Tag Archives: J Street

Is Israel Government Anti-Jewish?

Historically, Jewish people were in the forefront of movements that endeavored to further basic human freedoms and to foster peace in the world. A new American Jewish group, J Street, has come into being over the past few years with a goal of “pro-Israel-pro-Peace.” The Israel Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, denounced the group as being anti-Israel and declined its invitation to attend a meeting and engage in dialogue. Hannah Rosenthal, administrator of the Obama administration Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, expressed her disappointment at the refusal of Oren to engage in open dialogue. In turning down an opportunity to discuss alternative roads to peace, Ambassador Oren behaved in a manner not befitting a Jew.

Rosenthal, who is the child of a Holocaust survivor, believes “young people want to be part of the discussion, they feel they have fresh ideas and they feel that we have to end the stalemate(in the Middle East).” Ms. Rosenthal understands there is anti-semitism in the world as witness 170 UN resolutions about Israel with but a scant few dealing with Darfur or the Congo or Iran or any number of places in the world where people are getting killed and raped.

The Jewish people need open discussion and it is imperative that Israel representatives enter the dialogue rather than denounce anyone who opposes policies of the Netanyahu government as being anti-semitic.

Who Represents American Jews?

Visit anyone of a thousand websites and one soon encounters someone ranting about the “Israel Lobby” and attacking American Jews as unequivocal supporters of the actions of Israel. J Street is a lobby group which envisions its goals as fostering the peace process in the Middle East between Israel and Palestinians along with seeking to support goals of Israel. However, unlike its rival AIPAC, it has a different perspective as to the national interests of Israelis. J Street does not blindly follow actions such as the invasion of Gaza, it is concerned about rights of Palestinians as well as those of Israelis. J Street invited Michael Oren, ambassador to the US to attend a conference but he refused.

J Street is among the first American Jewish groups which is raising a basic question–what does it mean to be pro-Israel? J Street director, Jeremy Ben-Ami argues “Jewish and other Americans have found it hard to connect the increasingly hard-line stance coming out of Jerusalem.” Yes, it is about time because many American Jews believe that peace between Palestinians and Israel is critical and this means an end to West Bank settlements and no more Gaza invasions.

US Pro-Israel Lobby Blasts Avigdor Lieberman

The people of Israel may have decided to retreat into the bunker of denial and ignorance, but American Jews increasingly are concerned that world opinion will swing to the side of Palestinians unless Israeli leaders get a dose of reality. J Street, a pro-Israel lobby, has launched a campaign expressing the organization’s concern over the appointment of right wing demagogue Avigdor Lieberman to the key position of foreign minister. Lieberman immediately created a furor by saying his government is not bound by American backed understandings on the issue of the Palestinian state. The J Street website said the organization is “deeply concerned about Avigdor Lieberman…and the key role he is playing as Foreign Minister in the new Israel government.”

J Street, like any concerned person who cares about the existence of Israel as a democratic society must be concerned over the emergence of a demagogue as foreign minister. President Obama wants a strong Israel, but he knows there must be a genuine peace in which Palestine is an independent nation. Unless, Lieberman is removed from his position, the state of Israel will find itself in a few years estranged even from the United States— and American Jews. It may feel comfortable and snug living in a bunker, but it is also isolating from the rest of the world.