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Friday, February 19, 2010

What makes J street the enemy and is it the enemy?

The J Street lobby has managed to generate a lot of publicity for itself. Most of those who praise it however, are anti-Israel and most of those who are critical are pro-Israel. That suggests that J Street may be the enemy. J Street's Jeremy Ben Ami told Haa'aretz
A part of the Jewish community in the United States and some people here are intolerant of people who disagree with them or criticize them.
"And that intolerance immediately flips to 'you are anti-Israel - you're a Muslim lover or you're Muslim,'" ... "These are things that they call me, and this is what some of them call the president. It has to change both in the politics here and in the right wing of the American Jewish community."
Ben-Ami's rant sounds a bit like "Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism." That's true. But some criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, and J Street is not only engaged in criticism of Israel.  

Criticism of Israel is not what makes J Street the enemy.  Signing a letter calling on President Obama to loosen the Israeli blockade of the genocidal Hamas organization might make J Street the enemy. Initiating action in Congress against Iran sanctions might make J Street the enemy. Having Congressman Brian Baird as an honorary host of a J Street gala dinner, might make J Street the enemy, since he told students in Gaza that the US should forcefully break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, as it did the Berlin airlift. His views about the "Jewish problem" could hardly have been a surprise to J Street when they invited him.  Taking money from Muslims and Muslim groups doesn't make an organization or its members into Muslims. Muslims are not necessarily anti-Israel either. But when the money comes from the American Iranian Council and similar groups, t it does raise the suspiscion that they are working to serve the interests of Muslims who are inimical to Israeli and Jewish interests. The Iranian regime  after all, is not a great friend of Israel or the Jewish people.
None of these things that J Street did are criticisms of Israel. All of them are inimical actions - attempts to influence a foreign government to take action against Israel, honoring anti-Israel politicians and funding some of them, getting support from anti-Israel groups. Groups that carry out inimical actions are usually known as enemies.
Ami Isseroff

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