Despite masquerading as a “pro-Israel” organization, J Street has now effectively been exposed as an organization whose principal raison d’etre is to mobilize public opinion to encourage the Obama Administration to condemn Israel and intensify pressure on its elected government to make further unilateral concessions to the intransigent Palestinians.
Its so called “pro peace” activities were also shown to be bogus and reminiscent of the “pro peace” campaigns initiated by the Soviet Union and its Western communist appendages during the Cold War whose objective was not peace, but promoting the interests of the Evil Empire. Many naive liberals were duped into supporting this pro-Soviet body in the same manner as J Street seems to have convinced some gullible American Jewish liberals that by bashing the Israeli government, they are on the side of the angels and promoting peace.
In recent months, J Street was humiliated when, after repeatedly denying that George Soros was one of its principal funders, they were exposed as outright liars. It was also disclosed that they received funds from strange sponsors including some pro-Arab sources.
The J Street attitude to Israel in peace and war has virtually always been negative and many Americans now realize that far from being a “pro-Israel” group, they have consistently adopted policies against Israeli interests.
They blamed Israel and Hamas equally for the Gaza war. But their call on President Obama not to employ the veto against the extraordinary one-sided resolution condemning Israel at the UN Security Council was the last straw and the remaining responsible Democratic legislators who had originally supported them, severed their links with them.
At their recent annual conference, speakers calling for divestment and boycott of Israel were cheered whilst others defending Israel were at best ignored. Numerous participants publicly boasted about their anti-Zionist and anti-Israel outlook.
In light of this, the majority of the American Jewish public is now fully aware of the real nature of J Street. If there is a problem, it is the inclination of some well-meaning American Jewish leaders to suggest that it is better to have such groups within, rather than outside, the so called “big tent.”
They are wrong because bringing them into the mainstream provides them with the cloak of respectability that any Jewish organization which brazenly canvasses a foreign government to pressure the democratically elected government of Israel should be denied.
But this is a battle that must be resolved within the American Jewish community. It has nothing to do with the Knesset.
By calling for a special hearing before a Knesset committee to consider J Street, MKs Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Danny Danon (Likud), are elevating the importance of this anti-Israeli pressure group precisely when its reputation and standing have sunk to an all-time low.
J Street Director Jeremy Ben-Ami, until now on the defensive, is exploiting the confusion by proclaiming that the Knesset is launching an unprecedented witch-hunt against an American Jewish body.
This episode exemplifies the frequent absence of sophistication the Israeli right exhibits when it confronts the irresponsible far-left.
Schneller would have been more constructive had he launched a debate within Kadima about the damage caused to Israel by the MKs from his party who participated at the J Street Conference or by his party leader Tzipi Livni who sent the organization a letter giving them a kashrut certification.
Israeli politicians should explain to American Jews the extraordinary damage that a group like J Street is inflicting on Israel but should not hold Knesset hearings on such issues which exaggerate the influence of these anti-Israeli bodies and enables them to pose as martyrs. Besides, most informed American Jews are now under no illusions as to what J Street represents. All that Schneller and the MKs associated with his ventures will achieve, will be to muddy the waters.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post