J Street Sides with the Palestinians

Here’s a short little story about J Street – the supposedly “pro-Israel” advocacy group that supposedly supports Israel, even if their student group can’t bring itself to use the label “pro-Israel” in their self-description.

The Flag of a Non-Existent State

Yesterday, the Russian Prime Minister was visiting with Mahmoud Abbas and declared that his country – which is a member of the Quartet, by the way – continues to adhere to their acceptance of the Palestinian state declared by Yasser Arafat in 1988.

In case anybody hadn’t noticed, there is no Palestinian state despite that declaration and the fact that approximately 100 nations accepted the declaration of that state. In fact, just 5 years later the Palestinians would enter into negotiations with Israel for the Oslo Accords, in which they were to negotiate a deal with Israel, outcome unknown other than peace between the two sides on the basis of UNSC resolutions 242 and 338.

Ha’aretz and Jerusalem Post both reported that while Medvedev, Russia’s PM, announced the re-support of the Palestinian statehood declaration, he did not specify whether he included eastern Jerusalem in the area under discussion. Today, meeting in Jordan with King Abdullah, Medvedev allayed any such confusion by specifying that “East Jerusalem” was to be the Palestinian capital.

This is an important issue because the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter are all inside eastern Jerusalem. In other words, the holiest sites for Jews as well as the heart of Jewish settlement in the ancient land of Israel, is in this area which he has announced shall belong to the Palestinians. To remind everybody who has forgotten, the Palestinian leadership at the PA just last month denied any Jewish connection to the Western Wall or Temple Mount, announced that not a single Israeli would remain in any Palestinian state and they have spoken of returning to the status quo of pre-1929 in Jerusalem at the Western Wall when Jews were restricted from praying at the wall while sitting, blowing their shofars or coming in large numbers.

Russia wasn’t the first to announce support for this state. In the past several weeks, a number of Latin American countries including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile have also all announced recognition of a Palestinian state on “1967 Borders including East Jerusalem.” There were no borders in 1967, because the Arabs refused to accept borders in their armistice agreements with Israel back in 1949, but no matter, this is the language used by the international community today.

Then, yesterday, the Palestinian delegation in Washington, DC, which is not an embassy because there is no state of Palestine, hoisted a Palestinian flag into the skies of the US capital. This, of course, to announce their intentions as other countries begin to recognize their non-existent state. The Palestinians are predicting that they will announce a state in August or September of this year and are busy convincing the international diplomatic community to support this announcement. Of course, the language they use is that of “1967 Borders including East Jerusalem.”

Is so happens that US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is a strong supporter of Israel and when the Palestinian flag was placed outside their mission’s roof yesterday, she came out against it stating the the move was,

“part of the Palestinian leadership’s scheme to manipulate international acceptance and diplomatic recognition” of their future state.

The lawmaker charged that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was rewarding the Palestinians, whom she accused of refusing to negotiate with Israel while seeking “shortcuts to statehood.”

“Governments worldwide will interpret such actions as tacit U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state. These actions send precisely the wrong message to foreign governments…”

Of course, she is absolutely right.

So what did J Street do today to support Israel as the Palestinians seek to steal away Judaism’s holiest sites from the state of the Jewish people? No, no, no, they didn’t blast the Obama administration or the Russian administration, just in case you were wondering.

No. What J Street did was put out a press release attacking Ros-Lehtinen,

The new Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen seems to see nothing wrong with taking large campaign contributions from Irving Moskowitz, a notorious funder of settlements in East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods.

Moskowitz actively works to derail the chances for a two-state solution by funding Jewish settler housing in the middle of Palestinian neighborhoods – and has been condemned by both Republican and Democratic US Administrations for undermining the prospects of peace.

With the two-state solution hanging by a thread, what a terrible signal it sends for an American political leader to be so cozy with a far-right political funder whose actions undermine the foreign policy of the United States and makes a two-state solution harder to achieve.

Let’s review that for a minute. They call it “East Jerusalem,” not eastern Jerusalem, as Israel and Israel’s High Court refer to the area. They call Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem “settlements” even though they supposedly support Israel which annexed the city. They attack Moskowitz, and by extension Ros-Lehtinen, for “derailing” the chance for a two-state solution even though it is the Palestinians who refused Olmert’s offer two years ago and have refused to negotiate since. And then they complain that somehow her actions undermine the “two-state solution hanging by a thread” even though it is the Palestinians with their attempt to circumvent the Oslo Accords and 17 years of negotiations who are undermining the two-state solution.

Looking at J Street’s website, there isn’t a peep about what the Palestinians are doing right now, or a criticism of the Obama administration for permitting them to walk away from negotiations and permitting them to hoist the flag of the state they were supposed to negotiate for. There isn’t a peep on their site about unilateral Palestinian efforts to circumvent Oslo Accords or to gain a state that includes Judaism’s holiest sites without coming to any compromise with Israel as per 242 and 338. There isn’t a word of criticism for the countries that have accepted this state.

J Street is only concerned about one thing: attacking a politician who said that raising the Palestinian flag over their mission in DC is emblematic of the Palestinian efforts to evade peace talks and recognition of Israel while gaining a state.

J Street is not Israel’s friend. J Street may as well sign on as the Palestinian lobby in DC.

UPDATE: The day following publication of this post, J Street announced that it supports the Palestinian draft of a UN Security Council resolution condemning any Israeli settlement activity. Of course, the draft refers to “1967 Borders” and therefore includes Jerusalem.

22 Comments

  1. Rabbi Daniel E. Bridge

    1/19/2011 at 8:49 pm

    Hard to believe that the tired Israel right-or-wrong argument that has helped keep Israel and the Palestinians at war for sixty-plus years is headlined on a blog like this. If Jewlicious is supposed to THE Jewish blog, I hope its writers will step into the 21st century and realize that the Jewish Community is not monolithic, but rather it’s comprised of Jews who populate many political communities and support a wide variety of positions on Palestinian statehood. If the author would have stopped to read JStreet’s position on Palestinian statehood, s/he would realize it is grounded in seeking peace for the State we love we’re tired of sending our children to war. Let’s make room in the Israel circle for Jews who have a different solution than war. Who knows, we might even be right?

    • themiddle

      1/20/2011 at 2:16 am

      Rabbi Bridge, it’s not the “Israel right-or-wrong” argument that has helped keep Israel and the Palestinians at war for 60-plus years. To remind you, Israel in 2008 offered the Palestinians a deal that actually included an international Holy Basin, 98% of the land of 1949 Armistice Lines (so-called ’67 Borders), eastern Jerusalem as their capital and a state. A Palestinian state. A real one, not an imagined one supported by Chile. The Palestinians refused, not the Israelis. The Palestinians walked away saying “the gaps are too wide,” not the Israelis. So the first thing we need to do when discussing this issue is stop pretending that everything is equal and that both sides equally want war or the prolongation of this conflict.

      Second, just like the Jewish community isn’t monolithic, neither is Jewlicious. Writers here write what they like, whenever they feel like it and without any editorial line or demands from anybody. I wrote what I believe.

      Third, I’m fine with a “wide variety of positions on Palestinian statehood.” I want peace. However, you can’t sugarcoat the meaning of “East Jerusalem” as a Palestinian capital in the context of “1967 Borders” which is the Palestinian position and the positions of the 8 countries that have announced recognition of a Palestinian state over the past few weeks. That means that the Kotel, the Jewish Quarter, the Temple Mount and the entire Old City become Palestinian and are denied to Israel and the Jewish people. You also can’t sugarcoat the explicit rejection of any historical Jewish connection to the Kotel and Temple Mount by the supposedly “moderate” Palestinian leadership which was announced, again, a few weeks ago.

      Fourth, if you want to support any number of positions on Palestinian statehood, great. The moment, however, that you support the position that these holy and secular Jewish sites should fall into the hands of the people who lie about our history and connection to these places and who have been explicit about their future plans to prevent Jews from living among them, about Jews being restricted to pre-1929 prayer rules at the Kotel and Jewish access to these areas, then you are simply in the corner of Israel’s enemies. You reject Israel’s raison d’etre, you reject Israel’s history, you reject the history of the Jewish people and you reject justice. I don’t see how you can claim otherwise.

      J Street says a lot of things, but then its actions display something else. In the case about which I’m reporting, J Street went after an American politician on the day after she criticized the Palestinian flag-raising in DC as an overt sign of Palestinian attempts to circumvent a peace process. J Street didn’t – and I went into their site and looked at both their blog and their newsroom to check – criticize the Palestinians for their unilateral steps or for seeking recognition of a paper state that includes the Kotel and Temple Mount. No, J Street didn’t have time to do that. But they did have time to attack a pro-Israel politician who merely pointed out that the Palestinians were making great efforts to ignore their commitments to Israel via the Oslo Accords and to establish a state without having to give up peace in return. And note that the Palestinians and their recognizing states are explicitly including “East Jerusalem” in their recognition.

      Why would J Street ignore what the Palestinians are doing and what these other countries that recognized them have accepted while attacking a politician who criticizes the Obama administration for permitting the Palestinians to hoist the flag of their non-existent state as part of this push to ignore Oslo and establish a state over our most important sites?

      Where, Rabbi Bridge, in the big circle of Jews who have a different solution than war, JEWS LIKE ME FOR EXAMPLE, should we place a red line that says, “there are limits because we respect Jewish history and the right of Jews to control their holy places, to live near them and to worship there?” Don’t you cross that line when you side with those who reject fundamental issues? J Street is acting as if it is in agreement with the latest Palestinian moves, which I learn by seeing them do and say nothing about the latest Palestinian moves while attacking an American politician who merely spoke the truth about what was happening here. There is no extremism expressed by her, or rejection of peace. On the contrary, she is pointing out that the Palestinians are evading their obligations to forge ahead with peace talks. Instead of agreeing with her fair points and criticizing the Palestinian flag raising, J Street attacks her and ignores the flag. That flag, as part of the recent push for a Palestinian state with “1967 East Jerusalem,” can only be understood in the context of a Palestinian denial of Jewish history, the denial of Jewish rights over the most important physical sites in Israel and, as a corollary, the denial of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

      The people who support these views are the ones assuring us all of future wars, not those of us who point to the problems inherent with these views.

    • ben yaacov

      1/20/2011 at 2:51 pm

      @Rabbi Bridge.
      Rabbi Bridge you really put the CHUTZPAH IN chutzpah! The ONLY reason there has been no peace for the last 60+ years is the Arab refusal of EVERY peace offer in that time and their unrelenting antisemitism that simply doesn’t allow them to view Jews as people with rights, much less any right to a state.

      Rabbi Bridge you talk about stepping into the 21rst century but conveniently ignore that Israel faces adversaries that haven’t gotten past the 7th century!

      Rabbi Bridge writes “we’re tired of sending our children to war” This is beyond chutzpah. You arrogant ^*&*%^$ a google search tells me you are an American, so what is this ‘we’ sh*t? Israelis are tired of sending their children to war that is sure, and that should give you, who just hangs out in the Hillel house at University of Washington, some pause before criticising their choices of government and second guessing the positions these governments take.

      Rabbi Bridge the writer is correct. The Palestinian position is nothing but an end run completely circumventing UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 by trying to establish a belligerent Palestinian state and make Israel yield territory completely contrary to the principle of land for peace.

      I have been to the JStreet website and the fact that Street can seriously suggest the 2002 Arab ‘peace offer’ is sincere tells me just how far outside reality they are operating. For those who don’t understand allow me to elucidate. The 2002 ‘peace offer’ was just another way of rejecting and going around UNSC resolutions 242 and 338. UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 states Israel is entitled to a defensible border. UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 talks about a just solution for refugees, ALL refugees not least of all the 1.2 Jewish refugees from Arab countries. That would more reasonably be interpreted as a compensation fund for all who lost property and settlement of Arab refugees in Arab states not least of all Palestine (Jewish refugees have already been settled).

      The 2002 Arab ‘peace offer’ demands complete withdrawal to the old armistice lines that were not defensible and states that all now totalling some estimated 7 million Arab refugees MUST BE SETTLED IN ISRAEL as the ONLY solution. It should not require explanation but apparently it must, settling 7 million Arabs in Israel is the end of Israel and any possibility for Jews to continue to exist there in any meaningful way.

      The fact that the Arabs continue to insist on a ‘right of return’ (leaving aside the border issues or Jerusalem) should inform any reasonable person that it is Arab’s policies not “Israel right or wrong” that is the only obstacle to peace.

    • tf

      1/20/2011 at 3:56 pm

      If to “step into the 21st century” means being smug, self-righteous and sanctimonious then I will just skip on to the 22nd century.

  2. Hmm...

    1/20/2011 at 10:27 am

    Have you considered changing your name from “themiddle” to “fringeright?”

    • ben yaacov

      1/20/2011 at 3:03 pm

      Name calling, hmm guess you really put themiddle in their place… not!

  3. Spin Doctor

    1/20/2011 at 10:50 am

    themiddle, what you’ve written is not only offensive, it’s also inaccurate. Being against settlements, which is a stance J-Street (and many in the Jewish community) takes, doesn’t make anyone “anti-Israel”. How would you feel if people who advocate for Palestinian rights labelled any Palestinian who was against violence towards Israelis as being “anti-Palestine”? That is essentially what you’ve done.

    Having reservations about political moves that the Palestinian delegation to the UN is fine, but just because J-Street criticized a far-right Republican for her stance, which does nothing to promote peace, doesn’t make them any less pro-Israel than you.

    In Israel and the United States, I am finding it particularly dangerous for people to label right-wing policies, no matter how extreme they are, as “patriotic”, “pro-Israel” or “Zionist” and anything that disagrees with said right-wing policies as traitorous, seditious, tyrannical, “anti-Israel”, or “anti-Zionist”. These either-for-us-or-against-us arguments are exactly what is wrong with Israel/Palestine discourse.

    • ben yaacov

      1/20/2011 at 3:06 pm

      @Spin Doctor Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is far right?

      You live up to your name.

      PS don’t bogart…

      • themiddle

        1/20/2011 at 4:10 pm

        To the person who suggested that I don’t belong in the center, you are wrong.

        To the person who is concerned about whether Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is right-wing, extreme right-wing, very right-wing or the right-winger of the month, this does not change the fact that her statement about the flag was 100% accurate. Also, J Street (and not only J Street, but some of the right-wing pro-Israel groups) is causing grievous harm to Israel by fostering the ongoing attempts to divide Israel into a partisan political issue in the US. Israel is much stronger as long as it’s a non-partisan issue. If J Street cared about a strong Israel, they would recognize this fact and lay off the Democrat/Republican divide.

        Tom, I don’t think your second paragraph is on target. The majority of Americans continue to support Israel. Even the Democratic party which has a large number of critics of Israel in its fold has a majority who support Israel.

    • Chris Berel

      1/26/2011 at 6:18 pm

      Israel has annexed Jerusalem. The annexation does not require the approval of the “International Community.” Indeed, Jordan previously annexed the area commonly referred to as the West Bank as well as Jerusalem. While only a few states recognized the annexation, it did not stop Palestinian Jordan from doing whatever it believed was legal in the area. Of course, that was mostly neglect.

      Israel has not forced its citizens to move into those areas of Jerusalem. Those citizens who moved did so gladly. Therefore, those housing units do not violate the Geneva Conventions and are quite legal. Anyone protesting such on the matter of legality is clearly anti-Israel.

      As for Pro-Palestinian being equated with advocating violence toward Israel, it appear the ISM has pre-empted your argument. Additionally, the recent democratic election of Hamas makes it quite apparent that pro-Palestinian is closely related to pro-violence.

  4. Jeremy

    1/20/2011 at 12:19 pm

    It is fine for a pro-Israeli organization to dis the government. But when Kadima MKs start questioning J-Street’s supposed pro-Israel stance, and Palestinians praise J-Street, well that raises some serious questions.

  5. Tom Morrissey

    1/20/2011 at 1:23 pm

    I gather Medvedev re-enacted Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River the other day, a gesture one hopes had more sincerity than his dilletantish turn as Middle East mediator. Alas for him, no one really cares what he or his country thinks.

    It’s a measure of how far we’ve come that Ros-Lehtinen’s views on this and other issues get her defined as a far-right figure. Israel’s losing the argument in the court of Western opinion. Maybe it doesn’t matter. We’ll find out.

  6. ds

    1/29/2011 at 9:36 am

    Hmmmm, not a peep yet on the release of the Palestine papers, and their effect on the “no-partner-with-whom-to-negotiate” fairy tale. Jewlicious readers better get ready for an explosion of verbal diarrhea such as the world has rarely witnessed in human history.

    • themiddle

      1/29/2011 at 9:44 am

      Why, ds, what did you learn from the “Palestine Papers” that we didn’t know already?

      Let me rephrase that in the form of a challenge regarding what we’ve learned from the Palestine Papers. Can you provide any new information about Palestinian positions that we didn’t already see in 2001?

    • tawil fadiha

      1/29/2011 at 5:09 pm

      DS it says more about you, confirms your prejudices about Israel, that you would believe something without any questions from Al Jazeera the Middle East version of Fox News. It could be I’m being charitable here more like Onion News.

      Here is a typical Al Jazeera story just in:

      According to sources in the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel is making preparations to welcome Hosni Mubarak into exile after Saudi Arabia rejected overtures.
      aljazeera.com/...

      That’s right Al Jazeera is reporting that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is planning on making aliyah. This is the same Al Jazeera that ‘revealed’ the ‘Palestine Papers’.

      • Chris Berel

        1/29/2011 at 6:46 pm

        I am still waiting for confirmation from Israel. This entire episode appears to be Palestinian copying Israeli demands on note paper. Nothing to do with Palestinian stands or counter offers.

        • tawil fadiha

          1/29/2011 at 7:47 pm

          I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. Israel has no real national interest in offering an official comment. It’s a lose/lose proposition.

  7. Xavier

    2/3/2011 at 7:46 pm

    As long as you control the media you will be able to spread whatever lies you’d like, and the uneducated public will believe. It’s not entirely your fault though. Arabs share the blame for being so weak and inept! But hey, look at what’s going on in Egypt. It seems those guys decided to wake up, and with channels like Aljazeera, you won’t be able to spread your lies like wild fire. Finally there is a place where people can hear the other side of the story.

    As far as I remember, Israel has never offered any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Not in 2008, and not at anytime after 1967. Your argument that you have a birth right to Palestine just underlines you extremism and disregard for other nations rights. If you choose to go back 2000 years to claim the right to the land, don’t forget that your god asked you to kick out and kill the PALESTINIANS at that time. So basically, even your holy book confirms that the Palestinians lived there before. Even more, it is so sad that you are using a religious argument to claim the right to Palestine. in the 21st century, where countries are built on secularism and tolerance, we have people who are basing their whole argument on religious beliefs! What if the Palestinians don’t believe in what your holy book says?!! If Muslims claimed that they have a right to Andalusia, that’s Spain if you don’t read enough to know, or Rome do you expect the Spanish or the Italians to roll over and play dead?!

    It’s amazing how we in the US allowed people like you, and I’m not referring to all jews, to hijack our political process and our foreign policies with your AIPAC money.

    Now, prove me right and call me anti-semitic!! Because apparently anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a terrorist and a Jew-hater!

    • Chris Berel

      2/3/2011 at 8:33 pm

      Unfortunately, the other side of the story might just be a lie. Al-Jazzera put out lies on the orders of Saddam Hussein, if you will recall.

      It appears that Olmert and Barak offered part of Jerusalem. The Palestinian leadership could not comeback to the people without 100% of demands. At least they could not come back and live. That you do not recall is a rather meaningless statement. Your faulty memory is not a lien.

      There were no Palestinians living in the holy land 2000 years ago. The Arabs did not enter in any number until the 7th century CE. Additionally, Hebraic scripture is holy to Christians and Muslims. However, the reverse is not true. Therefore, both Christian and Muslim understand that Hebraic scripture grants the land to the Jews, today’s Hebrews.

      The US allows anyone with enough funds to direct the political process. Your ignorance does not excuse your racist remarks.

    • themiddle

      2/4/2011 at 1:10 am

      Xavier, you are a moron.

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