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My Street, Your Street and J Street

The road to J Street might be paved with good intentions. But as we saw with Oslo, this kind of delusional thinking inevitably ends up covering our streets in Israel with blood.

When an idea is thoroughly debunked by the facts, wouldn’t you think that intelligent people would change their minds? The world, we now know, isn’t flat. The planet actually revolves around the sun, and not the opposite.

Or so we thought.

But when it comes to “peace” activists, nothing, but nothing, seems to alter their conceptions: not the bloodbath that drenched Israel ushered in by the Oslo “Peace” Accords, and not the hell on earth that happened to communities in range of rocket fire from the disengaged Gaza – the final straw that debunked the land for peace delusion.

J Street, a virulently anti-Israel and anti-Zionist propaganda machine, founded by Jeremy Ben-Ami with money from virulently anti-Israel George Soros, is a perfect example.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, a public relations expert, is a perfect example. Having come to Israel in the ’90s to help Peace Now realize its delusions, he saw instead an era of bloodshed and civilian deaths. Finding these ideas now totally unsellable to Israelis, he repackaged the shoddy goods, and with his marketing genius and undiminished enthusiasm for ideas that don’t work, repackaged them in bright new colors to sell in America to gullible, liberal young Jews who are only too eager be sold.

And what exactly is J Street selling?

  1. That if Israel moves back to the pre-1967 borders (called the Lines of Auschwitz) there will be peace. (Hello, were you awake in the last decade?)
  2. That Israel is totally to blame for the Arab hatred against it, which will completely dissipate by giving up land.
  3. And that if the Israeli government won’t do what Ben-Ami and his leftist cabal want, then maybe American Jews can elect enough anti-Israel congressman to pressure the US government into forcing the tiny Jewish state, besieged on all sides by homicidal maniacs, to indefensible borders that will usher in its demise.

Are Ben-Ami and his organization being deliberately deceptive? Is he a liar, or are he and his followers simply deluded? Was Shimon Peres a liar or deluded when he wrote his book The New Middle East? Was Yitzhak Rabin deceptive or deceived when he shook Yasser Arafat’s hand? Was Bill Clinton? And what about Barack Obama, when he meets with Iranian leaders to talk about compromise over the Iranian nuclear program?

Does it matter? Whether the people whose policies ushered Abdel-Basset Odeh – a member of Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades, from the West Bank city of Tulkarm – into the dining room of Netanya’s Park Hotel on Seder night, where he blew himself up amid elderly Holocaust survivors and their families, were deliberate liars or delusional idiots, what matters is that their ideas, their agenda, their sincere beliefs got people killed in the worst, most barbaric way possible.

Dead is dead.

J Street is the resurrection of the bloody corpse of the worst idea anyone ever had about how to achieve peace in Israel: the idea that goodwill on one side only is enough to achieve true compromise and sincere, long-lasting peace.

What is that saying about repeatedly doing exactly the same thing and expecting totally different results the next time? Isn’t that called insanity? To J Street’s customers, American Jews, whose sincere love of Israel and frustrated desire to see the bloodshed end is pushing them towards the used car salesmen of that organization, I say: please don’t be fooled. J Street is neither pro-Israel nor pro-peace. We in Israel want peace more than anyone, and have elected a government that shares our dreams – and doesn’t need outside pressure from lobbyists like Soros and his protégé Ben-Ami to achieve it.

Whatever J Street is telling Israel’s supporters, its list of contributors tell quite a different story. Let’s do it alphabetically: Richard Abdoo, leader of the Arab Council; Wagih Abu-Rish of the Arab American Institute; Magdi Badawy, a Stop the Occupation activist; Nidal Ayyat from Dharam, Saudi Arabia; Farhan Bhatti, PR director for the Islamic Center. And that’s only up to the beginning of the B’s!

And let’s not forget Genevieve Lynch, board member of the National Iranian American Council (outed as a lobbying group for the mullahs), who is on J Street’s finance committee and contributed $10,000 to it. Or Nancy Dutton, an attorney who once represented the Saudi Embassy in Washington. And then there is Mehmet Celebi, the former president of the Turkish American Cultural Association, who co-produced the viciously anti-American Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, a 2006 film that depicts a Jewish American doctor harvesting organs from prisoners.

In fact, 50 percent of J Street’s budget comes from outside the US, from people who are not always known for their pro-Israel stances, to put it mildly.

But the Jewish mouthpieces of J Street don’t seem to need much encouragement from its anti-Israel contributors to bash Israel. They seem to do it quite naturally at every opportunity.

In an article by Alan Dershowitz published by the Huffington Post in April 2010, the longtime Israel advocate says that the organization has “gone over to the dark side” by supporting the ugly and false hypothesis so favored by Israel haters, namely that Israeli “intransigence” is endangering American soldiers. “In the letter to The New York Times on April 21, 2010, Jeremy Ben- Ami, speaking on behalf of J Street, included the following paragraph: ‘An analysis of the Obama administration’s calculus on Middle East policy should reflect that many in the Jewish community recognize that resolving the conflict is not only necessary to secure Israel’s future, but also critical to regional stability and American strategic interests.’ ”

Daniel Levy, co-founder of J Street, said it clearly: “If a collective Jewish presence in the Middle East can only survive by the sword, it cannot be accepted.”

So let me get this straight: If we Jews dare to defend ourselves from our enemies, it makes the Jewish state untenable? After the Holocaust, which I actually thought that was one of the reasons for Zionism, a homeland where Jews could defend themselves from their enemies? Not a very pro-Zionist or pro-peace statement, wouldn’t you agree? Dr. Charles Jacobs sent me a link to a very interesting, balanced and factual film he has been involved in creating about J Street. When it’s ready for distribution, I hope everyone will screen it before succumbing to the rhetoric of this dangerous organization, which is making so many converts in synagogues and on college campuses across America.

The road to J Street might be paved with good intentions. But as we saw with Oslo, this kind of delusional thinking inevitably ends up covering our streets in Israel with blood.

Believe me, I know. I was at the Park Hotel on Seder night 2002.

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on 1 November 2013.

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3 comments on “My Street, Your Street and J Street”

  1. Steve Wenick

    Thank you so much for putting my thoughts into the very words I wish I had spoken. Sometimes my emotions take hold of my reasoning and I become incoherently strident in my support of Israel. Your words are a vehicle upon which my feelings and love of Israel can ride.

  2. martin charney

    Naomi, so good to hear and see you still fighting. We need you to stay with the program. We need to address the young left Jews and assume that their assimilation and disappearance will soon required the stepping up to the plate of more orthodox yet uninvolved of the orthodoxy. I mean we can’t have goyim running the big Jewish charities. Can we?

  3. Phyllis B. Levine

    With friends like Ben-Ami and other J Street supporters, we don’t need any enemies! When in history has a country that conquers territory have to give it back in order to have peace? Israel always seems to be the exception! Looks as if some things will never change!

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