Tzachi Hanegbi plays dumburged not to attend the J Street convention next month (link in Hebrew, translation mine).
This week, in light of my anticipated participation on a panel of six Knesset members at the annual convention of the American Jewish group J Street, I was approached by Ronen Shoval who heads the Im Tirtzu organization.Either Tzachi has no clue what J Street is, or he is playing dumb. As you can see by the title of this post, I believe that he is playing dumb.
According to Shoval the organization is an "explicitly anti-Zionist organization that works against the interests of the State of Israel," and therefore it would be proper to refrain from granting it legitimacy.
I set up a meeting with Im Tirtzu in order to better understand their viewpoint. Even so, I find it difficult to accept an approach that prefers boycotts to dialogue. The official website of the American organization defines its member as "American Zionists, pro-Israel and supporters of peace, who are acting out of love and deep concern for the future of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state." I too, like the overwhelming majority of Israel's citizzens, am a pro-Israel Zionist who supports peace. The argument between me and J Street, as with all other supporters of the Left, relates to the red lines on which we must insist during negotiations. It is important that the Likud's voice be clearly and unequivocally heard by them.
I don't believe in boycotts. Our camp was boycotted from the State's early days when Ben Gurion set a principle that was invalid at its core: Without Herut and Maki [two of the former parties that made up the Likud]! This is not our way. I prefer dialogue, strong arguments and mutual listening, especially when we are talking about part of our people.
Here are some of the things that Tzachi didn't bother to learn about J Street:
3. J Street joined with the pro-Iranian lobby, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), to oppose congressional efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. Ben-Ami and NIAC director Trita Parsi co-authored an anti-sanctions article titled “How Diplomacy Can Work with Iran” in Huffington Post in June 2009. At the Knesset, J Street Director Ben Ami lied and said that J Street had never opposed sanctions against Iran.More here.
4. J Street received large contributions from one of NIAC’s directors, Genevieve Lynch of New York. She serves on J Street’s Finance Committee, and her J Street PAC contributions exceed $10,000 per year.
5. J Street’s PAC received tens of thousands of dollars from one of the leaders of the Arab American community, Richard Abdoo. J Street’s relationship with the Arab American Institute is very tight.
6. J Street PAC repeatedly took contributions from a Turkish American, Mehmet Celebi of Chicago. The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign dropped Celebi in 2008 when they discovered he helped produce Valley of the Wolves, a viciously anti-American and anti-Semitic Turkish film.
7. J Street recently sponsored a speaking tour for John Ging, head of UNRWA in Gaza. The raison d’être of UNRWA is to perpetuate the Palestinian refugees’ status, thus encouraging their “right of return.”
8. J Street’s visit to Israel in February 2010 was cosponsored by an anti Israel group called Churches for Peace in the Middle East, an organization which supports the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) efforts against Israel.
11. Anti Israel Career U.S. Arabists are attracted to J Street, sitting on its advisory board or contributing to J Street’s PAC. These include Ray Close, contributor to the J Street. former CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia and then advisor to the head of Saudi intelligence; Lewis Elbinger, contributor to the J Street PAC a State Department foreign service officer who had been stationed in Saudi Arabia but now serves as deputy political advisor seconded to Gen. David Petraeus at CENTCOM; Nicole Shampaine, contributor to J street PAC director of the State Department’s Office for Egypt and the Levant; Amb. Ted Kattouf, members of the J Street Advisory Board, former ambassador to Syria and the United Arab Emirates; Ambassador Robert Pelletreau,member of the J Street Advisory Board. former ambassador to Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain; and Ambassador Philip Wilcox, member of the J Street Advisory Board, former U.S. consul general in Jerusalem and president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.
15. In January, J Street in Jerusalem held a special meeting to honor Israeli soldiers who refused to obey orders.
16. In March, J Street lobbied the US Congress against a resolution that condemned the blatant incitement in Palestinian school books and Palestinian media, while J Street refuses comment on the curriculum of the PA which openly promotes the violent struggle to liberate all of Palestine.
Their money isn't Jewish either.
Another lie that was exposed by Eli Lake on Friday was the claim that most of J Street's money came from small donations by American Jews. In fact, aside from the 15% that came from George Soros, 50% came from a woman in Hong Kong named Consolacion Ediscul.According to a source in Hong Kong, Esdicul is J Street donor Bill Benter's secretary.
The group's 990 forms -- which I've also obtained and put online for the first time here -- show the group's single largest contribution, in the odd sum of $811,697 coming from one Consolacion Ediscul of Happy Valley, a Hong Kong suburb. Ediscul, whose name is Filipino, has no presence on Google or Nexis aside from this story, and people I spoke to in Jewish groups left and right had never heard of her.
Someone needs to get to Tzachi and explain to him that J Street is not made up of or supported by American Jewish peace loving Zionists who are going to advance the one thing he cares about - his career. It's made up of people who are trying to destroy us. And he is about to help them.