Have you ever heard of a supposedly “pro Israel” group that has issued more press releases condemning Christian Zionists than it has Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, Hezbollah and Syria combined? No? Then welcome to J Street, the self-described “pro Israel, pro peace” lobbying group that bends over backwards to insult Israel’s friends and supporters, especially evangelical Christians, and makes a living off of criticizing Israeli government policies.
I’ve discussed J Street’s naked anti-Christian bigotry before (see here and here) but since they are at it again (more on that in a bit), I felt compelled to undertake a little research project. I went to J Street’s website and surveyed the group’s press releases from the past year and a half. The results? To start, four press releases (including one from February 1, 2010) attacking John Hagee and Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Indeed, two of J Street’s first four press releases were devoted to slamming Hagee. Talk about misguided priorities: a purportedly pro-Israel group using all of this ink on Hagee and evangelical supporters of Israel at a time when Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria are stockpiling increasingly lethal weapons and publicly calling for Israel’s destruction.
In those press releases, J Street essentially painted Hagee–a man Senator (and orthodox Jew) Joseph Lieberman once compared to Moses–as a closet anti-Semite and portrayed Christian supporters of Israel as some sort of wild-eyed, apocalyptic death cult (a strategy which this release by J Street’s founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, took to new extremes). But what may be even more offensive is that J Street has come up with exactly one–one–press release condeming genocidal Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadenijad. And zero press releases condeming either Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah or Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, two others who regularly threaten Israel’s demise. If J Street wants ”end times” and “apocalyptic,” then Ahmadenijad, Assad and Nasrallah–who all met yesterday in Damascus to plot further attacks against Israel–are certainly the real deal. So why the bizarre preoccupation with evangelical Christians, an extremely large and influential group that Israeli government officials of every political persuasion routinely hail as among the Jewish people’s greatest friends and supporters?
I was greeted by the same puzzling output when scanning through opinion pieces penned by “members of J Street’s Advisory Council and by its staff and friends.” No less than three scathing op-eds that mention Hagee or CUFI in the title, and others, like this one, that slam them in the body of the piece. Yet not one op-ed that mentions Ahmadenijad, Nasrallah or Assad in the title, or Hamas for that matter. Christian supporters of Israel and Israeli government officials, on the other hand, are specifically targeted for criticism. Again, this is a quite peculiar strategy for a “pro-Israel” group to pursue.
Which brings us to the latest example. J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami once again mischaracterized CUFI recently, erroneously claiming that the group contributed money to a certain Israeli organization. I won’t go into all the details here–rather, I strongly encourage you to read two comprehensive responses to J Street written by a pair of CUFI spokesmen (see here and here).
Bottom line: J Street’s press releases, writings and public statements reflect a great deal of time and energy spent cutting down Israel’s friends and supporters–with a special venom reserved for evangelical Christians–not to mention, the Netanyahu government. On the other hand, the group has spent precious little time condeming Israel’s sworn enemies. You can call this perplexing tactic many things. Pro-Israel is not one of them.