by Ari Lieberman
J Street gives platform to hard left and Israel-haters at yearly event.
On Monday, Israeli fighter jets targeted five Hamas positions throughout the Gaza Strip. The attacks came in response to night-time rocket fire emanating from Gaza toward Israel. The single rocket landed in an open field in the Shar Ha’Negev region, northeast of Gaza, causing no injuries or property damage.
It is unclear who fired the rocket. It could have been Hamas or one of its auxiliary groups like Islamic Jihad or some Salafist group. Nevertheless, Israel has maintained a policy of holding Hamas accountable since they are the Strip’s governing authority and are ultimately responsible for securing their borders.
Rocket fire from Gaza has been reduced to a trickle – one or two per month – since Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 counter insurgency campaign that gave Hamas a severe mauling. The Iron Dome system has succeeded in swatting away the reduced number of rockets that do get through. The system calculates the rocket’s trajectory and determines its flight path. If the system determines that the rocket will fall in an open area, it is left to go on its merry way. An anti-rocket projectile is fired only when the Iron Dome’s radar determines a more ominous rocket trajectory.
Nevertheless, even rocket fire at a substantially reduced level is totally unacceptable. Just imagine for a moment if any major U.S. city was subjected to the same form of barbarism. Few people would stand for it and the offending entity would be wiped out. Yet Israel for some inexplicable reason is subjected to asinine double standards that bind its hands.
We hear repeated calls for “restraint” from leftist quarters and idiotic banalities that reference “calls to end the endless cycle of violence.” Among the greatest offenders of this silly charade is a malevolent organization known as J Street.
The Soros funded J Street, which is currently holding its annual confab, touts itself as being “pro-Israel and pro-peace.” The sad fact however, is that this organization is neither. It operates as a Trojan horse of sorts, masquerading as a pro-Israel organization in an insidious effort to infiltrate the mainstream. As Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz noted in a 2015 interview with Tablet magazine, “J Street has been the most damaging organization in American history against Israel.” He added that “[J Street] will go down in history as one of the most virulent, anti-Israel organizations in the history of Zionism and Judaism.”
The statement represents a damning indictment from someone who is by no means a so-called, “right-wing settler extremist.” Nor is Professor Dershowitz a member of the Republican Party. He is a centrist liberal and a card-carrying Democrat. He’s been one for more than 60 years. Yet this is one issue where moderates and conservatives, right-wingers and centrist liberals all agree. J Street is a malevolent force that relentlessly seeks to undermine Israel’s legitimacy in every forum and venue.
A look at J Street’s current list of presenters speaks volumes about this organization and its vitriolic anti-Israel agenda. Two people in particular –Ayman Odeh and Saeb Erekat – stand out and warrant mention.
Odeh is a member of Israel’s parliament and belongs to the Hadash Party. Hadash’s ideology is rooted in a mix of Marxism, Arab nationalism an anti-Zionism. Odeh has a long history of incitement and use of inflammatory rhetoric to fan the flames of hate. He has refused to condemn rock and gasoline-bomb throwers despite the fact that these forms of attacks have often led to civilian deaths, including murder of children and infants. Odeh has also paid homage to Marwan Barghouti, an arch terrorist who is currently serving five life-terms for orchestrating suicide bombings, shooting and knifing attacks. He also visited Bargouti in prison on at least two occasions but glaringly refrained from attending the funeral of Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, an ardent left-winger with dovish views.
Odeh addressed the J Street crowd on Sunday where he implicitly called for a rejection of Zionism. In Odeh’s world, a world filled with hate and Islamo-supremacism, Jews are permitted to remain in “Palestine” so long as they retain minority status and know their station in the natural order of things. Naturally, the useful idiot J Street folks gave him ovations.
Another miscreant slated to make an appearance is J Street favorite, Saeb Erekat. Erekat is a senior Palestinian Authority adviser who’s made a comfortable living for himself leaching off taxpayer funded, Western donations. He is among Israel’s most strident enemies as well as an unrepentant congenital liar.
During Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, he claimed that the Israeli army massacred 500 civilians in the Samarian (northern West Bank) town of Jenin. The actual figure was about 50 and most of these were PLO or Hamas combatants. In 2014, he alleged that Israel killed 12,000 civilians. The actual death toll was about 2,000 and at least half of these were Hamas or Islamic Jihad combatants. Erekat never retracted or apologized for making these false allegations but then again, what spreader of blood libels has?
As an aside, Bernie Sanders, who is also slated to make an appearance at J Street, cited a similar figure during his presidential run until he was corrected and publicly shamed for propagating fake news. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and California Rep. Nancy (tell ‘em you’re a Muslim) Pelosi will be rounding out the bunch and joining Sanders, Erekat and Odeh.
No Republicans will appear at the anti-Israel conference. J Street extended an invitation to Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but they did not respond to the invite.
It is readily apparent that some within the upper echelon of the Democratic Party seem comfortable cavorting with assorted haters and Judeophobes. This should come as no surprise since the DNC’s deputy chairman is on record spreading disqualifying anti-Semitic canards and associating with extremist xenophobes like Louis Farrakhan and Khalid Abdul Muhammad. If this is the direction that the Democratic Party wishes to take, If they want to model their party after Jeremy Corbyn’s British Labor Party and send their party further into a hopeless tailspin, then so be it.
As I noted, not all Democrats share the odious views espoused by J Street. Centrist liberals and the moderate wing of the party have repudiated their views. Former lawmaker Gary Ackerman (D-NY) summed J Street up best when he noted that J Street “is so open-minded about what constitutes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.” The question is, will the moderate wing be able to hold off the Visigoths and that’s anyone’s guess.
Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.
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