J Street is to Zionism what Jews for Jesus are to Judaism — Caroline Glick
The first time I visited Israel, I had this conversation:
Israeli: Don’t be a friar.
Me: A what?
Israeli: A friar. You know. How can you not? It’s English!
Well, not exactly, at least not American English. But what it means is someone who gives away what is rightfully his by being too nice. “Hurry up, take the parking space. Don’t be a friar.” More strongly, it can mean sucker or dupe.
That’s what’s so infuriating about Jews for Jesus. Not that they are Christians — that’s not a problem. I admire committed Christians; the world would be a better place if there were more of them. Not even that they want to convert Jews to Christianity — we’re used to it by now. But Jews for Jesus want to make friars out of gullible Jews. They pretend that they are just another Jewish denomination, except for one thing. But it isn’t a small thing; it’s the whole ball game.
Nobody likes being fooled, made a friar against his or her will. And that is exactly what J Street’s oily Jeremy Ben Ami is trying to do to us.
J Street lobbies for US policies that are anti-Israel, even including a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel that the Obama Administration vetoed (although Susan Rice also gave a speech that supported its content). J Street’s PAC supports politicians who vote against Israel’s interests in Congress. Its lobbying record is more like that of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the National Iranian-American Council than AIPAC’s. J Street invites some of the most vehement anti-Zionists it can find outside of Gaza (like Mustafa Barghouti and Rebecca Vilkomerson) to speak to their conventions.
J Street looks, walks, quacks and lobbies like an anti-Israel duck; and the fact that it has received at least $750,000 from sources related to George Soros — the fellow who told a Jewish audience that Jews and Israel are the cause of anti-Semitism — and lied about it until caught doesn’t help. Ben Ami insists that J Street is doing all of this for the good of Israel, which he claims is in the grip of a right-wing government whose policies are “anti-peace.”
Nonsense. Israel’s government is really quite centrist, and its security and diplomatic policies are approved by a great majority of Israelis. Israel is a democracy — indeed, it is in some ways more democratic than the US — and the views held by J Street are shared only by a tiny minority of the Left in Israel.
But Ben Ami believes that he knows better than most Israelis, who send their kids to the army to defend the state that he wants to carve up.
And he also believes that the recent decision by the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to reject its application for membership was due to a “a minority of the farthest right wing organizations,” although the secret ballot came up 17 for and 22 against. Two of the groups that supported J Street (the Reform and Conservative movements) had a total of eight votes from their affiliates, and it still wasn’t enough. So much for right-wing machinations!
J Street is very well-financed. Ben Ami is a public relations specialist, and it shows. His positions align with the Obama Administration (he once called J Street the President’s “blocking back” on the Middle East). He gets plenty of support on campuses from anti-Israel academics, and his administration connection helps with left-of-center media.
And yet, the Council of Presidents is not a bunch of friars. Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Reform movement, a member of J Street’s Rabbinic Cabinet and a former member of its board of directors (he had to leave the position when non-friar Reform Jews vehemently protested his nomination), was the most prominent member of the Council that called for J Street’s inclusion, and he seems to have pulled out all the stops.
But J Street went down anyway. My guess is that most of the groups represented, even some of the ‘dovish’ ones, realized that while strategies may differ, there is line between wanting Israel to survive and not. And J Street is on the wrong side of it.