Is it really possible to get all of the most important information about the no-longer upstart, but still disingenuous J Street into a one hour film, one that provides sufficient background information for the uninitiated to be able to grasp just what could be wrong with the organization that promotes itself as “pro-peace, pro-Israel”? It is. The Boston-based Americans for Peace and Tolerance have done it.
Here’s how they did it with the film “The J Street Challenge.”
They used a secret weapon: truth.
In this hour long exposé, executive producer, director and writer Avi Goldwasser and his colleagues lined up everything J Street says, who runs it, who funds it, and reveals the organization to be nearly the inverse of what it claims to be. The film is worth it just to see acting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas say the exact opposite of what Jeremy Ben-Ami describes him as saying. Or to have another leader of the Fatah Central Committee refute entirely what J Street fellow traveler Naomi Chazan claims the Fatah leadership says. Or any of at least another half dozen blatant misrepresentations made by J Street to sell its version of reality.
But the most significant achievement of the film is that it explains what J Street, at its core, is trying to do. As Ben-Ami himself explains in one chilling segment, J Street is about redefining the meaning of pro-Israel.
Rather than accepting that the definition of being pro-Israel should be “unquestioning support for the government of Israel,”(can you hear the sneer come through as you read this? It comes through in the movie), here, in Ben-Ami’s own words, is the J Street re-definition of being “pro-Israel”:
We define it as the active, urgent action to facilitate the Two State Solution.
“Pro-Israel,” in J Street-speak, means pro-Two State Solution. And that’s all it means. To be perfectly blunt: for J Street, “pro-Israel” simply means “Palestine Now.”
That 3 seconds of the movie makes it well worth your time to find out where the movie is playing and then going to watch it. And bring with you every parent, grandparent and college and high school student you know. Because they all need to see this film.
Once it becomes clear that for J Street, the definition of “pro-Israel” is forcing Israel to adopt the J Street goal – which may have absolutely nothing to do with what is best for Israel, for the United States, for the Middle East, or for anyone other than J Street – you will be far better prepared to respond to the smoke and mirrors that are being used in an attempt to “redefine” pro-Israel as demanding the creation of a Palestinian State. Right Now. Without any other objective.
Avi Goldwasser, the producer of “The J Street Challenge,” told The Jewish Press that the movie was made “in response to what we perceived as a one-sided discussion, dominated by J Street spokespersons, about the relationship between the American Jewish community and Israel.”
In the half dozen years of its existence, J Street has used its millions of dollars (some coming from non-Jews, from non-Americans, and even from some Israel haters!) in financial resources, public relations and marketing know-how in an attempt to re-orient the way American Jews think and talk about Israel and the conflict in the Middle East.
“We wanted to provide the community with the most articulate scholars, writers and activists about the subject,” Goldwasser explained.
Once it becomes clear that the J Street definition of being pro-Israel is only about promoting the single product they are selling, you are already in a much better position to deal with the promoters.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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