“Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel”: it sounds good as a slogan, but the leftist lobbying group of J Street, that claims to be more progressive than AIPAC, clearly isn’t living up to their catchphrase. In fact, J Street has crossed into dangerous ground. Its members, liberal Jews living in Beverly Hills, Newport and Westchester, claim to know better than the millions of citizens of Israel and are attempting to dictate to them how they should risk their lives.
The primary theme of their recent conference in Washington was “Let’s get the American government to pressure the Israeli government to follow our policy guidelines.” In other words, J Street’s new goal is for the US to force Israel into policies that Israelis don’t agree with. Things are dangerous today in Israel: to its south lies the terrorist regime of Hamas, whose self-proclaimed goal is Jewish genocide. To its north Hezbollah in Lebanon has over 150,000 missiles aimed at the Israeli heartland. Iran is attempting to use Syria as a military base to threaten Israel and is orchestrating its allies Hamas and Hezbollah. To top it off, the Palestinian Authority has a policy of “pay to slay”: kill a few Jews in a terror attack and you earn a lifetime salary.
And the leftist American Jews think they know the real solution to peace. If only Israel will be a little be nicer, change its policies on security and the West Bank, they say, a new era of peace will sprout. The Israeli political consensus is that this was tried in the Oslo accords, and there is no one who wants to make a deal. Since the Peel Commission in 1937, Israeli has offered compromises time and again and each time, the response from the Palestinians is that the concessions are not enough.
Now those sitting behind gated communities in upscale suburbs of the US think they know better than a democratically-elected government in Israel. If Israel does not heed their desires, they will lobby the US government to impose their will on Israel. J Street leaders say they will testify in Congress if they think Israel uses too much force in defense of the country or are not acting morally—and they claim the right to define what is moral.
And if that weren’t enough, when Senator Bernie Sanders demanded at the J Street conference that some military aid to Israel be diverted to humanitarian aid in Gaza, J Street responded with overwhelming support. Imagine if a Jewish leader would have asked, in the early years of World War II, when the US was still neutral, that aid to the UK be shifted to the German citizens suffering under the Nazis, and you’ll understand the absurdity. Gaza is a totalitarian terrorist state that uses every dollar it receives to wage war against Israel, to the detriment of its own citizens. The goals of Hamas and the Nazis are completely aligned with Hamas’ charter reading like a chapter of Mein Kampf, calling for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of every Jew in the world. J Street leaders didn’t just silently agree with Sanders’s preposterous proposal. They responded with enthusiastic applause.
It’s time for Jews to reject J Street. They are not pro-peace nor for that matter, pro-Israel. They are another incarnation of the many groups throughout Jewish history who seek to undermine Jewish interests—be it the Jewish Hellenists in the time of Hanukkah who sided with the Syrian-Greeks, or the Yevsektsiya, the infamous Jewish section of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union that waged a battle against Judaism. J Street is the newest manifestation of self-appointed Jews who think they know best, and they don’t. If they are such true believers, let them leave the safety of the US, move to Israel, join the army, and vote in Israeli elections. Until they are willing to place themselves and their children in harm’s way, they have no right to second-guess Israelis defending themselves.
rabbi DAVID eliezrie is a contributing writer to jlife magazine and senior rabbi at Chabad Beth Meir HaCohen. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.