Friday, November 11, 2016

J Street mourns, pledges - and boasts - Hillel Fendel

by Hillel Fendel

Sad but combative letter highlights how far removed JStreet is from American and Israeli electorates.

The radical leftist pro-two-state solution organization J Street has released a mournful but combative letter to its mailing list in response to Donald Trump's election. It expresses "grief, anger and despair," and promises to work against much of his platform.

The organization states briefly that it "respect[s] American democracy and the choice the people have made," yet immediately pledges to work to overcome crucial planks of the positions chosen by the American electorate.

Specifically, J Street indicated it would intensify its efforts to fight for the nuclear agreement with Iran, which it claims "has made the US and Israel safer and helped avoid a potential war." This claim is likely true if one considers only the coming decade, whereas its terms actually make war even more likely after that period.

J Street also warned that America's "50-year commitment to the two-state solution will likely be called into question" in the early days of the Trump Administration. The source for this "50-year commitment" is not provided, but in fact, the U.S. first clearly supported two states only in 2002, when Pres. George W. Bush first called for this approach. He carefully conditioned it, however, on several things, beginning with the election of new Palestinian Arab leaders – "leaders not compromised by terror" – and on their building of "a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty."

Neither of these has occurred.

Bush continued, "If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts… When the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East."

The J Street letter states that Jewish voters "overwhelmingly agreed" that Trump is the wrong choice, and that "the vast majority of the Jewish community voted… to stand up against his agenda… We will fight any policy grounded in bigotry and discrimination against Muslims."  That is true only of non-Orthodox and non-affiliated Jewry, which, unfortunately, make up the majority of the Jewish community.

The apathy – or worse – of much the American Jewish non-Orthodox public towards Israel has been apparent for years, and its causes have been analyzed at length. The Israeli Jewish public, on the other hand, has its own approach to its national and historic needs and its security interests. The majority of its voters consistently choose nationalist and security-minded governments to lead them, and reject a conciliatory approach towards Islamic expansionism. 

J Street claims it is the "political home for American Jews and other pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans." Opponents of J Street, who are also pro-Israel and pro-peace, feel it is pro-Palestinian, and therefore, ultimately, pro-war. 

Noteworthy are the following J Street boasts: A record "99 Members of the incoming Congress (over half the Democratic Caucus) and 19 Senators are J Street-endorsed… We supported 124 candidates with a record $3.6 million, raising more through our PAC than nearly all other pro-Israel PACs combined... Not one Member of Congress who we endorsed and who supported the Iran deal lost their seat to a deal opponent. Instead, two of the most persistent opponents of the successful diplomacy that defanged Iran’s nuclear program were defeated." Nothing to be proud of, considering the direction Iran has taken since the deal.

Hillel Fendel, former Senior News Editor for Israel National News, is a resident of Beit El and author of One Thing I Ask on the siddur (Jewish prayer book).


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