There were very good reasons why the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations clearly voted against the membership application of J Street, an extremist group whose activities are hostile to Israel.
The key stated missions of the conference are to: mobilize support to halt Iran’s nuclear program; counter the global campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people; bolster Israel’s security; and combat terrorism and anti-Semitism. J Street’s actions are clearly at odds with these policies.
J Street lobbies against sanctions and against military action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. J Street works closely with the National Iranian American Council, a notorious apparent agent of the Iranian regime. The council’s board member Genevieve Lynch is a significant J Street donor. J Street brings to its conferences and college campuses leading pro-Iranian regime speakers, including NIAC head and leading Iran apologist Trita Parsi. J Street likewise urges members of the U.S. Congress 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 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. It also brings “Breaking the Silence,” a group that defames Israel and the Israel Defense Forces, including falsely accusing the IDF of committing brutal atrocities against Palestinians and anti-Israel Muslim leaders.
As Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz put it in a March 29 interview with the Israeli daily Ha’retz; J Street calls itself pro-Israel and pro peace but “always seems to be taking positions that are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian.” He further noted that 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 also lobbied to have the Obama administration vote for an anti-Israel U.N. resolution — a clear conflict with the Conference of Presidents’ mission, and it promoted and disseminated the Goldstone Report, which falsely accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. J Street took no corrective action when Goldstone recanted much of his report.
In addition, on the very first day in 2008 that the IDF began operations in Gaza to stop thousands of Hamas rockets from falling on Israeli men, women and children and homes and schools in Southern Israel, J Street demanded that Israel stop this essential, defensive, long-overdue operation.
And in recent weeks, when Fatah and Hamas signed a unity agreement, 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, 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.
Furthermore, last week J Street actually supported as accurate Secretary of State John Kerry’s “apartheid” accusation against Israel. In addition, J Street criticized the bipartisan Jewish organizations that had pointed out how offensive Kerry’s remarks were.
Is it any wonder that avowed “I am not a Zionist” billionaire George Soros is a major funder of J Street?
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 that are antithetical to the conference’s purposes.
Morton Klein is the president of the Zionist Organization of America, a founding charter member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.