ADL Blasts J Street: "Question Mark" About Pro-Israel Bona Fides
9:59 AM, Nov 20, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
When Sarah Palin offered her unqualified support for the Israeli government's policy of settlement expansion in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" J Street blasted her for "pandering to her right-wing base . . . at the expense of the security of the State of Israel." The group added that "the majority of Israelis and pro-Israel Americans . . . view the growing settlement enterprise as a threat to Israel's very future as a Jewish democracy." So according to J Street, Palin's support for the official policy of the Israeli government raised questions about Palin's pro-Israel bona fides.
Anti-Defamation League chief Abe Foxman sees things differently. JTA reports:
Two days ago J Street flacks were promoting the ADL's attack on Glenn Beck, now they're on defense -- J Street chief Jeremy Ben-Ami responds in a statement this morning that takes the form of an open-letter to Foxman:
Anyone who's been following the travails of J Street over the last few months has to be amused by that. Questions have been raised from all sides about J Street's claim to be "pro-Israel," including from those featured at J Street's conference, some of whom refused to self-identify as pro-Israel and others of whom went so far as to declare themselves anti-Zionist. And all the while, J Street has questioned the pro-Israel credentials of legitimate and well established pro-Israel organizations like Christians United for Israel.
J Street has explicitly worked to change the definition of what it means to be pro-Israel by pushing people like Palin out of the tent and letting self-described anti-Zionists in -- so is Ben-Ami the only one who gets to decide who is and who is not pro-Israel based on whether they agree with his views? Palin is without a doubt pro-Israel, and yet Ben-Ami blasted her -- why? Because she doesn't agree with his views, and because J Street is not a pro-Israel group but a partisan political organization that, in Ben-Ami's own words, seeks only to be Obama's "blocking back" in Congress.
Ben-Ami's writes today,
Of course Olmert supported precisely the policies of settlement expansion that Palin was defending. And of course the current government of Israel has publicly denounced J Street, refusing to send its ambassador or any other government official to its recent conference on the grounds that J Street's policies threaten to "impair Israel's interests."
So just to be clear: nobody's saying the Prime Minister of Israel is not pro-Israel, the Prime Minister of Israel is saying that J Street is not pro-Israel. And now he's being joined by the head of the ADL, Abe Foxman. And that's what J Street gets for opposing sanctions on Iran, questioning Israel's right to self-defense, and supporting the Goldstone report.