Wednesday, March 23, 2011

J-Street in Congress: EPIC FAIL

Here's a letter written by Representatives Steve Rothman and Steve Austria to President Obama:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We live in an increasingly complex world. Recently, we have been bombarded by news and images from around the globe about the popular uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and throughout the Middle East. We have seen the effects of yet another devastating earthquake, which struck Japan just days ago, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without homes and countless others dead. And we continue to live with the constant threat posed by North Korea's and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons as well as the danger of nuclear proliferation at the hands of terrorists. We write to request that, while all of these events are consuming the daily news coverage, we not take our eye off of working toward a goal that is close to all of our hearts: a peaceful and secure Jewish State of Israel.

We are sure that you share our disappointment in President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to withdraw from peace talks in October of last year and his stubborn refusal to reengage as a willing partner for peace with Israel. The continued intransigence of the Palestinian leadership is both hurtful to the prospect for a two-state solution and to a final resolution of the conflict that still plagues the Israeli and Palestinian people. Unfortunately, we live in a time when the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades will rush to take credit for the horrific, inhuman, and brutal attack in Itamar against the Fogel family, including three of their children, an 11-year-old, 4-year-old, and 3-month-old. This must serve as a wakeup call that the current state of affairs is dangerous and unacceptable. In that regard, we respectfully request that you do everything possible to urge President Abbas to root out terrorism, return to negotiations without preconditions, earnestly work toward peace with Israel, and slam the door on any effort to deal with final status issues at the United Nations.

As part of that, President Abbas must fully renounce any and all Palestinian incitement against Israel and the Jewish people. On March 8, 2009, a number of us sent President Abbas a letter calling on him ³to truly end anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement,´ but clearly there needs to be further pressure. However, Palestinian incitement continues and there is almost no effort by them to promote coexistence and peace. We would like to bring to your attention a report recently released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office entitled ³Culture of Peace and Incitement Index,´ that unfortunately shows that Palestinian incitement continues. Television programs run by the Palestinian Authority and textbooks in government schools continue to praise martyrdom and terrorists and call for an armed struggle against the Israelis. Incitement,especially by official institutions, damages the prospects of reaching a peace agreement betweenthe Palestinians and America's strategic partner and indispensible ally, the Jewish State of Israel,and only encourages terrorism.

It is our hope that an independent Palestinian state can be realized, living in peace alongside the Jewish State of Israel. While the United States must not and cannot impose a solution, our country has an important role to play in encouraging the two parties to restart direct negotiations. We respectfully request that you and your administration do all in your power to insist that President Abbas reenters peace talks, without preconditions, and demand that President Abbas eliminate all vestiges of incitement coming from his government, Palestinian entities, or officials.


STEVEN R. ROTHMAN Member of Congress

STEVE AUSTRIA Member of Congress

The letter is perfectly accurate and reflects longstanding US policy.

Yet J-Street opposes it!

From JPost:
J Street’s opposition to a congressional letter criticizing Palestinian incitement has led more members to sign on, according to Hill sources tracking the issue.

The letter to US President Obama, written by Rep. Steve Rothman (D-New Jersey) and Rep. Steve Austria (R-Ohio) in the wake of the Itamar murders, charges that “Palestinian incitement continues and there is almost no effort by them to promote coexistence and peace.”

It calls for the White House to “do everything possible to urge [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas to root out terrorism, return to negotiations without preconditions, earnestly work toward peace with Israel, and slam the door on any effort to deal with final status issues at the United Nations.”

In response, J Street sent an email to members of the US House urging them not to sign it and issued a statement attacking the its contents as “containing material omissions and misrepresentations of fact and presenting a biased and inaccurate picture.”

The statement specifically criticizes the letter for not acknowledging the PA leadership’s efforts to end incitement and blaming incitement for the impasse in peace talks.

“Contrary to the letter’s accusations, the current Palestinian Authority leadership has taken great political risks and shown real willingness to end the conflict,” J Street states.

While the letter was originally circulated only among members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, J Street’s email was circulated more widely and prompted many additional representatives to express interest in the letter. A final count isn’t yet available because the deadline for signatures has not yet passed.

J Street’s opposition to the Rothman-Austria letter has only increased the willingness of members to sign on. It begs the question of what are J Street’s goals,” said one congressional staffer. “If J Street’s goals are to have fewer people sign onto the letter, they’ve already failed.
J-Street's opposition to the letter also shows how hypocritical the group is. They oppose the letter in part because it isn't balanced - it shows a "biased ...picture" and doesn't mention the other side of supposed PA moves to end incitement.

Yet J-Street supported the one-sided, anti-Israel Security Council resolution on the settlements. It had no problem with bias then! To J-Street, the only party that has to compromise, and the only party that needs to be pressured by the US, is Israel. Not exactly how friends of Israel act!

Not only that, but the letter is correct. The PA continues to incite through its own media, as abundantly documented by Palestinian Media Watch. J-Street's refusal to acknowledge that shows, once again, that it is not a "pro-Israel" organization.

The good news is that Congress has caught onto J-Street's facade.

(h/t My Right Word)