This is rich: two far-Left Jewish groups hitting another far-Left group for noting correctly that an unsavory Islamic supremacist organization is anti-Israel. Yet J Street is anti-Israel as well. Isi Liebler, former chairman of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress, has challenged J Street’s “duplicity in trying to masquerade as a Jewish mainstream “˜pro-Israel” organisation while consistently campaigning against the Jewish state.” Philip Klein, The American Spectator“s Washington correspondent, has noted that “while the group bills itself as the “˜pro Israel” and “˜pro peace” alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in reality it is a liberal organization actively campaigning against Israel’s right to defend itself.”
According to Liebler, as of October 2009 “Arab and pro-Iranian elements were providing approximately 10% of J Street funding, a somewhat bizarre situation for a genuinely “˜pro-Israel” organisation.” Federal Election Commission records showed that tens of thousands of dollars flowed in to J Street from Arabs and Muslims, including some donations from groups involved in agitating for the “Palestinian” jihad.
The ADL, meanwhile, although it is right about MPAC, has defamed Pamela Geller and me for speaking out against Islamic supremacists just like those of MPAC. They have libeled the preeminent lawyer and orthodox Jew David Yerushalmi, a leading authority on Sharia oppression, as an “extremist,” an “anti-Muslim bigot” and a “white supremacist.” The ADL has even condemned Israel for fighting anti-Semitism. According to Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance: “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — biggest Jewish “˜defense” organization — admits in private that the biggest danger to Jews since WWII comes from Muslim Jew-hatred, but because it fears offending its liberal donors and being charged with “˜Islamophobia,” the organization remains essentially silent on the issue. In a study of ADL press releases from 1995 to 2011– a good if not perfect indicator of ADL priorities — we found that only 3 percent of ADL”s press releases focus on Islamic extremism and Arab anti-Semitism.” (For the full study, see www.charlesjacobs.org.) Now when it takes a feeble stand against MPAC, it gets attacked by Jewish groups that are even more sold-out and compromised than it is.
Regarding MPAC, Discover the Networks has this:
Holding Israel entirely responsible for the “pattern of violence”Â in the Middle East, MPAC asserts that Hezbollah “could be called a liberation movement.” The Council likens HezbollahÂ members to American “freedom fighters hundreds of years ago whom the British regarded as terrorists.” In a November 1997 speech at the University of Pennsylvania, MPAC Co-Founder and Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati steadfastly refused to call Hezbollah a terrorist organization; he justified the existence of Hamas as a political entity and a provider of social programs and “educational operations”; and he equated jihad with the sentiments of the American statesman Patrick Henry, whoseÂ “Give me liberty or give me death” declaration was, in Al-Marayati’s view, “a way of looking at the term jihad from an American perspective.” In a 1999 position paper, MPAC justified Hezbollah’s deadly 1983 bombing of the American Marine barracks in Lebanon as a “military operation” rather than a terrorist attack. As Maher Hathout puts it: “Hezbollah is fighting for freedom, an organized army, limiting its operations against military people, this is a legitimate target against occupation. “¦ this is legitimate, this is an American value — freedom and liberty.”
In November 2011, MPAC held a Washington, DC event in honor of Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahda, the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate that had recently emerged victorious in the political elections in Tunisia. Ghannouchi is a longtime Islamist who, during the 1990s, was invited to the United States by Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian but was banned from the country. Yet by MPAC’s reckoning, Ghannouchi is “one of the most important figures in modern Islamic political thought and theory.”
Just a few months prior to the November 2011 event, in an interview with an Arab-language website, Ghannouchi had stated that the Arab Spring “will achieve positive results on the path to the Palestinian cause and threaten the extinction of Israel.” Added Ghannouchi: “I give you the good news that the Arab region will get rid of the bacillus of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas, said that Israel will disappear by the year 2027. I say that this date may be too far away, and Israel may disappear before this.”
“J Street, New Israel Fund pan ADL”s top 10 list,” by Daniel Treiman for the JTA, October 24 (thanks to Maxwell):
Apparently, not everyone loves lists “” or at least not every list. J Street and the New Israel Fund have rebuked the Anti-Defamation over its recent list of “Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America in 2013.” (And it wasn’t because the ADL didn’t include any GIFs or cute animal photos.)
The two left-leaning Jewish groups warned in a statement yesterday that the list “exacerbates, rather than quiets, unnecessary confrontation.” While expressing respect for the ADL, they wrote:
Issuing such blanket denunciations is ultimately self-defeating. Indeed, such condemnations have been issued, and are occasionally still issued, against our own organizations by various self-appointed guardians of ideological purity, who often turn out to be fronting an ultra-nationalist, pro-settlement agenda in Israel. That’s why we believe so strongly in open debate, why we do not launch guerrilla media campaigns against those who oppose our progressive values and why we must speak out when other organizations, including those with whom we profoundly disagree, are smeared with the same tactics.
In particular, they criticized the ADL”s inclusion on its list of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council. J Street and NIF noted that MPAC publicly supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (You can read a pair of MPAC policy papers on Israeli-Palestinian affairs here and here.) MPAC itself tweeted that it was “puzzled” by the ADL”s decision to put it on the list.
NIF and J Street suggested that the ADL is targeting MPAC because the Muslim advocacy organization has partnered with groups that advocate the use of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The two Jewish groups “” both of which oppose BDS “” conclude that this is “guilt by association and an unfair indictment of an organization that seeks dialogue with our community.”
But while the ADL does note MPAC”s co-sponsorship of events at which Israel is a target for harsh criticism, it also does cite numerous examples of MPAC”s own criticisms of and actions toward Israel that the league judges to be beyond the pale. (See pages 15-16 in the ADL”s full report.)
While MPAC has been at odds with Jewish groups over Israeli-Palestinian issues, it has also worked closely with segments of the Jewish community. It had particularly warm relations with the Los Angeles-based Progressive Jewish Alliance when the latter group was led by Daniel Sokatch, who is today the New Israel Fund’s CEO. (PJA later co-founded and was subsumed into Bend the Arc, a liberal Jewish advocacy group focused on domestic policy issues.)
The ADL”s list included a range of groups, which would likely have varying reactions to their inclusion on such a list. Whereas MPAC was puzzled, the fervently anti-Zionist haredi group Neturei Karta would probably have little objection to its inclusion.
Meanwhile, another listed group, Jewish Voice for Peace, issued a response blasting the ADL. But JVP also said that they “appreciate the ADL”s recognition of our growing strength, especially among younger Jews” and called it “a badge of honor, that the ADL would attack us on the basis of our identification with anti-apartheid and civil rights struggles.” (In the statement, JVP “” which neither endorses nor opposes a two-state solution “” neither concurs with nor explicitly disputes the ADL”s characterization of it as an anti-Israel organization.)
Along with MPAC, JVP and Neturei Karta, the ADL”s diverse top-10 list included ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), American Muslims for Palestine, CODEPINK, Friends of Sabeel-North America, If Americans Knew/Council for the National Interest, Students for Justice in Palestine and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Incidentally, J Street has not always shied away from blanket denunciations of diverse groups of ideological foes. Indeed, the first video that J Street produced to introduce itself back in 2008 showcased on a single screen nine individuals who it suggested were negative influences on Israel-related discourse in America, ranging from Christian conservatives like Pat Robertson and John Hagee, to foreign policy hawks like Bill Kristol and John Bolton, to Vice President Dick Cheney, an avowed supporter of a two-state solution.