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June 26, 2015 11:28 am

Is J-Street Really Against BDS? Their Opposition to Anti-BDS Legislation Shows the Answer

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J Street claims to be opposed to BDS. Photo: J Street.

J Street claims to be opposed to BDS. Photo: J Street.

The Times of Israel reports:

After weeks of legislative drama, a trade bill containing provisions opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel cleared its final legislative hurdle Wednesday afternoon. The anti-BDS language, passed as part of the controversial Trade Promotion Authority legislation, is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, who had pushed Congress to pass the trade bill as soon as possible.

Two amendments opposing BDS in Europe – one sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and Republican Sen. Rob Portman and the other by Republican Representative Peter Roskam and Democratic Representative Juan Vargas – were included in a trade authorization package that was considered must-pass legislation for the administration.

Reading J-Street’s reasoning in opposing the bill reveals much about that purportedly “pro-Israel” organization:

J Street is adamantly opposed to the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. We’ve worked consistently, particularly on college campuses*, to oppose BDS efforts that are often thinly-veiled attempts to delegitimize Israel.

We view the Roskam-Vargas “U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act” (H.R.825) as not simply unhelpful to the effort to combat Global BDS, but contrary to longstanding US policy opposing settlement of the territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

The current stalemate in diplomatic progress toward a two-state solution has led some groups to pursue more limited boycotts or divestment initiatives in opposition to only the occupation and not Israel itself. These “targeted” efforts do not call for a boycott of Israel itself or Israeli goods, but of settlement products, unlike the all-encompassing boycott of Israel promoted by the global BDS Movement.

While J Street does not participate in such targeted boycott or divestment initiatives, we do not believe it is productive or appropriate for the United States government to spend time and resources preventing or reporting on such efforts.

J-Street claims to be opposed to BDS. But legislation that opposes BDS in all territories controlled by Israel is considered so heinous that they would rather see Israel boycotted than consider that Jews who live in their ancestral lands should not be boycotted. Which means that their opposition to BDS is not really so strong.

To put it another way, they claim to love Israel, but if that means that all Israeli citizens are treated the same whatever side of the Green Line they happen to live on, then screw Israel.

Also, while J-Street claims that this legislation doesn’t distinguish between Israel and the territories, its opposition shows that J-Street doesn’t distinguish between the Western Wall and Ramallah – all of them are the same occupied territory according to J-Street where Jews should be allowed to be boycotted if their friends at Jewish Voice for Peace want to. If someone wants to boycott a kosher falafel shop in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, J-Street supports that right.

Legislation often includes parts that not everyone is thrilled with, but the greater good is considered worth the price of the particular parts that one doesn’t like. J-Street has decided that the possibility of supporting Jews in the territories against discrimination more than negates any good that comes from a major piece of anti-BDS legislation.

Pro-Israel? Yeah, right.

* I have looked hard for evidence of a single J-Street action on a single college campus – a table, a protest, anything – publicly denouncing BDS. I have not found one yet. They only have some online documents against BDS that as far as I can tell were never physically distributed to anyone.

The impression one gets is that J-Street wants to maintain its ties to radical anti-Israel BDS groups like JVP but still wants to pretend to be pro-Israel.

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  • Lauren Goldman

    J-Street is al-Jazeera lite. They always side with the ‘palestinians’.

  • Yale

    J Street has gotten everything else wrong, why would anyone expect them to get this right?

  • Peter Kramer

    Someone should remind J-Street that they are Jews, will always be Jews, and if America continues to support anti-Israel and anti-Jewish Muslim and American racist groups, they are just as threatened as any other Jew is. Have they learned nothing from the holocaust? Do they not see that Obama hates Jews? Do they not see Obama’s desperate attempt to claim his Black Christianity, when he is doing nothing to save Christians in the Middle East? Jesus was Jewish, Obama.

  • HaroldT

    What has happened to USA Jews that produce the quislings of j-street !

  • paul

    You repeat the ridiculous claim that not supporting the right-wing nationalist idea of settling the West Bank indicates one is anti-Israel. You seem to equate support for the Israeli right-wing policy of colonialism with support for the Jewish state.
    I am dead against the settlement policy because I am so pro-Israel. I believe the settlement policy is a total error, and may lead to the end of the Jewish state. It would be wonderful to have the biblical sites of the West Bank, but we can’t have everything that would be nice, especially if it creates problems that threaten our very existence as a state.
    Although the BDS is now protesting against Israel in general, (and should be fought ACTIVELY, not by bleating passive defense), the protest against the west-bank settlement is definitely a completely legitimate and sensible action by people who are concerned for Israel and are fighting for its well-being. Ben Gurion spoke clearly after the 6-day war when he said we should give back the territories (except for the Golan Heights and Jerusalem). Was he anti-Israel ? He said our occupation would corrupt us, and day by day we are seeing this come true. Was Arik Sharon anti-Israel ?
    Supporting an extreme and destructive policy is NOT acting in the best interests of Israel.

  • art

    J street knows that they can do more damage by infiltrating Jewish organizations and using proxies to attack Israel. Similar to NIF. In my opinion they are todays capos

  • I jst got a PDF that shows all or most Jewish Foundation support Jstreet and the New Israel Fund. This means most of the America Jewish community has betrayed Israel.

  • EXCLUSIVE: American Tax-Deductible Contributions Pay For Defense Of Arab Terrorists in Israel
    American Jews are funding the families of Arab terrorists who kill Jews in Jerusalem.
    6.20.2015 News Ronn Torossian 18

    A few days ago in these pages we wrote about an extreme left-wing American Jewish organization, The New Israel Fund (NIF), which has the constant agenda of harming the State of Israel through a variety of mechanisms.
    The latest – as reported by Israeli media today – is that the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a petition by an NIF-supported organization to allow the wife of Ghassan Abu Jamal who murdered five Israelis in November 2014 in a brutal massacre during morning prayers in Jerusalem to remain in Jerusalem. Rightfully, courts have ruled that the terrorists’ wife – who is not a citizen of Israel – will not be allowed to remain in the Holy City.
    Hamoked- an NIF grantee – has announced they will appeal this decision in court on July 13, 2015 – and until that time Nadia Abu Jamal is not allowed in Jerusalem. The New Israel Fund opposes “collective punishment” – and Hamoked’s supposed mission is to assist Palestinians “whose rights are violated due to Israel’s policies.”
    Separately, Israeli courts also recently rejected a petition from Hamoked which seeks to allow “family unification between Israeli Arabs and Gaza Strip residents.”
    In the past, Israel’s State Prosecutor concluded that HaMoked’s “self-presentation as ‘a human rights organization’ has no basis in reality and is designed to mislead.” This organization – which is largely devoted to the defense of Arab terrorists – as a grantee of the New Israel Fund, has received $688,901 worth of grants from them between 2008-2013.
    As The Algemeiner Journal reported New Israel Fund is “a controversial foundation that supports dozens of Israel related causes, many of which are considered hostile to the Jewish State.”

    Most shocking is that donations to Hamoked – via the 501c3 of the New Israel Fund – are tax-deductible in the United States. Hence, fees and expenses related to the legal defense of the family members of Palestinian Arab terrorists are tax-deductible in the United States.
    Shamefully, donors to the New Israel Fund include prominent American Jews including the head of the UJA-Federation, Alisa Doctoroff, Karen R. Adler of The Jewish Communal Fund, The Leichtag Foundation, The Jim Joseph Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, George S. Warburg, Sanford & Linda Gallanter, Louis & Richard England Family Foundation, Irwin and Joan Jacobs, the Bonnie and Marty Tenenbaum Foundation, the Edith and Henry Everett Foundation, and others.
    American Jews are funding the families of Arab terrorists who kill Jews in Jerusalem.

    Ronn Torossian is a New York based entrepreneur and author of “For Immediate Release.”
    George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton. the rather the kill them. 

    This includes Congregation Beth Am of Silicon valley who is a supporter of NIF.

    This is a violation of American non-profit laws and the Patriot Act. Someone is going to jail.

    Robin Rosenblatt (I am a former Israeli Soldier and Anti Terrorist Agent)
    The Israel Longhorn Project
    Nonprofit 501(c) 3 #74-3177354
    22 Yarnall Place
    Redwood City, CA 94063
    Tel: 650.631.9270 / Cell: 650.339.0269

  • Sharon Kay

    J Street is speaking out of both sides of their mouth. Why don’t they just join up with JVP? There’s safety in numbers…..

  • nelson marans

    What more can be said about a J street that pushes an anti-Israel agenda while trying to claim that it is a friend of that nation. The two-faced organization is a favorite of this administration and one can see readily why it is.