This piece was published originally in the Times of Israel and written by CAMERA Israel trip participant, Naor Amir, on May 1st, 2014. Naor is a strong Israel activist at the University of Florida and is the founder of the pro-Israel group Zionist Gators.
A growing divide is emerging within the Jewish-American community. This divide largely stems from the increasing exposure and acceptance of the Israel advocacy and lobbying group, J Street. A self-declared “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace group”, J Street often finds itself embroiled in controversy when it comes to issues concerning the Jewish State.
While J Street claims to be a pro-Israel, Zionist organization, many of its actions and statements have raised concerns among American Jews. These include recent instances of J Street members wearing T-shirts justifying Palestinian terrorism, and J Street’s comfort working alongside Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is one of America’s main sources for disinformation and anti-Israel activity such as BDS. Some in the American Jewish community may remember hearing the sounds of J Street’s members’ applause at the 2013 J Street conference when Fatah’s Husam Zomlot advocated for the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. It goes without saying the Right of Return is an idea the majority of Israelis reject. And if that was not enough, J Street continuously takes the side of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as divisions grow between the Israelis and Palestinians in the American led peace talks.
J Street’s executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami recently rejected Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish State. This seems strange because Ben-Ami seems to be disagreeing with his own ideals and definition of Zionism. In a debate last month, Mr. Ben Ami stated that he himself would tell the Palestinians and those advocating for their national rights that he “will not recognize your rights, and work with you to fulfill them, unless you recognize my rights.”