Open Letter to J Street

Eitam and Naama Henkin were savagely murdered last night by Palestinian-Arab terrorists near Nablus. They were shot in front of theirsix young, Jewish, Israeli kids who became orphans right before Shabbos. This continues a trend where Palestinian leadership incites violence against Jews, by any means necessary. At the helm of this campaign of Jew-hating rhetoric is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom you refer to as a “peace partner,” and whose party claimed responsibility for yesterday’s terrorist attack.

When I heard that your “peace partner” said that the Palestinian government was no longer bound to the Oslo Accords, I was curious if you would condemn this blatantly anti-peace maneuver. However, when I saw your Twitter feed and your website, I saw no condemnation. In fact, your silence is deafening – just like that of the UN in response to Iran’s threats to murder the Jewish state, a silence dramatically re-enacted during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent speech.

Somehow, the American Jewish “pro-peace” group did not seem to mind that Mahmoud Abbas stood there and renounced the work that Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat started over twenty-years ago.

So much for being pro-peace.

It’s worse: In your statement on the Henkins’ murder, you practically blamed the Jews for being murdered. Here’s how you put it: “The violence erupting throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem has already claimed too many innocent victims and risks further escalation on both sides.” This, as though murderous acts were amoral rainstorms that “erupt,” with no blame and no Arab agency. Then, “We call on all parties to take responsible action to curtail violence and restore calm.” As though to hint darkly that if those Jews would not have acted so irresponsibly as to drive with their children on roads that are regarded by your peace partner as “stolen land,” they wouldn’t have been shot. And then you warn the Jews: “If they do not, an already dangerous situation is likely only to escalate.”

In your world view the Palestinians must be seen always and everywhere as innocents, unfairly oppressed by stubborn Jews, innocents who just can’t stop themselves from murdering their “oppressors.” And so you do not hold them “responsible.” You don’t condemn Palestinian incitement for this murder. Instead you create a moral equivalency between Israeli “occupiers” and the Palestinian murderers. No matter how clear the guilt of the killers, you still find a reason to implicate the victims of genocidal terrorism in their own murder. Shame on you.

To use the language of your base, that is victim-blaming. It’s deplorable and inexcusable. Yet this is your M.O. Indeed, one of your major founding donors – George Soros, the fellow whose contributions you lied about before being caught — blames Israel and the Jews for anti-Semitism. And a former senior official, Daniel Levy, thinks that Israel, as a Jewish state isn’t a very good idea. And then there’s the problem you have with Jews, who are nicely running their own democracy, than you, and who make choices you don’t like. . The ADL calls your smear campaign against Israel’s elected premier repugnant; one of your biggest supporters says that Israel needs to be “punished” for reelecting Netanyahu; You continually try to use the American Congress to push an agenda that the Israeli public clearly does not want. This, in other contexts, would be called anti-democratic, even arrogantly imperialistic.

You cannot claim to be pro-Palestinian either. By supporting the Palestinian government as it is now, you seem okay with their leadership, especially its president, who embezzles millions of dollars in foreign aid into their bank accounts rather than investing in bettering Palestinian society. Furthermore, the current government includes Hamas, who commits extrajudicial killings against “collaborators” and forces Gaza’s citizens to store weapons and tunnel entrances. The Palestinian leadership does nothing against honor killings or against the persecution of the LGBTQ community. It is one of the most illiberal governments in the region, yet “pro-democracy” J Street still supports their government more than they support Israel’s parliamentary democracy. We know, you know better than the Israelis and your actions are all for Israel’s “own good.”

You are not what you say you are. In fact, you are worse than what you say you are. You have deceptively lured well intentioned, liberally minded college students into the anti-Israel camp. I know this because I had a Jewish J Street U student from Portland State University tell me that Palestine should “continue the good fight by any means necessary.” This includes the same terrorist attacks that led to four young Jewish, Israeli boys to lose their parents last night. Surely there are many more J Streeters – attracted by you, or “educated” by you — who think Eitam and Naama Henkin got what’s coming.

I hope their names haunt you, because you have been excusing Palestinian terror since your inception. Your apologetics toward this terrorist government put you out of line with Israeli society and the American Jewish community. As Charles Jacobs and I wrote a few months ago, you should be tossed out of the Jewish tent.

About the Author
Elliott Hamilton is a JD/MPH candidate at Boston College Law School and Tufts University School of Medicine. He was credited as a researcher in the 2016 film "Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus."
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