet[edit]

J Street's rabbinic cabinet consists of North American rabbis, cantors and cantorial students. The group is co-chaired by Rabbis John Rosove (Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood) and John Friedman (rabbi of Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, North Carolina).[24]

Activities[edit]

J Street is active in two realms:

Political fund raising[edit]

The J Street PAC acts as a traditional political action committee raising funds to support a limited number of candidates for Senate and Congressional races.

For the 2008 Congressional elections, the J Street PAC raised $600,000 and, according to J Street, 33 of the 41 candidates it backed won their seats.[25]

In 2010, JStreetPAC endorsed 61 candidates — 3 for the Senate and 58 for the House. 45 of the PAC's candidates won. The JStreetPAC distributed over $1.5 million to its candidates, more than any other pro-Israel PAC in the two-year cycle.[citation needed]

According to Federal Election Commission filings, dozens of Arab and Muslim Americans and Iranian advocacy organizations donated tens of thousands of dollars to J Street, representing "a small fraction" of the group's fund-raising. Donors included Lebanese-American businessman Richard Abdoo, who is a board member of Amideast and a former board member of the Arab American Institute, and Genevieve Lynch, who is also a member of the National Iranian American Council board.[26]

Capitol Hill lobbying[edit]

J Street lobbies for and against Israel-related bills and legislation.

J Street's first-year budget for fiscal 2009 is $1.5 million.[19] This is a modest figure for a PAC, though Gary Kamiya writes that J Street hopes to raise significant money online, following the blueprint of MoveOn and the Barack Obama presidential campaign.[10]

Other projects[edit]

Recently, J Street started a special website and project, They Don't Speak For Us. It criticizes the Emergency Committee for Israel, a right-wing advocacy group that William Kristol and Gary Bauer, inspired by J Street, created.[27][28] "They Don't Speak For Us" describes the ECI as "just plain out of touch" and "far outside the mainstream" of the pro-Israel Jewish community.[29]

In November 2012, J Street lobbied the U.S. Senate against a group of bills that would have penalized the Palestinian National Authority if it used its recently elevated status of "observer" at the United Nations to bring international charges against Israel. J Street supporters made 1000 telephone calls and sent 15,000 e-mail messages against the bills, which failed to pass.[30]

Relationship with Israel[edit]

On October 22, 2009, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni sent a letter congratulating J Street on its inaugural event. She said she would not be able to attend but that Kadima would be "well-represented" by Meir Sheetrit, Shlomo Molla, and Haim Ramon.[31]

The Israeli Embassy stated that Ambassador Michael Oren would not attend J Street's first national conference because J Street supports positions that may "impair" Israel's interest.[32][33] Oren has continued his criticism since the conference, telling Conservative rabbis meeting in Philadelphia that J Street "is a unique problem in that it not only opposes one policy of one Israeli government, it opposes all policies of all Israeli governments. It's significantly out of the mainstream."[34] In April 2010, Oren had a meeting with J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami to discuss the issues.[35]

Hannah Rosenthal, head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism in the Obama Administration, criticized Oren, saying his comments were "most unfortunate".[36] After several American Jewish groups criticized Rosenthal, the U.S. State Department said that "Rosenthal has the complete support of the department."[37]

In February 2010 the Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to meet with visiting U.S. congressmembers being escorted by J Street on a visit to Israel unless members of Congress attended the meeting without their J Street escorts.[38] Addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon said "The thing that troubles me is that they don't present themselves as to what they really are. They should not call themselves pro-Israeli."[39]

In Haaretz, columnist Bradley Burston wrote that the Foreign Ministry's refusal to meet with the U.S. congressmembers was "a gratuitous move breathtaking in its haughtiness, its ignorance of and disrespect for the United States and the American Jewish community". He said that the Foreign Ministry considered J Street "guilty of the crime of explicitly calling itself pro-Israel, while not agreeing wholeheartedly with everything the government of Israel says and does".[40]

Haviv Rettig Gur, writing in The Jerusalem Post, said that "J Street won a small victory" in the incident. "If American legislators with pro-Israel records say J Street is kosher," Gur wrote, "that creates a new political reality with which the Israeli Right must contend."[41]

The Foreign Ministry said J Street's assertions that Ayalon refused to meet with members of the U.S. Congress and that he later apologized were untrue, and that they were a fund-raising publicity stunt and a "premeditated public relations circus". Barukh Binah, Foreign Ministry deputy director-general and head of its North America Division said that Ayalon did not prevent any meetings between the J Street group and Israeli high officials and that Ayalon was never on the delegation's schedule. J Street said its information was based on news reports in Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv.[42]

Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's repeated refusal to meet with representatives of J Street as a "farce" and added: "He should argue with J Street, yell at J Street, grapple with J Street, but most of all meet with J Street. Those Israelis, and those American Jews, who believe that J Street, and the spirit it represents, are fleeting phenemona have absolutely no idea what is happening in the Jewish world.[43]

In May 2013, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli government appears to be building closer ties to J Street, with a group of J Street representatives scheduled to meet, for the first time, members of the government, including President Shimon Peres.[44]

Funding[edit]

Confidential IRS documents obtained by The Washington Times in 2010 showed that George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family, together with donations from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[21] In previous statements and on its web site J Street had seemed to deny receiving support from foreign interests and from Soros, a bête noire to conservatives.[45][46] Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for earlier "misleading" statements regarding funding from Soros. Ben-Ami also clarified that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law and challenged critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[47] Rabbi Steve Gutow, a president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, called J Street "irresponsible" for its handling of the issue.[45]

According to media reports, among the donors of J Street are Genevieve Lynch, who is also a member of the National Iranian American Council board, Richard Abdoo, a current board member of Amideast and a former board member of the Arab American Institute, Farhan Bhatti, PR director for the Islamic Center in Michigan, and Mehmet Celebi, the former president of the Turkish American Cultural Association.[48]

Reception[edit]

Israeli-American writer and analyst Gershom Gorenberg wrote in the American Prospect that J Street "might change not only the political map in Washington but the actual map in the Middle East".[49] Noah Pollak at Commentary predicted that the effort would fall flat and show there are no "great battalions of American Jewish doves languishing in voicelessness".[50]

Ken Wald, a political scientist at University of Florida, predicted the group would be attacked by the "Jewish right". According to BBC News, Wald warned that J Street "will get hammered and accused of being anti-Israel. A lot will have to do with the way they actually frame their arguments."[6][19]

James Kirchick, writing in the The New Republic, called J Street's labeling of AIPAC as "right wing" "ridiculous"; Kirchik says that AIPAC's former president told him that AIPAC was the first American Jewish organization to support Oslo and supports a two-state solution. Kirchick further asserts that some of J Street's positions, such as advocating negotiations with Hamas, are not popular with most American Jews[51] According to a March 2008 Haaretz-Dialog poll the majority of Israelis do support direct talks with Hamas,[52] although this referred solely to the issue of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.[53] Jeremy Ben-Ami responded to Kirchick's charges during a May 26, 2008, interview published in Haaretz Magazine.[9] Kirchik also has reacted against J Streets endorsement of the play Seven Jewish Children, which many critics consider antisemitic.[54][55][56][57][58] "To J Street, the inflammatory message of Seven Jewish Children is precisely what makes it worthy of production," he charges.[54]

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, called J Street's reaction[59] to the Israeli invasion of Gaza "morally deficient, profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment and also appallingly naïve".[60] J Street responded stating, "It is hard for us to understand how the leading reform rabbi in North America could call our effort to articulate a nuanced view on these difficult issues 'morally deficient'. If our views are 'naive' and 'morally deficient', then so are the views of scores of Israeli journalists, security analysts, distinguished authors, and retired IDF officers who have posed the same questions about the Gaza attack as we have."[61] Despite this rebuttal, J Street subsequently invited Yoffie to its 2009 convention, and he subsequently praised the organisation's stance on the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, which was closer to that of other American Jewish organisations.[62]

In April 2009, The Washington Post called J Street "Washington's leading pro-Israel PAC", citing the group's impressive fund raising efforts in its first year and its record of electoral success, including 33 victories by J Street-supported candidates for Congress.[2]

According to Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, J Street is anything but pro-Israel: "Through their actions, J Street and its allies have made clear that their institutional interests are served by weakening Israel. Their mission is to harm Israel's standing in Washington and weaken the influence of the mainstream American Jewish community that supports Israel."[63]

In August 2009, J Street released its fund raising figures for its PAC division. It showed that "at most 3 percent of the organization's thousands of contributors" were Arab and Muslim donors.[26] Lenny Ben-David, a former Israeli diplomat and current lobbyist for AIPAC, criticized J Street for accepting such donations: "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?"[26] J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said that such supporters show the broad appeal of J Street's message and its commitment to coexistence: "I think it is a terrific thing for Israel for us to be able to expand the tent of people who are willing to be considered pro-Israel and willing to support Israel through J Street. One of the ways that we're trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel is that you actually don't need to be anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian to be pro-Israel."[26]

Shmuel Rosner has questioned whether J Street actually represents U.S. Jewry.[64] Noah Pollak has questioned the veracity of their polling.[65] Barry Rubin has suggested that J Street is an anti-Israel front for Iranian interests, masquerading as a Zionist organization.[66]

In July 2010 J Street supported the construction of the Cordoba House cultural center and mosque near the World Trade Center site in New York.[67] President Jeremy Ben-Ami released a statement saying:

The principle at stake ... goes to the heart of American democracy, and the value we place on freedom of religion. Should one religious group in this country be treated differently than another? We believe the answer is no.... proposing a church or a synagogue for that site would raise no questions. The Muslim community has an equal right to build a community center wherever it is legal to do so.

[68]

Responding to charges made by Ben-Ami in his book, A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation, that he and others have stifled critical debate within the Jewish community, political commentator Alan Dershowitz said, "It is a fraud in advertising to call J Street pro-Israel." In addition, Dershowitz said that "J Street has done more damage to Israel than any [other] American organization." In response to Dershowitz's comments, J Street's director of government affairs, Dylan Jacob Williams, stated that "Alan Dershowitz's comments provide ample evidence of the self-censorship of the American Jewish community from within concerning the real dangers facing Israel."[69]

Dershowitz, in June 2012, said that J Street is "completely undercutting the Obama policy" with regards to the US position on a military option against the Iranian nuclear program, since J Street has said that it opposes a military option, while both the US and Israel have said it "must be kept on the table". In addition, he said that, "absolutely no good has come from J Street's soft policy on Iran. Either J Street must change its policy, or truth in advertising requires that it no longer proclaim itself a friend of Israel, a friend of peace, a friend of truth, or a friend of the Obama administration."[70]

In an April 2012 interview, Norman Finkelstein described J Street as the "loyal opposition" to the Israel lobby. He said the group was politically aligned with Kadima, a political party in the Knesset that opposed Israel's governing coalition. Finkelstein also said J Street's leadership was "hopeless".[71]

Chuck Freilich, former deputy national security adviser in Israel, writing in The Jerusalem Post in February 2013, said, "J Street leads only to a dead end," since "only Israelis bear the responsibility for determining their future."[72]

Some[who?] Israelis, including several[who?] public figures, have said that J-Street is anti-Israel, particularly in relation to key challenges facing the Jewish state.[73][74] Several[who?] US Jewish leaders have expressed reservations about J Street's position on Israel, and some[who?] have publicly disassociated themselves from the organization.[75]

Controversy[edit]

On September 30, 2010, The Washington Times reported that J Street facilitated meetings between South African judge Richard Goldstone and members of Congress in November 2009, causing Jeremy Ben-Ami to tell The Jerusalem Post on October 1, 2010, that his staff had made "two or three" such phone calls to U.S. politicians and relayed their response onward, but that after those initial inquiries were made, his organization decided not to become involved because of Israel's attitude toward Goldstone, saying "J Street did not host, arrange or facilitate Judge Richard Goldstone's visit."[76] It was reported that Colette Avital, former member of the Knesset from the center-left Labor Party and a J Street's liaison in Israel said that one of the reasons she resigned from J Street was its connection with Goldstone.[77] However, this was later refuted by Avital herself.[78]

On December 30, 2010, The Washington Times reported that J Street "paid tens of thousands of dollars to a consulting firm co-owned by its founder and president, Jeremy Ben-Ami". "Even if it's technically legal, it gets very messy when you have these sorts of deals going on because, if you're going to benefit on the other end of it, be it 100 percent or 5 percent, it raises questions about objectivity and the arms' length in the transaction," said Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator. "Mr. Ben-Ami declined repeated interview requests, but provided a statement through a spokesman: "I founded Ben-Or together with Oriella Ben-Zvi in 1998. When I left in 2000, I relinquished all rights to ongoing compensation from Ben-Or in any form. I have received no payments from the company in the past 11 years and have had no role in the management or operation of the firm."[79]

In January, 2011, liberal Jewish congressman Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y, cut ties with J Street over J Street's recommendation to the Obama administration not to veto a proposed U.N. resolution condemning Israel, saying "I've come to the conclusion that J-Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated." He also said, "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. America really does need a smart, credible, politically active organization that is as aggressively pro-peace as it is pro-Israel. Unfortunately, J-Street ain't it."[80] In a press release, J. Street noted that it had not endorsed the resolution, was advocating policies that would keep the resolution from coming to a vote, and if that failed was urging the US to change the resolution language to be in line with US policy.[81]

At the J Street February 2011 conference's opening speech, Rabbi David Saperstein, director and chief legal counsel at the Union for Reform Judaism's Religious Action Center for more than 30 years, said that he is "among J Street's most fervent fans", though he shared his concerns regarding J Street's recent recommendation to the Obama administration not to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel. Saperstein added, "If you alienate your mainstream support you risk losing everything."[82][83]

A Jerusalem Post editorial expressed concern regarding the individuals invited to speak to the February 2011 conference. They included Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, whom the newspaper described as an "adamant proponent" of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel; Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, described as a BDS advocate who took part in the Free Gaza Flotilla; and Michael Sfard, an attorney who, according to the newspaper, "advocates international 'lawfare' against Israel".[82] Israeli Members of Knesset were among those who voiced concern. "I have my own criticism of the current government, but there have to be limits, and this organization is doing tremendous damage to Israel," said Kadima MK Ze'ev Bielski, a former Jewish Agency chairman.[84] At the same time, other MK attended and spoke at the conference, including Daniel Ben-Simon, Yoel Hasson, Amir Peretz, Nachman Shai, and Orit Zuaretz.[85]

In March 2011, MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said to Ben-Ami during a Knesset committee meeting: "You are not Zionists and you do not care about Israeli interests. Fifty rockets a day are fired on the South and you fight against the American veto against condemnations of Israel. You are not Zionists and you do not care about Israel. Only here in Israel do we determine Israeli democracy, and you cannot determine what Israel's interests are." Ben Ami responded by saying, "An absolute parameter has to be the recognition of the fundamental right of the Jewish people to their own state. There are plenty of people, even within the American Jewish community, who are anti-Zionist and who do not recognize that right. Second, they must recognize Israel's right to defend itself against threats – Israel must be strong, because it lives in a hard neighborhood, as we've even seen this morning."[86]

In November 2011 J Street board member Kathleen Peratis visited with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The meeting was controversial in the pro-Israel community. J Street opposed it ahead of time and condemned it afterward.[87][88][89][90]

In July 2012, J Street launched an ad campaign against two U.S. Representatives and Tea-Party activists who opposed the creation of a Palestinian State, Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Allen West (R-FL). In response, West said that "J Street's efforts to attack me only embolden my stand for our greatest ally and my spiritual home, the State of Israel." Walsh's chief of staff commented that "If J Street is attacking you, you know you're doing something right."[91] Both representatives were defeated in the general election.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b Eggen, Dan (April 17, 2009). "Year-Old Liberal Jewish Lobby Has Quickly Made Its Mark". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ Stockton, Farah (February 27, 2010). "Delahunt's journey to Mideast upended". Boston.com. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "About J Street". J Street. Retrieved April 29, 2008. 
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  13. ^ "Jerusalem". J Street. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  14. ^ "Settlements". J Street. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  15. ^ "Regional Comprehensive Approach". J Street. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  16. ^ J Street delegation visits Abbas in Ramallah
  17. ^ "About the J Street PAC". J Street Political Action Committee. Retrieved April 20, 2008. 
  18. ^ "ABOUT J STREET U - Who We Are". J Street U. 
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  23. ^ Obama's type of anti-Semitism fighter, American Thinker, November 11, 2009.
  24. ^ Rabbinic Cabinet
  25. ^ The Daily Telegraph, April 18, 2009, US Jewish lobby challenged by 'pro-peace' rival
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  59. ^ Statement in Response to Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza
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  61. ^ Statement in Response to Rabbi Eric Yoffie's Comments in The Forward
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  66. ^ Barry Rubin, "Exposing the J Street Fraud: Why is a 'pro-Israel' Lobby Closely Cooperating with an Iranian Regime Front Group?", August 24, 2009. "Lenny Ben David has written a wonderful article on the J Street fraud, the anti-Israel lobby with the thinnest guise of being a pro-Israel lobby. ... Why should a National Iranian American Council board member give at least $10,000 to J Street PAC? Perhaps it is because of the very close relationship between the two organizations. ... In other words, J Street is getting money and working with the group which supports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the world's most powerful antisemite who seeks to wipe Israel off the map."
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  72. ^ J Street is a dead end
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  87. ^ Gaza's 'Tunnel Economy' Is Booming
  88. ^ Board Member's Hamas Flirtation Shows J Street's Radicalism
  89. ^ J Street board member, initial founder meets with Hamas
  90. ^ Statement on Kathleen Peratis' visit to Gaza
  91. ^ J Street goes on offensive, targets 2 US candidates

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]