Friday, May 26th | 1 Sivan 5777

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
March 20, 2015 11:11 am

Alan Dershowitz: Guess Who’s Not Speaking at the J Street Conference?

avatar by Alan Dershowitz

Email a copy of "Alan Dershowitz: Guess Who’s Not Speaking at the J Street Conference?" to a friend

The list of speakers at the upcoming J Street national conference. Photo: Screenshot from Jstreet.org.

J Street—the lobby group that claims to be “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace”—is anything but “open” to centerist views that are critical of its policies.  It has invited several prominent anti-Israel speakers to address its national conference, including Saeb Erekat, one of Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiators, who has repeatedly accused Israel of war crimes, and committing massacres in the West Bank. It has also invited speakers who are generally pro-Israel but who strongly oppose the current Israeli government. The one group of pro-Israel advocates who never get invited to J Street conferences are those of us who are somewhat critical of J Street, particularly with regard to its policies toward Iran and other issues involving Israel’s security.  I know this because I have repeatedly sought an opportunity to address the J Street conference. I have personally implored Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of J Street, either to allow me to address the conference, or to sit down with me for a public conversation in front of the group’s members. He has adamantly refused. We have publicly debated and discussed our differences in front of non-J Street audiences, but he has never allowed me to engage him in the marketplace of ideas in front of his own followers.

This is more than ironic. It is hypocritical, especially in light of J Street’s demands that other organizations, such as Hillel and AIPAC, be open to speakers who are critical of Israel. What’s good for Hillel and AIPAC, is apparently not good for J Street—at least by J Street’s own standards.

Why then is J Street so determined to deny its members the opportunity to hear divergent views from center-leftists like me?  Because its leaders are afraid that if I were allowed to address its conference, I would tell its members the truth about J Street—a truth they try hard to conceal, particularly from college students who are lured into the J Street fold on false pretenses. The key to J Street’s success in increasing its membership roles is its ability to speak out of both sides of its mouth.  To those on the hard left, it offers anti-Israel and pro-BDS speakers, support for the mendacious Goldstone Report, and opposition to keeping the military option on the table as a last resort in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Related coverage

May 25, 2017 4:55 pm
0

Trump’s Middle East Visit, New Alliances, and a Terrified Iran

The reaction seen from Iranian state media outlets to the visit paid by US President Donald Trump last week to...

To the soft left, it focuses on its opposition to Israeli settlements and its support for a two-state solution—positions with which I and many supporters of Israel agree.  But it hides its controversial, hard left positions that endanger Israel’s security—positions with which most supporters of Israel disagree.  It also hides the financial support it has received from anti-Zionists such as George Soros, as well as the anti-Zionist statements made by some of its founders and activists.  Two summers ago I spoke to a mixed group of pro and anti-J Street people in the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center.  When I read from some of J Street’s positions on Israel’s security, some of the J Street supporters were shocked.  They were unaware that J Street has expressed opposition to any use of military force against Iran, even as a last resort in preventing Iran in preventing Iran from developing or even deploying nuclear weapons. This is even weaker than the position of the Obama administration, which has refused to take the military option off the table, if all other options fail to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

Without distinguishing between an Israeli and an American military attack, J Street mendaciously claims that “top Israeli security experts and former officials warned about the inefficacy and disastrous consequences of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities” and that “many in the American and Israeli intelligence and security establishments believe that a strike on Iran would fail to end Iran’s nuclear program and may even accelerate it….”

While this may be true of a unilateral Israeli strike, it is untrue of an American or joint attack, which many of these experts acknowledge would wreak havoc on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Many of these same experts have explicitly called for the United States to maintain its military option as a last resort. But J Street, on its website, expressly “oppose[s] legislation authorizing, encouraging or in other ways laying the groundwork for the use of military force against Iran.” Such legislation refers exclusively to an American, not an Israeli, attack. But “laying the groundwork for the use of military force against Iran” by the United States is precisely what is needed to deter Iran from going forward with its nuclear weapons program, regardless of whether or not a deal is struck.  By credibly laying such groundwork, the United States reduces the chances that it will actually need to employ its military option. By undercutting the threat of employing the military option, J Street increases the likelihood that it will have to be used.

J Street, in addition to undercutting mainstream Israeli and American policy toward Iran, has also mischaracterized the views of those it cites in support of its position, including former Mossad chiefs Meir Dagan and Efraim Halevy. It cites these two Israeli security experts as opposing an American strike and an American threat to strike. Both Dagan and Halevy have repeatedly said, however, that the American military option “must always be on the table.” Indeed, the vast majority of Israeli security experts, as well the Israeli public, wants the United States to maintain the military threat against Iran. J Street, which purports to be pro-Israel, wants the United States to eliminate that deterrent military threat.  But many centrist J Street members are not aware of this hard left position, because its leadership will not allow critics of this and other J Street positions to tell its members the truth.

Finally, J Street is now calling for an end to bipartisan political support for the government of Israel, telling Democrats, including the woman at “the forefront” of the Democratic Party, that “everyone is now going to have to pick a side.”

So I call for “open J Street.” Let its members hear all sides of the issues, not only those carefully screened and vetted by its leaders.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • esther noodelman

    I think it’s time for all of this negativity to be turned into a new powerhouse of strength.Instead of bellyaching about all of the ugly reality around us,time to find a person that perhaps could emulate some of the fantastic things accomplished by Isi Liebler..Read his last article on his being the 1st to embrace the cause for saving Soviet Jews and HE WENT TO THE UN TO COMPLAIN ABOUT GORBACHEV’S GRIP ON THE REFUSENIKS WHO WANTED TO LEAVE RUSSIA-ALL THIS WHILE HE LIVED IN AUSRALIA AND AUSTRALIA AND LIEBLER SUCCEEDED IN GETTING THE BALL ROLLING ALL THE WHILE THAT OUR WONDERFUL JEWISH AGENCIES WERE SILENT AS THEY ARE TODAY. NOW WE NEED YOUNG AND NOT_SO_YOUNG FRESH BLOOD THAT WANT TO ALSO GO TO THE UN AND COMPLAIN ABOUT A 30 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE THAT IS A DISGRACEFUL SHAM.-TO RELEASE JONATHAN POLLARD!AGAIN,NO- I REPEAT NO JEWISH FEDERATIONS WANT TO RAISE THEIR VOICES RAISING MONEY UBER ALLES BUT WHEN WILL OUR YOUNG TALENTED PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS STEP UP TO THE PLATE? THERE ARE JOBS TO BE FOUND BY STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE. WORK WITH A MENTOR LIKE ISI LIEBLER AND DOWN THE LINE WE WILL EVEN GET YOU FAT SALARIES. OUR PEOPLE ARE WAITING FOR YOU! JONATHAN POLLARD IS COUNTING ON YOU!IS THERE NOBODY HOME? I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. IF THERE IS NOBODY HOME, THEN YES,AMERICA IS ON THE WAY TO BECOMING EUROPE.BUT I BELIEVE THERE ARE YOUNG JEWISH IDEALISTS WHO WILL STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND I AND OTHER IDEALISTS WILL GET YOU FAME AND MONEY TO BOOT. BACK TO ISI LIEBLER. WHEN GORBACHEV DID FINALLY RELEASE SOVIET JEWS FROM RUSSIA,HE DID CONTACT LIEBLER TO ASK HIM WHAT HE THOUGHT OF HOW RUSSIA WAS behaving.
    IF WE COULD HAVE(WITH ISI POINTING THE WAY) HAVE OVERCOME THE “BIG BEAR” RUSSIA, THEN AMERICA WITH G D’S HELP IS A PIECE OF CAKE.JONATHAN IS COUNTING ON YOU!

  • Alex Lapidus

    I deeply support Mr Dershowitz position on Israel, but have one and only one question for him, who did you vote for in 2008 and 2012 an why?

    • DocReality

      That’s a great question, Alex. A really great question. And there will probably never be an answer suitable enough to explain it….

  • “Since the left lost control of Israel,
    it has been hell-bent on destroying it.”

    SOURCE:
    Israel’s Leftist Losers by Daniel Greenfield, 2015 March 19
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/dgreenfield/israels-leftist-losers/

  • Amos

    According to media reports I’ve seen, approximately $750,000 of funding for this J Street came from George Soros. Other reports mention large donors like Genevieve Lynch, who is also a member of the National Iranian American Council board, and Richard Abdoo, a current board member of Amideast and a former board member of the Arab American Institute, Farhan Bhatti, PR director for the Islamic Center in Michigan, and Mehmet Celebi, the former president of the Turkish American Cultural Association. Now does that sound JEWISH? Nahhhh.

    Can someone help me answer this question, without going off on a tangent?

  • thelmarosenberg

    From your mouth to G-d’s ears Steven

  • Max Cohen

    Please, Mr. Dershowitz, explain the difference between a center-leftist (yourself)and a center-rightist (myself). I believe in the American Constitution, in conscientious free enterprise, in equal opportunity for all citizens, in freedom to worship or not, in the right to bear arms, and in Israel’s right to survive as a nation. How, aside from your views the on defense of Israel, are you different from Jeremy Ben Ami and myself?

  • Dennis Carle

    WHAT CAN THE PEOPLE DO WITH REGARDS TO A PRESIDENT THAT IS WEAKENING THE US MILITARILY, BE-FRIENDING ENEMIES (IRAN, HEZBALLAH, ETC) AND ABANDONING OUR FRIEND ISRAEL. I AM AN AMERICAN JEW AND I AM APPALLED BY OBAMA’S TRAITOROUS ACTIVITIES AS WELL AS HIS FOREIGN POLICY.

  • J Street is like Jews for Jesus; just as Jews for Jesus falsely claims to be Jewish, J Street falsely claims to be pro-Isarel.

    I think of them as: “Jews for J Street”.

    • Alex Lapidus

      I am critical of Jews or Jesus, but at least Jews for Jesus stand up for Israel

  • Ephraim

    Dream on. There is nothing more insidious than self hating Jews.

  • The Jerusalem Post is listing Jeremy Ben-Ami as one of its speakers.

    Why is the Jerusalem Post giving platform to the person responsible for what Prof Dersh has written here?

    I would like to see the Algemeiner continue to educate people about J Street and to encourage people to boycott the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York.

    New Yorkers need to strengthen their support of Israel in these difficult times – they do not need to be exposed to the deceit of an organization that says its Pro Israel and then re-defines Pro-Israel.

    Christians also come to the Jerusalem Post Conference. They might be lured by Jeremy Ben-Ami. He is very slick.

  • Esther Schneider

    I’ve said all along that liberal Jews, the “cultural” Jews, are nothing more than arrogant, elitist atheists. Their policies are designed not to educate and help people achieve their potential, but to keep them stupid and therefore, easily segregated, mainly out of the liberals’ elitist back yard. If liberal Jews really cared and wanted to make positive change for the downtrodden, they would ask for accountability. I find false, insincere “giving” absolutely reprehensible.

  • Ronnie Zuckerman

    Alan Dershowitz has done more for the State of Israel that anyone in American academia. Shame on J Street for not allowing dissenting (centrist – not extreme right) views from being represented at their conferences and meetings.

  • Ayatollah ghilmeini

    It is very important to balance between-the full blown antisemitism of JSTreets initial founders and vile lies and misrepresentations it spews every day against Israel. To allow Prof. Dershowitz to speak into this toxic mix is simply unfair. It asks too much integrity and decency.

    The reason i believe in the second amendment is JSTreet will hold the fascist’s coats when they come for us. It is why America will never be like Europe.

  • joydbrower

    I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that, in today’s world, with Iran on the verge of being a dangerous nuclear power, there are still Jews inside, but even more so, outside Israel who have this affinity for J-Street. But all I have to do is talk just a few minutes with two close leftist/socialist (American) friends who are increasingly anti-Zionist, pro-Fakesinian and usually part of or in support of the BDS Movement. Of course, they live safely and in comfort here in the USA – well outside the danger zone that is the Middle East.

  • JOHN TRAIN

    Maybe It is time for the Jewish community to confront Rabbi John Rosove and his congregation at Temple Israel of Hollywood and Rabbi Rick Jacobs at URJ and hold them accountable for the tremendous damage that they are doing to Israel.

    Rabbi Rosove, J St., peace now, etc. get inordinate flattering coverage in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Their editor, Rob Eshman, is a former peace now organizer.

    • mosallamus

      THE TIME FOR TALK, WHINING, “DISCUSSION,” BESEECHING AND ALL THE REST OF THE a j “COMMUNITY” bs IS LONG OVER

  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    When Jeremy Ben Ami & his JStreet friends invite murderers to speak end explain why they muerder jewa, when eremy Ben Ami & his JStreet friends stand for Iran nuke, they think: 1)they will escape to jewish extermination wnated by hamasfatahhezbolla. 2) they just wanted israelies to disapear.

  • Bullfrog Europe

    Open mindedness welcomes the views of others, even when they are based on a different mindset or opinion. To restrict that flow is ignorance, but JStreet has been established with a pre set agenda, rather than an open mind.

  • nelson marans

    J Street pro-Arab and anti-Israel. The name should be PLO Street or Iran Street.

  • Given how the Palestinians define themselves in their Charters, their official statements and their actions, the Left – whether “hard” (as J-Street) or “soft” (as Alan Dershowitz) – is deluded in believing that one can be at the same time pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian,

    No greater oxymoron has lasted for so long, with so much factual evidence against it.

  • steven L

    Alan, be patient. Once Obama goes, J St goes.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    In the early days of the Third Reich, a Nazi official met with a Jewish youth group; he left the meeting perplexed.

    Although impressed by the group’s avowed support of Nazi ideals, the official knew their enthusiasm for the new regime would be unwelcome; they were, he ruefully remarked, still Jews after all.

    Today, Jewish support for neo-Nazi agendas are no longer ruled out-of-bounds. In fact, such support has become the gold standard, eagerly sought by the enemies of the Jewish people.

    Alan Dershowitz writes that “J Street is now calling for an end to bipartisan political support for the government of Israel, telling Democrats, including the woman at “the forefront” of the Democratic Party, that “everyone is now going to have to pick a side.”

    The Jews of J street, the New Israel Fund, and similar organizations are clearly engaged in an effort to promote policies that seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

    This is a fundamental truth that must be acknowledged.

  • Francis Figliola

    J Street = CAVE, CAPITULATE, AND BE ANNIHILATED!

    • Francis Figliola

      What’s to moderate?

  • art

    First and foremost J street is not pro Israel, or at least not in any sense of a democratic homeland for Jews. Soros is out and out anti Israel. J st. is a creation designed to divide the Jewish community and lure away support of Israel. It provides “credibility” and funding for those in opposition to a Jewish state. J St. should be recognized for what it is, a foe of Israel

  • Ralph

    Quite frankly, J-Street and their other Jewish lefties remind me of the Kapos and Judenrot. If Israel is destroyed and some of these Cretans are left alive, just like those who volunteered will say they were either forced to or had no other choice. To hell with them all. Blessed be the memory of those who chose to take up arms, most survived and most went on to see Jewish independence.

    Pathetic J-Street…

  • Theodore Sternberg

    Heh, of course Ben Ami won’t debate Alan Dershowitz. He knows the Dersh would rip him a new one.

  • Mohammed’s Keffiyeh

    Putz. You voted for Obama twice.

  • Yale

    Dear Prof. Dershowitz:

    The J-Street hierarchy, and the puppeteers who control them, know exactly what they’re doing.

    J-Street isn’t a lobby at all — lobbies represent constituencies to government — but a front group in the traditional Communist and Nazi mold, designed to ensnare citizens in support of government policy, even when the people actually reject what that policy is.

    Front groups NEVER allow opponents of their platform the right to speak to their members because that could collapse the whole project.

    What you need to decide is whether you can continue as a supporter of a government that sees fit to employ front groups.

  • Jews are not united and are stabbing each other in the back. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

    • RIVKA BRANDEIS

      I BELIEVE WHAT WE SEE IN J STREET IS A PODIUM OF LOST SOULS….THE ERUV RUV……THEY ARE CONDENSED OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE NEVER INVITED TO MAP THEIR WAY THROUGH SOCIETY….A SMALL GROUP GROWS….EVEN ‘DERSHOWITZ’ COULD NOT MOVE THIS INANIMATE OBJECT…THEY RESEMBLE MISSIONARIES……AND, THE HAND OF THESE DEMONS REACHES FAR HIGHER THAN SOROS.

      ZOMBIES

  • J Street is not a Marxist organization, but its members and leaders are influenced by Marxist thought. Marx looked forward to the day when there were no more economic differences, which would lead to a world where everybody thought alike. Consequently, all Marxist states have enforced thought control. J Street is part of that tradition.
    Way back in 1969, when I still considered myself a leftist, I wrote an article that appeared in the Village Voice entitled “The Left Is Soft on Anti-Semitism.”
    http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/TheLeftSoft.html
    Anti-Zionism is the child of anti-Semitism.

Algemeiner.com