I read with great disappointment and even some disbelief, Larry Gellman’s article in TOI of August 27, “Alan Dershowitz stop whining and come to J Street as my guest.”
Mr. Gellman must be living in a different world than mine in his belief that for American Jews and Israel it is clearly the best of times and that we have never enjoyed the kind of prosperity, respect, security, and opportunities that the 90 percent of world Jewry who live in Israel and the U.S. enjoy today. Is he aware of the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate being spewed by students and faculty members at many American, British and European universities daily? The experience of University of Arizona Student AlexisI who wrote the following to Amcha on May 6, 2015, is typical of campuses everywhere:
Never in their wildest dreams would my parents have imagined that I would feel threatened or frightened over the fact that I am Jewish on an American college campus. The reality of the situation is that anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism masked, as anti-Zionism, has become the new reality of many college campuses throughout the country.
Gellman asks why smart, otherwise intelligent, and very accomplished people like Alan Dershowitz are speaking so much nasty nonsense to justify their seemingly insatiable need to pretend it is the worst of times? As I assume that Mr. Gellman is a smart accomplished person I suggest he ask himself the identical question.
It is interesting that Mr.Gellman refers to Dershowitz as being amongst his best and most admired friends, despite accusing him of distorting the truth.
It is not that Mr. Dershowitz’s description of J Street lacks substance. For example in relation to J Street’s approach to Israel’s self defense and war against Hamas, you will recall that Rabbi Eric Yoffie, past president of the Union for Reform Judaism, told J Street its implied equivalence of Palestinian terrorism and Israeli self-defense during the December 2008 – January 2009 “Operation Cast Lead” was “morally deficient, profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment and also appallingly naïve.”
With regard to J Street’s acceptance of money from anti-Zionists like George Soros you will also recall that for several years J Street denied that this Jewish Holocaust survivor, who distances himself from Jewish peoplehood and who blames Israel for all the mid-east woes, was Street’s its founding funder.
And J Street’s support of the Iran nuke deal without making any reference to its obvious flaws is financed by lavishly funded lobbying against those who fear that the deal is incapable of achieving the US original objectives.
Mr. Gellman’s reference to Dershowitz making a childish complaint that J Street has never invited him to speak at a J Street Conference is very misleading. Dershowitz complained not only that J Street hadn’t invited him but that his requests have been refused. This is what he wrote on the Gatestone site.
“I have repeatedly sought an opportunity to address the J Street conference. I have personally implored Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of J Street, either to allow me to address the conference, or to sit down with me for a public conversation in front of the group’s members. He has adamantly refused. We have publicly debated and discussed our differences in front of non-J Street audiences, but he has never allowed me to engage him in the marketplace of ideas in front of his own followers.”
Instead J Street invites prominent anti-Israel speakers including Saeb Erekat who has repeatedly accused Israel of war crimes, and committing massacres
Mr. Gellman alleges that every American who is committed to the safety and security of Israel is guilty of dual loyalty. If this were true President Obama, Secretary Kerry and thousands of other Americans who have expressed similar convictions would be equally guilty
In 2011 J Street called on the Obama administration not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that would blame only Israel for the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.
Lastly I would appreciate a clarification of how Mr. Gellman’s reconciles his membership of both AIPAC and J Street with their opposing programs. Is this a case of “dual loyalty?”