With Friends Like These … (J Street)

The NGO J Street “organizes and mobilizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people. Working in American politics and the Jewish community, we advocate policies that advance shared US and Israeli interests as well as Jewish and democratic values, leading to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Why should an organization limit itself to ONE solution to a problem, thereby ruling out all other possibilities? What’s wrong with this statement from J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami:

“The vast majority of Democratic voters believe that the US should support Israel’s security, promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and oppose the Israeli government’s policies of occupation and creeping annexation. That approach is good policy and smart politics — which is why the Democrats should firmly commit to it in their party platform.” (jstreet.org)

Why does J Street limit its appeal to Democratic voters? Is it just Democrats who are pro-peace? To believe that is preposterous.

What’s wrong is that J Street promotes a two-state solution which Israelis don’t want (see below). Why? Because “Palestine” already has two Arab entities – Gaza and Jordan, both carved out of the British Mandate for Palestine, where the establishment of a Jewish “home” was specified by the global powers and the League of Nations more than 100 years ago.

The Palestinian Authority has zero interest in forming a state; it seeks only the destruction of Israel. Ditto for Hamas in Gaza. Jordan’s population is estimated to be 3/4 Palestinian Arabs, with shaky Hashemite royal rule. Terrorists are rife in all three entities.

Why is it that some Jewish Americans, including J Streeters, think they know better than Israelis what will bring peace between Jews and Palestinian Arabs? It’s some sort of hubris. Israelis, by a wide margin, recognize that leaving Gaza was a huge mistake, resulting in thousands of attacks on Israelis in the south of our country (primarily but not exclusively) by terrorists allied with Iran. Why then should Israelis even contemplate allowing a similar but more existential situation in the center of Israel adjacent to our major population centers?

Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, of the BESA Center (besacenter.org) says:
“Today, the left and right in Israel don’t really exist: at best there is a right and a center right. As Yossi Klein Halevi [journalist and author] astutely observed, Israelis are centrist [as] regards a Palestinian state as an existential necessity for Israel—saving us from the impossible choice between Israel as a Jewish and a democratic state, or the moral burden of occupying another people, from growing pariah status. But a centrist also regards a Palestinian state as an existential threat to Israel—risking rocket attacks from the Samarian highlands on the coastal plain, where most Israelis live, transforming greater Tel Aviv into Sderot, the besieged Israeli town bordering Gaza that has been on the receiving end of thousands of rockets over the last decade. A centrist has two nightmares about Israel’s future. The first is that there won’t be a Palestinian state. The second is that there will be.”

J Street promotes itself as a pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy group. But “pro-Israel” connotes Zionism (Jews living in their homeland) while “pro-peace” is belied by Arab dogma, which is plainly stated in the founding documents of all Palestinian resistance groups: NO to a Jewish state and NO to Jews living on “Arab lands,” whatever the human cost.

J-Streeters argue that Israel will not remain both Jewish and democratic as long as “Palestine” is occupied, but that is just semantics. Israel is the epitome of a democratic state, with a 25% non-Jewish population which has all the civil rights of the majority. “Palestinians” are not democratic and seem to prefer rule by autocrats. Nor is democracy promoted in any of the Arab states, the great majority of which are constantly on the verge of revolution among themselves or with their co-religionists in adjoining countries.

As far as the “moral burden of occupation” is concerned, the onus is on the Palestinian Arabs, who never have agreed to share any land with the Jews, who are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel. It’s a historical fact that there were few Arabs in this region until the Muslim Arab Conquest of 634-638CE, when the resident Jews and Christians were made “dhimmis,” residents with a subservient status to the Muslims.

Although Jews never left the Land of Israel totally, the increasing flow of Diaspora Jews returning to Israel in the 19th century was the catalyst which spurred Arab immigration to Israel from throughout North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. This was because Jews expended human and economic capital in what had been a dormant backwater under Arab and Ottoman rule. In truth, it’s the Arabs who are occupying Judea, Samaria, the Negev, and the Galilee, not the other way around.

Note: Because most of the Israelites returning from the Babylonian captivity (about 539BCE) belonged to the tribe of Judah, they came to be called Jews and their land Judah, the “land of the Jews.” Can Jews logically be called occupiers of Judah/Judea, which was named for its Jewish inhabitants? (Judah was renamed Judea, a Roman province, after the Roman victory over the Jews in the 2nd century BCE.)

According to the new campaign launch documents, J Street and J Street U [campus] activists will organize with College Democrat leaders, key Democratic Party stakeholders and progressive movement allies to build a broad base of support for this effort to undermine Israeli government policy in advance of the Democratic National Convention in July 2020.

This should alert all Americans who respect Israelis’ rights to run their country without its most important ally dictating to it. AIPAC, which once unquestionably supported Israeli government policy, should use this opportunity to take itself out of politics and return to its original stance, respecting Israelis’ wishes and not allying itself with Democrats or Republicans.

Whatever government coalition Israel eventually chooses, it deserves political backing from Zionist organizations and its allies, especially the US, no matter whether America has a Democrat or Republican as its President. With “friends” like J Street, who needs enemies?

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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