fbpx
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Don’t Give J Street a Free Pass on Anti-Semitism

Print This Article

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has been widely condemned — including by the leaders of her own party — for her recent promotion of anti-Semitic tropes on Jewish control over finances and government.

It’s encouraging to see Democrats put politics aside for a moment and call out anti-Semitism within their ranks. It is time for the Jewish community to hold its fellow Jews accountable when they use the same rhetoric and tactics often deployed by anti-Semites.

You might ask: is it even possible for Jews to traffic in anti-Semitism? The answer can be found in the latest project of J Street, the self-identified “proIsrael, propeace” Jewish lobby group.

New evidence shows how the statements and activities of J Street U, the organization’s campus arm, were seemingly closely coordinated and virtually identical to those of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which has long been recognized as a leading purveyor of campus anti-Semitism. (For years, we’ve already known that although J Street states that it opposes the anti-Israel BDS movement, J Street U co-sponsors campus events with pro-BDS organizations like SJP).

At the University of Vermont (UVM) this month and on the same day, J Street and SJP each issued statements criticizing UVM Hillel for accepting funding from the Maccabee Task Force (MTF). Both groups falsely accused MTF and Hillel of suppressing “Palestinian voices,” while alleging that MTF-Hillel partnerships create “an unsafe environment” (SJP) and “unnecessary divides” (J Street).

J Street took its attack even further, using anti-Semitic tropes in its attacks on MTF’s primary funder, Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson. J Street U’s national Twitter account described Adelson as MTF’s “bankroller.” On Instagram, J Street U’s UVM chapter replaced the word “truth” with “money” in MTF Executive Director David Brog’s quote, “The truth is on our side.”

The anti-Semitic trope voiced by J Street U’s social media posts is unmistakable. It’s the same canard that Omar promoted when she tweeted that support for Israel in Congress is “all about the Benjamins.” In J Street U’s worldview, support for Israel on campus is also all about the Benjamins — the Benjamins of a Jewish philanthropist, Adelson.

We must call out anti-Semitism whenever and wherever we see it and no matter who the speaker is. Groups like J Street U that claim to represent the interests of the Jewish community cannot get a free pass for crossing the line from legitimate criticism to slander and anti-Semitism.

Ultimately, the haters will hate, and we can’t censor them. But it all comes down to how we respond. In the U.K., eight Labour members recently quit the party over the culture of anti-Semitism perpetuated by its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. That’s what standing up to anti-Semitism looks like. It’s also what meaningful self-reflection looks like — understanding that a plague exists within your own ranks and that you have no other option but to completely dissociate yourself from it.  

Following the example of those eight Labour members, Democratic leaders in the U.S. should stand up to anti-Semitism by removing Omar from her position on the House Foreign Relations Committee.

When it comes to J Street’s anti-Semitic activity on social media, the absolute minimum standard we should expect from fellow Jewish communal organizations and activists (including progressive ones) is to disavow the lobby group once and for all.

Why does J Street feel the need to attack Adelson, a fellow Jewish activist whose philanthropy includes funding young people’s trips to Israel, cancer research and Israel’s first mission to the moon? Why is accepting donations from Adelson any different than the funding J Street receives from George Soros?

The same progressives, who absurdly came to the defense of Soros when he was criticized about his funding of the BDS movement, should likewise condemn the calling out of Adelson.  

It was already clear that J Street isn’t the “pro-Israel” organization that it claims to be. Now, by trafficking in tropes on Jews and financial control, J Street’s rhetoric has crossed the line from anti-Israel to anti-Semitic.

Let’s not give J Street a free pass for it.


Brooke Goldstein is the Executive Director of The Lawfare Project.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Digital Platform Blends Technology and Spirituality for Easy Online Services

In 2011, Rabbi Daniel Medwin had an idea to digitize prayerbooks and project them onto a screen using a PowerPoint slideshow format. He never...

Adherents to Faith-Based Diplomacy See Political Boost for Israel

The Media Line: Josh Reinstein is the author of Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel, a new book just out on the power...

U.K. Labour Party Suspends Jeremy Corbyn Over Anti-Semitism Report

The United Kingdom’s Labour Party suspended former party leader Jeremy Corbyn on October 29 following the release of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s...

60 Years of Voting, 60 Years of the American Way

This year marks the 17th presidential election in which my vote will be counted. The first was the year of Kennedy versus Nixon — 1960. It was a big year for me. I became a wife. I began my career as an educator. I turned 21. And I voted.

Trump vs Biden: Vote Your Conscience, Veto the Hate

If your side wins, don’t crow. If your side loses, don’t cry. Whatever you do, hate quietly. Our country is going through a divisive and traumatic period, but we’ve seen worse and we will muddle through.

Birthday Wishes We Said Go Travel News Oct 2020

Oct News 2020 with We Said Go Travel: Due to COVID-19 pandemic, I have been in Los Angeles...

The Certainty of My Vote for Joe Biden

The American people are in a strange place this fall, days before election day. We are living through five crises simultaneously. A health crisis. An...

A Glimpse Into a Second Trump Term

While we have a demonstrative four year record on Israel, the Palestinians, and the wider Middle East that will not shift course, there are a few elements of a second Trump term that will be different than the first, with the groundwork now beginning to be laid.

Oscar Isaac to Play Jewish Superhero

Oscar Isaac, who portrayed an Israeli Mossad agent in “Operation Finale” in 2018, will star in the Disney+ series “Moon Knight” as a Jewish...

The Statesman We Lost 25 Years Ago

By pursuing Oslo, by doing what was right and not what was popular, Rabin distinguished himself as a statesman rather than a politician.

Culture

Oscar Isaac to Play Jewish Superhero

Oscar Isaac, who portrayed an Israeli Mossad agent in “Operation Finale” in 2018, will star in the Disney+ series “Moon Knight” as a Jewish...

Award-winning Documentary ‘The Last Sermon’ Set for Digital Release (with VIDEO)

THE MEDIA LINE — The award-winning documentary film The Last Sermon is set to premiere on digital platforms on December 15, Gravitas Ventures, a...

Rice Is Nice With Everything

Someone once said that rice is the food equivalent of khaki pants—it goes with anything. Anthropologists are divided over whether the popular Asian rice we...

Jon Stewart to Return to TV in Apple TV+ Series

Emmy-winning writer producer, director and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will return to television with a new one-hour, multi-season current affairs series for Apple...

Adam Sandler Goes to Space in Netflix Film

Adam Sandler, now starring in “Hubie Halloween” for Netflix, is going to space in his next movie for the streamer. He’ll play an troubled...

Latest Articles
Latest

Digital Platform Blends Technology and Spirituality for Easy Online Services

In 2011, Rabbi Daniel Medwin had an idea to digitize prayerbooks and project them onto a screen using a PowerPoint slideshow format. He never...

Adherents to Faith-Based Diplomacy See Political Boost for Israel

The Media Line: Josh Reinstein is the author of Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel, a new book just out on the power...

U.K. Labour Party Suspends Jeremy Corbyn Over Anti-Semitism Report

The United Kingdom’s Labour Party suspended former party leader Jeremy Corbyn on October 29 following the release of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s...

60 Years of Voting, 60 Years of the American Way

This year marks the 17th presidential election in which my vote will be counted. The first was the year of Kennedy versus Nixon — 1960. It was a big year for me. I became a wife. I began my career as an educator. I turned 21. And I voted.

Trump vs Biden: Vote Your Conscience, Veto the Hate

If your side wins, don’t crow. If your side loses, don’t cry. Whatever you do, hate quietly. Our country is going through a divisive and traumatic period, but we’ve seen worse and we will muddle through.

Hollywood

Oscar Isaac to Play Jewish Superhero

Oscar Isaac, who portrayed an Israeli Mossad agent in “Operation Finale” in 2018, will star in the Disney+ series “Moon Knight” as a Jewish...

Jon Stewart to Return to TV in Apple TV+ Series

Emmy-winning writer producer, director and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will return to television with a new one-hour, multi-season current affairs series for Apple...

Adam Sandler Goes to Space in Netflix Film

Adam Sandler, now starring in “Hubie Halloween” for Netflix, is going to space in his next movie for the streamer. He’ll play an troubled...

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 99: When Corona Meets a Chronic Illness

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A poignant story that captures our pandemic times, by Karin Katz. How do we manage our lives during...

Rabbi Reuven Wolf: Who Is The Jewish Messiah and When Is He Coming?

Rabbi Reuven Wolf of Maayon Yisroel Chassidic Center, takes us deep into Jewish mysticism as Sal and his rabbi explore some tough questions: Why...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

x