Friday, June 02, 2023

By Daled Amos

Last week the Biden Administration unveiled its plan to address the growing antisemitic violence that threatens Jews nationwide.

No one can deny the importance of fighting antisemitism, and the attempt by the Biden Administration to formulate a plan to do this is of course a positive step. However, some issues undermine Biden's plan from the outset.

One of the organizations Biden included to implement the plan is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is not known to be friendly to Jews. On November 27, 2021, Zahra Billoo -- the executive director of CAIR in San Francisco -- described to the American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) Annual Convention for Palestine that Zionists and their synagogues are enemies:
We need to pay attention to the Anti-Defamation League. We need to pay attention to the Jewish Federation[sic]. We need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues. We need to pay attention to the Hillel chapters on our campuses. Just because they're your friend today doesn't mean that they have your back when it comes to human rights…know your enemies, and I'm not going to sugarcoat that they are your enemies.

CAIR claimed that Billoo's comments were taken out of context and CAIR would "continue to proudly stand by Zahra." According to the White House Fact Sheet, this is the same CAIR that will be responsible to "launch a tour to educate religious communities about steps they can take to protect their houses of worship from hate incidents."

Another organization listed on the fact sheet as part of the fight against antisemitism is the National Action Network, which was founded by Al Sharpton, and used by Sharpton in 1995 to stage the protest at Freddy’s Fashion Martduring which Jews were called “bloodsuckers” and the protesters threatened, “We’re going to burn and loot the Jews.” In the end, one protester killed 7 people. In December 2019, the executive director of NAN's North Jersey chapter -- Carilyn Oliver Fair -- stood up for Jersey City Board of Education trustee Joan Terrell-Paige. Paige had defended the 2 shooters who targeted a kosher grocery store, killing 3 people inside and another at a different location. According to Fair:

[Paige] said nothing wrong. Everything she said is the truth. So where is this anti-Semitism coming in? I am not getting it.

Obviously, in order to fight antisemitism, it is necessary to recognize antisemitism when it occurs. For that reason, many organizations wanted to see the Biden Administration explicitly and unambiguously support the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition of antisemitism is widely accepted as the gold standard for defining antisemitism. It is used by the US, has been adopted by 26 US states and by 36 other countries -- as well as by the EU, the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe.

Contrast the wide acceptance of the IHRA definition with the claim made by J Street. 

Dylan Williams, senior vice president for policy and strategy at J Street claims that the IHRA is no help at all in the fight against antisemitism:
efforts to give the force of law to a single, controversial definition of antisemitism that focuses disproportionately on criticism of Israel does a disservice to Jewish Americans targeted by this hatred.

What has been widely accepted is, according to J Street, controversial. And as far as criticism of Israel is concerned, the IHRA makes it very clear:

criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

J Street is also among those who claimed that IHRA would be a threat to freedom of expression and criticism of Israel. This is a claim that has been made without giving actual, concrete instances where this has happened. On the other hand, a report on Understanding Jewish Experience in Higher Education has been published in the UK. It was researched over a 6 month period at 56 different universities. Besides noting the "underlying fear of being targeted," the report went further and pointed out:

Despite concerns expressed by some academics, none of the 56 universities spoken to could identify a single example of the [IHRA] definition restricting freedom of expression. [emphasis added]

Instead of using the IHRA definition, J Street is pushing for the definition of antisemitism given by the Nexus Task Force.

According to the Nexus definition:

Paying disproportionate attention to Israel and treating Israel differently than other countries is not prima facie proof of antisemitism. (There are numerous reasons for devoting special attention to Israel and treating Israel differently, e.g., some people care about Israel more; others may pay more attention because Israel has a special relationship with the United States and receives $4 billion in American aid). [emphasis added]

This is wonderful news!

As Lea Speyer points out, we can now attribute the UNHRC fixation with singling out Israel to it either "caring more" about Israel or because of Israel's "special relationship" with the US. The Nexus excuse for applying a double standard to Israel and singling it out for condemnation and punishment is worse than laughable.

Yet J Street supports the Nexus definition -- and no wonder.

Ben-Ami's interest in a contrary definition of antisemitism is not surprising. In fact, it could very well be that J Street opposes the IHRA definition on principle -- if it were to accept the IHRA definition, many of those whom J Street supports and allies itself with could be labeled as antisemitic.

For example, that would explain why J Street couldn't get their story straight about receiving money from George Soros.

In 2010, Eli Lake wrote in the Washington Times that from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 Soros and his 2 children contributed $245,000 to J Street. Lake writes that at the very time that Ben-Ami claimed to be "very proud" to have the support of Soros, the J Street website featured a "myths and facts" section which denied receiving any money:
George Soros very publicly stated his decision not to be engaged in J Street when it was launched — precisely out of fear that his involvement would be used against the organization.
Soon afterward, the website was amended with an addition:
J Street has said it doesn’t receive money from George Soros, but now news reports indicate that he has in fact contributed.

At the same time, a spokesman for Soros had no problem stating publicly stated Soros was very clear about his desire to be involved with the group and “has made no secret of his support" for J Street.

J Street's reluctance was based on Soros's anti-Israel stance. 

I don’t deny the Jews their right to a national existence — but I don’t want to be part of it.
A 2004 article in Commentary notes that in a speech to the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research in 2003, "Soros likened the behavior of Israel to that of the Nazis," an example of "his coldness toward the Jewish state. The IHRA definition explicitly points to comparisons of Israel with Nazis as antisemitic. On the other hand, the Nexus definition does not.

The current policy of not seeking a political solution but pursuing military escalation -- not just an eye for an eye but roughly speaking ten Palestinian lives for every Israeli one -- has reached a particularly dangerous point.
Soros's claim that Israel deliberately targets Palestinian Arabs mendacious.

Tablet Magazine noted in 2016 that in 14 grants since 2001, Soros had given over $2.5million to Adalah, which accuses Israel of war crimes. In 2013, the groups published a database claiming to have found 101 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian Arabs. NGO Monitor has an article debunking Adalah's claim.

The Tablet article, Soros Hack Reveals Evidence of Systemic Anti-Israel Bias, concludes:
there can be little doubt about the Soros-funded extensive and deliberate effort to delegitimize Israel while doing comparatively very little to address real human rights abuses in the Palestinian Authority or elsewhere in the region.
No wonder J Street was reluctant to admit to accepting money from Soros.

Similarly, J Street -- which claims to be pro-Israel -- has itself supported politicians who are antagonistic towards Israel.

Take for example J Street's initial support for Rashida Tlaib:

J Street supported Tlaib despite the fact that Tlaib:
o supported Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh
o supported Islamic Relief, which has links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
o accused Harris of “racism” for meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
o retweeted a post from Linda Sarsour supporting Ahed Tamimi, who was jailed for incitement and assaulting an IDF soldier -- and upon release voiced support for suicide bombing.
Did J Street consider any of this to be antisemitic? Apparently not. Maybe all of this merely falls under the category of criticism when in fact Tlaib was demonizing Israel.

The only reason they withdrew support from her was that Tlaib did not support a two-state solution. Nevertheless, J Street still gushed over Tlaib:
We strongly support and are encouraged by her commitment to social justice, and we are inspired by her determination to bring the voice of underrepresented communities to Capitol Hill. We wish her and her campaign well, and we look forward to a close working relationship with her and her office when she takes her seat in Congress next year. [emphasis added]
Then there is Betty McCollum, senator from Minnesota, who in 2018 was the first elected US official to accuse Israel of Apartheid.

Rep. McCollum has been a strong ally of the pro-Israel, pro-peace community since her election to Congress.

While Amnesty and HRW had to cobble together different definitions of Apartheid to single out Israel, McCollum did not back up her claim, and J Street simply ignored it.

In its most recent support for McCollum, J Street no longer praises McCollum for being pro-Israel -- but rather pro-Palestinian and uncritically accepts her claim that Israel holds children in military detention and praises her stance against evictions from Masafer Yatta without any context:

J Street also supports Mark Pocan, the representative from Wisconsin, who in 2017 anonymously reserved official Capitol Hill space for an anti-Israel forum organized by organizations that support boycotts while not attending the anti-Israel forum he sponsored. A senior Congressional official was quoted as saying that Pocan "chose to facilitate a pro-BDS smear campaign using taxpayer dollars without even showing his face at the event."

Pocan's sole support for boycotting Israel as opposed to any other country represents a double-standard, which explains his hiding his support at the time.

In 2016, Pocan was one of a handful of Democratic congressmen who met an Arab terrorist affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Shawan Jabarin was described as the General Director of Al-Haq, for a discussion on “Palestinian political prisoners,” but in fact
A member of the PFLP, Jabarin was convicted for his efforts to enlist support abroad for attacks on Israel. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but was released after nine months due to respiratory difficulties.
But J Street continues to support Pocan, in part because

Lacking in J Street's description is any mention that the destruction of homes is a measure taken against terrorist attacks or that "expanded settlements" refers to the building of homes within settlements, not building additional settlements. Similarly, J Street gives no details on how Pocan's "strong support for Israel's security" manifests itself or support for human rights of Israelis facing terrorist attacks. Also, no mention of Pocan's support of BDS and how it fits in with the J Street policy of not supporting BDS but not opposing BDS that supports a two-state solution, assuming that such a thing exists.

J Street's part in drawing up the Nexus definition of antisemitism shows that their support is not based on inpartiality. This is the definition they want and their claims about the flaws in the IHRA definition is merely gaslighting in an attempt to defend and maintain the double-standard that Israel is held to in the UN and by self-proclaimed "human rights" groups. J Street supports the disproportionate focus on Israel.

Back in the day, Ben-Ami bragged that J Street saw itself as Obama's "block back."
Just who is J Street blocking for now?

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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