Thursday, October 2, 2014

A view of JStreet

This article was written by Brian Grodman and published in the Jewish Reporter in New Hampshire. It is posted here with the permission of the author.

On September 21st, JStreet had a presentation at Temple Israel in Portsmouth.  I was disappointed not to attend.  I was observing the unveiling of my mother’s gravestone with my three millennial children, Adam, Jesse & Talia, along with my girlfriend, Charlotte Crockett.  My sons have been outspoken supporters of Israel with a combined count of almost twenty trips to Israel and numerous pro-Israel activities while in college and graduate school.  Adam and Jesse understand, and have expressed, the danger that JStreet poses to their peer group.

JStreet has been contrasted with AIPAC.  However, a review of numerous AIPAC accomplishments illustrates complete bipartisan congressional participation.  Both Democrats and Republicans provide sponsorship for every AIPAC supported bill.  As I have written on these pages, I have attended many AIPAC Summits, Washington Policy Conferences and New England dinners.  At each of these impressive gatherings, both sides of the aisle are greatly represented.  Conversely, JStreetPAC endorses approximately 100 candidates and incumbents for Congress.  Without exception, each one is a Democrat.  Does this make sense?  Are Democrats the only ones who support Israel and Israeli values?  The American support of the Jewish State of Israel should not be limited to one religion, one ethnicity or one political party.  It should always be bipartisan.  The obvious conclusion is that the PAC for JStreet is actually a PAC supporting the Democratic Party and not Israel.

In 2008, I was at Harvard listening to Professor Alan Dershowitz explain why he was supporting Barack Obama for president.  Professor Dershowitz has been a well known supporter of liberal candidates for much of his career.  However, even this esteemed liberally-bent figure wrote in the Jerusalem Post (10/7/2013) “J Street’s approach is arrogant and paternalistic.  Its leaders have the chutzpah to claim that they know better than Israelis what is good for Israel.”  JStreet continually encourages President Obama to take action that is contrary to the policy of the government of Israel.  Why does an American organization believe it knows more, and has the right, to dictate how the leadership in Jerusalem should act?

During the past two conflicts involving Israel (Cast Lead and Protective Edge), JStreet admonished Israel for “disproportionate response.”  Any response that was of equal nature would not have ended the conflict.  Was Israel supposed to use homemade rockets to fire back?  What gives someone in the relatively safe haven of the United States the right to state how Israel responds to a threat emanating from dozens of tunnels, hundreds of Jihadists, and thousands of rockets, all seconds and minutes away from schools and hospitals?

Over one hundred Boston area entities sponsored the Rally for Israel on August 7th.  This rally was attended by thousands of people at City Hall Plaza.  The lead sponsorship included CJP, AIPAC, ADL, and JCRC, among others.  Over fifty area synagogues, from Reform to Orthodox, were sponsors and provided transportation.  However, JStreet removed their endorsement of the event.  This rally was purely to show solidarity with our Jewish homeland.  Why would politics get in the way of an event of this magnitude?

JStreet states they seek an “open tent” policy, where all views are shared.  However, their conventions do not allow speakers with alternative viewpoints, while including BDS (boycott, divestment & sanctions) supporters.  It is well known that virtually the entire population of Israel is against the BDS movement.  This strategy economically harms her citizenry.  Why would JStreet include presenters with this narrative?

Finally, as a committed Jew, I am a proud Zionist and concerned for our Jewish people in the Diaspora.  If younger people become attracted to the misinformation that JStreet presents, they will surely turn their backs on Judaism.  After 3,000 years, that would be devastating.

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