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July 23, 2014 3:24 pm

Dershowitz: J Street Can’t ‘Claim to be Pro-Israel’ After Pulling Out of Boston Rally

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The J Street logo. – J Street—the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby—”can no longer credibly claim to be pro-Israel” after pulling out of an Israel solidarity rally sponsored by Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Boston last week, Harvard Law School professor and pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed for The Jerusalem Post.

J Street’s Boston director, Shaina Wasserman, wrote in a letter to JCRC Executive Director Jeremy Burton that it decided to pull out of the July 17 Stand With Israel rally because the event did not include speakers who represented the group’s “pro-Israel, pro-peace perspective” and that “the feedback you solicited from me was barely reflected in the rally’s messaging points.”

“What was missing for us in this rally, and what ultimately precluded our co-sponsorship, was that despite our efforts, there was no space made to raise the issues that follow from our commitment to Israel’s Jewish and democratic future,” the letter stated.

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In his July op-ed, Dershowitz called J Street’s decision “total nonsense and an insult to those who spoke at the rally.”

“J Street has whined about being excluded from the mainstream Jewish community, but it is J Street that has excluded itself from joining in community activities such as this rally,” Dershowitz wrote.

“If you are pro-Israel, you do not belong in J Street, because J Street can no longer credibly claim to be pro-Israel,” he added. “If there was ever any doubt about that, J Street’s actions in refusing to join the Stand With Israel Rally should resolve them. So if you want to stand with Israel, stand up against J Street and stand with organizations that support Israel during times of crisis.”

The JCRC’s Burton said he was “deeply disappointed in J Street’s decision to withdraw [from the rally] as a sponsor.”

“This event was not and should not have been the place for airing and debating perspectives on how to achieve our shared hopes for Israel,” Burton said in a statement. “It was a place to present and convey shared core principles in a moment of conflict. We have made extraordinary efforts to bring J Street’s voice to the table in Boston. We have sought, not always successfully, to present the diversity of views on important issues in ways that almost no other Jewish community in this country does.”

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