Emergency Committee for Israel executive director Noah Pollak has written a letter to Ambassador Dennis Ross, urging him to use his upcoming address to the liberal lobbying group J Street “to explain why the Jewish State is not just one of our closest allies, but a country that fully deserves the admiration and moral support of all Americans.” If Ross does just this – express his support for Israel – he may not be received well, but “There are few moments when someone with [Ross’s] experience and credibility is invited into the anti-Israel echo chamber and provided an opportunity to dispel myths, combat falsehoods, deliver much-needed moral clarity – and state clearly that the United States stands with Israel.”
Pollak also notes the myriad anti-Israel speakers scheduled for J Street’s conference, many of whom have called Israel an "Apartheid" state, accuse it regularly of war crimes, and support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Here are just a few examples:
Quite a crew. Of course, J Street operates under the self-delusion that it’s a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby. If that’s the case, why can't it bring moderate, mainstream people to its conference? Why does it instead provide a platform to some of the most deranged, hateful, and fringe critics of the Jewish State? J Street's conference makes it clear that it has failed in its original mission to become a "rival to AIPAC." Instead of trying to be influential, today it is merely being destructive. Maybe it should change its slogan from "pro-Israel, pro-peace" to simply, "the Delegitimization Lobby."
Dear Ambassador Ross:
You have devoted your career to helping Israel find peace with her neighbors. In high-level positions in administrations of both parties, you have been a leading presence in the peace process for over two decades. Because you possess such a detailed knowledge of the conflict and the attempts to resolve it, you are capable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood, helpful criticism and destructive activism.
It is thus with some surprise that I learned you would be speaking at this year’s J Street conference. Speaking, that is, before a group that has worked diligently over the past three years to become a voice for weakening the U.S.-Israel alliance, for pressuring Israel to accept policies that Israeli voters have rejected as dangerous, and perhaps most important, for giving Jewish support to a global campaign of delegitimization directed against Israel and Zionism.
J Street has spent much of the last two years opposing sanctions on Iran while demanding that Israel refuse to consider military self-defense; it has partnered with leaders of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement; its inability to draw distinctions between Hamas and the IDF during the Gaza War was so striking that the president of the Union for Reform Judaism called the group “morally deficient” and “appallingly naïve.” And, more recently, the group was exposed as having dissembled for years about its sources of funding (much of it foreign) and about its support for the Goldstone Report. Rep. Gary Ackerman recently ended his relationship with the group in exasperation, writing that J Street is “so open-minded about what constitutes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.”
The conference at which you will be speaking is titled “Giving Voice to Our Values.” J Street’s values are most clearly articulated by the speakers it has selected for its conference. These include:
Will you challenge those who seek to brand nearly every Israeli security measure a war crime? Will you take on the inventors and proponents of so many false claims about Israel? Will you repudiate the Goldstone Report?
The pro-Israel community – and the American people – have great respect for Israel because of her consistent willingness to seek peace with her neighbors, even as those neighbors have used the peace process as a means to continue to fight. The American people not only understand and sympathize with Israel’s security challenges, but they refuse to be taken in by cynical and fraudulent accusations that aim to make it impossible for Israel to exercise her right to self-defense. Not only do they refuse to be fooled, they admire the Jewish State for the way it has created a vibrant and prosperous democracy while being subjected to constant terrorism, hatred, and incitement.
There are few moments when someone with your experience and credibility is invited into the anti-Israel echo chamber and provided an opportunity to dispel myths, combat falsehoods, deliver much-needed moral clarity – and state clearly that the United States stands with Israel. I trust that you will seize this moment to explain why the Jewish State is not just one of our closest allies, but a country that fully deserves the admiration and moral support of all Americans.
Executive Director, Emergency Committee for Israel