Friday, October 30, 2009

J-Street leads nowhere on Jewish refugees

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has not heard about J-Street, the new, hip 'pro-peace' lobby group that claims to speak for mainstream American Jews.

Sadly I must conclude that J-Steet have espoused the usual pro-Palestinian, Eurocentric distortions in the debate. These make 'Israeli occupation' and withdrawal from Jewish settlements in the West Bank the centrepiece of their agenda, not Arab rejectionism and incitement to hatred. They seem to espouse the principles of the Saudi peace initiative, complete with its ambiguity about 'solving' the Palestinian refugee problem with a possible 'return' to their homes in Israel.

I have looked in vain for any any expression of sympathy for the tragedy experienced by Mizrahi Jewish refugees driven out from Arab lands
. On the contrary, we have this astonishing statement from Michelle Goldberg, extollling J-Street on the Guardian's website Comment is Free:

How does a liberal justify the fact that a middle-class American, like me, has the right to become an Israeli citizen tomorrow, but that Arabs refugees born within its borders don't? If you don't believe in biblical claims, or in blood and soil nationalism, what's left is the fact that history has shown the necessity of the Jewish state, and Israel is the only one there is, and that not all political ideals are reconciliable.

What grudging Zionism from Michelle Goldberg. The phrase 'Jewish self-determination ' does not even figure in her vocabulary. How does a liberal weep for 'Arab refugees', but not the Jewish refugees that Arabs states persecuted and expelled - roughly half the Israeli Jewish population? History has certainly shown the necessity of a Jewish state for Jews fleeing antisemitism, not just in Europe but in the Arab and Muslim world. Goldberg, is like almost all similarly-aligned Jews on the Left, silent on what Israel has done to integrate these refugees, and what redress they deserve as part of a settlement of the conflict.


Anonymous said...

This is a front group. They get approximately 10 percent of their funding from Arab-american sources and who knows how much from other dubious sources.

Independent Observer said...

The group is a criminally arrogant attempt to circumvent Israeli democracy.

J-Street has the declared objective of convincing the US government to force actions on the Israeli goverment, in violation of the Israeli government's democratic obligations to its electorate.

US law makes it criminal for a private citizen to negotiate with a foreign government. Applyng the same principle, the Israeli government should prosecute those Israelis involved with J-Street.

Had J-Street any decency, it would be making its arguments in Israel, in Hebrew, to the Israeli public, not in English in Washington.