In the days that followed the kidnapping of the three teenage boys, numerous Jewish organizations put out emails condemning the kidnappings. However, an email I received from JStreet on the morning of June 15th failed to mention them at all! Here is my response to JStreet regarding the email that was sent to their distribution list.
““Mad as hell” is quite an appropriate subject for this email, but perhaps not for the reason intended. Anger is one of the emotions I felt as I read the email. Others included disappointment, confusion, and surprise. This email came out at a time when the Jewish community in Israel and abroad is reeling from the kidnapping of three innocent civilian teenagers. Yet, there is not a single mention of this in the message. Not only is it not mentioned, but instead, the email states that Israel should be cooperating with the new unity Palestinian government, which includes Hamas. Not only is Hamas a known terrorist group, but the Israeli government has indicated that Hamas is responsible for the kidnapping. This brings me to conclude that JStreet, as a pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, believes that cooperating and engaging with people who seek to capture innocent Jewish kids will benefit Israel, its national security, and its citizens’ safety. The omission of the kidnapping from the email also leads me to conclude that JStreet does not in fact represent the majority of US Jews, as they do support the prompt release of the kidnapped teens. I am surprised and confused by the fact that pro-Israel, pro-peace group can take such a stance, and I am disappointed and angry that JStreet is sending the message to its constituents that the lives of the innocent teens don’t matter, and this engaging with terrorists is more beneficial to Israel than protecting its citizens.”
Given their track record, I really didn’t expect to get a response to my email. Surprisingly, I did. Not surprisingly, they didn’t take any accountability for their statements. The email pointed me to a blog post in which JStreet did condemn the kidnappings, and went on to tell me that JStreet does not believe Israel should deal with Hamas unless Hamas accepts the quartets principles.
I responded to this by saying “Thank you for your reply. I understand what your intent may have been, but two clichés come to mind that demonstrate its weakness. “Too little, too late” and “perception is 100% of the truth”. By Friday afternoon, those familiar with events in Israel were aware of the kidnappings, well before Shabbat. Additionally, many people who are on your email distribution list, myself included, do not check the JStreet blogs regularly. So, to these people, who woke up to the email Sunday morning, the perception JStreet gives is precisely what I indicated in my first email, one that is out of touch with the Jewish community and potentially dangerous for the security of the State of Israel. If this is not the view that JStreet wants to bestow upon its constituents, I suggest that you seriously reconsider the implications of the timing and content you produce.”
To this email, I got no response. If we’re lucky, maybe it got someone to think about JStreet’s actions, but I’m not going to hold my breath.