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Israeli Diplomat’s ‘Spanking’ of J Street Conference Removed from Organization History; Read Entire Speech in the Jewish Press


J Street's leader Jeremy Ben-Ami opened the 2012 J Street conference believing he received official Israeli recognition. Reality was stunningly different.

J Street's leader Jeremy Ben-Ami opened the 2012 J Street conference believing he received official Israeli recognition. Reality was stunningly different.
Photo Credit: Screen shot

Israeli Deputy Ambassador to the US Baruch Bina addressed thousands of J Street supporters last week, after his appearance there had been initially hailed as the beginning of a thawing of the official Israeli approach to the largely leftist and pro-Palestinian organization.

Ha’aretz was among those rejoicing in what appeared like a major coup:

“The official Israeli presence at the J Street conference is more prominent this year than usual. This year the embassy will be represented by its second-ranking diplomat, Baruch Bina, who will actually address the group. Bina has ambassadorial ranking and was until recently in charge of relations with the United States in the Foreign Ministry.”

Leo Rennet of the American Thinker pointed out that J Street’s leader Jeremy Ben-Ami “gloated over his organization’s ability to snare Bina as its stellar attraction.” Apparently, listing Bina as a guest on the conference program was marking J Street as a Jewish voice on Israel.

As it turned out, Ben-Ami was in for a big surprise.

How big a surprise? Here’s the page on the J Street website dedicated to the conference. It offers screen after screen of video clips of every speaker at the 2012 conference. Arabs and Jews, rabbis and secularists, men and women. Only one video clip is missing. I suspect you’ll never find that one, at least not anywhere near J Street. The Baruch Bina speech has been removed from J Street’s official history. Try searching for “Baruch Bina” on the website, you’ll get the curt statement: “No results found.” It never happened.

[A few hours after this article had been posted, someone at the J Street website rushed to the video page and entered the line: "Remarks from the J Street Gala Dinner by Jeremy Ben-Ami, Anat Hoffman, Barukh Binah, Theodore Bikel, Davidi Gilo, and Ehud Olmert" above the very last video, which is a 2 hour and 45 minute long recording of the entire evening.

When working on this article, myself and another Jewish Press editor have tried feeding all the various possibilities of spelling the Deputy Ambassador's name (Barukh, Baruch, Bina, Binah) and got zero results. That's how we know the line has been added after we published the piece.

Another clue – in their rush to erase the evidence of their erasing the evidence, the folks from J Street listed the people on the tape out of sequence, probably from memory.

And finally, there is the before and after screenshot (h/t Challah hu Achbar) which is the dead give-away.

J-Street website screenshot: Baruch Binah's name is missing before this article was published, and his name inserted (out of order) after this article came out.

Compare the treatment all the top videos received, with names and titles, clipped just right to present each individual speaker – compared to the Binah speech, which is buried around minute 35 of a 165-minute long video.

As always, the attempt to cover up the coverup is the most humiliating… YY]

Bina was welcomed with a standing ovation, which slowly transformed into shocked silence as the diplomat proceeded to rebuke his audience, or as Leo Rennet put it, “administer a forceful spanking” to J Street and its agenda.

We bring you the entire speech delivered by Baruch Bina at the 2012 J Street Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 26, 2012, courtesy of the Israeli embassy website. We think it’s a masterpiece:

Sixty-five years ago, there could not have been a Jewish ambassador, representing the Jewish State, speaking to a Jewish audience in a flourishing and confident diaspora. Today, I come before you, my Friends, to greet and congratulate you on your third conference and to discuss our common goals and possible disagreements.

Our story is always exciting and un-expected, but in the last 150 years we have surprised even ourselves. We rose from the Ghettos of East Europe and the Malah of North Africa to create a dynamic, resourceful and vibrant democracy in an unusually hostile and oppressive region.

Nobody is perfect; and, as a 7th generation Israeli born I know full well what needs to be fixed in my own society. I salute those individuals and organizations working for grass-roots improvements within Israel, and I personally attempt these corrections every four years when I cast my vote. Sometimes I have it my way, and sometimes I do not. It is called Democracy.

I understand that you, my friends, are all about future and hope. So are we, the young and most energetic country that we are. But while our view is towards the future, we dare not forget our past. History must not shackle us, but its lessons must guide us. And please, do not tell me that it is no longer relevant, because it is. (It is alive and scorching just like the trail left by an Israeli Air force F-16, flown over Poland’s valleys of death by the granddaughter of the commanders of a Ghetto revolt. It is alive in ink on paper as long as a 12 year old, an 8th generation Israeli born, dedicates her Bat Mitzvah Book to “members of my family whom I never met”, though nobody coached her in this direction.

We look today to our two flourishing communities – in Israel, and here in the United States; each shoulders an historic and current responsibility for the survival of the Jewish people. Our relations are therefore of the utmost importance, and we must guide them with principles that will ensure our partnership.

I come to you today not only as the second highest ranking Israeli diplomat in the US, but as a brother (and I have an extensive American family). We share your democratic values. But unlike your secure existence between these happy shores, an ocean apart from the bad guys, our borders are curved and dusty, and made of missiles and mayhem. As we continue to face intolerable threats, we sometimes have to make decisions of life and death. We welcome the opinions of our brethren in the Diaspora, especially on issues of Jewish identity and pluralism, but at the end of the day, it is we, the Israelis, who must bear the ultimate burden and may have to pay the ultimate price. And we, dear Friends and Family, have no margins of error; none whatsoever.

So, we need you to stand with us. It is as simple as that and someone ought to say it. Internal activism is a central part of democratic society, but Pressures on the elected government of Israel can present us with a problem, when we need you the most.

In this spirit of democracy and openness, I have to broach an issue with you, for J Street is not just an NGO that publishes a magazine and states an opinion in the free market if ideas. It is an organization that lobbies congress. You practice not only free speech but a legislative agenda. You don’t only publish op-eds, you bring members of Congress to the region. I respectfully submit that this relatively new role lays responsibilities before you which I am not certain have always been adequately considered. Thus, when you bring lawmakers to Israel, please make sure that they come out with a full picture.You may be critical of settlements, but if you choose to show the most extreme, it behooves you to present the greater mass of moderates as well. If you show them negative aspects of checkpoints, please show as well the catastrophe and grief of terror victims. If you show them Israel’s failings, show them also our triumphs such as the aliyah of the Jewish community of Ethiopia.  I urge you to strive for balance, so that these lawmakers may become friends of Israel who might be critical, and not critics of Israel who are not friends

I welcome the evolution in J-Street’s position, which brought about the recognition of the ultimate need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities. I hope that this will be followed by adopting President Obama’s policy that all the options, including a military effort, are on the table.

Likewise, I welcome your position against one-sided resolutions on settlements, and I hope that you will never go back to opposing a veto cast by the Obama administration, like you did in January of 2011.

I would like to express our appreciation of J Street’s active repudiation of BDS, and of your activity on campus to help stem this insidious ideology. Our shared view is that BDS is not a form of criticism, but a blatant, though veiled attack. I hope that the leaders of the BDS movement will not be welcomed at J Street, and that all calls for boycott will continue to be refuted. They use such appearances as a means of gaining legitimacy, and whatever actually happens in your fora, they report to their supports that they were greeted at J Street with enthusiasm and consent. Please don’t let yourselves be used. They aren’t honest players.

Regarding Iran, this radical, ideological regime represents an unparalleled danger to world peace and stability and a very serious threat to Israel, as its leaders continue calling for our annihilation. For this regime to have nuclear military capability is simply unacceptable. A nuclear Iran will never be contained.

Israel’s position is very clear. We support the initiative lead by the United States to take all possible measures in order to make sure that Iran gives up its nuclear military ambitions. We applaud President Obama’s clarification that all options are on the table, economic sanctions, diplomacy, and including the military effort.

Our region indeed harbors forces of radical ideology, unwilling to accept our very existence as a free nation in our own country, and while we pursue and seek peace, the Ayatollahs of Iran call loudly for our annihilation. They seek to develop nuclear weapons and support terror groups in Lebanon and in Gaza who attack us constantly and defy our right to exist.

Regarding our peace policy, a vision that Israel was established with. It is the vision of our prophets, from Isaiah to Herzl. Without peace our security will not be complete, but without security there will be no real peace.

The sands of the Arab Spring may go on shifting, but Israel remains committed to achieving peace with our Palestinian neighbors. We wish them well. Yet, our efforts to directly negotiate all issues are constantly thwarted by Palestinian rejection. We are willing to put all the contentious issues on the table, in order to bring an end to the conflict. But time after time we find out that the metaphoric table was removed, or cut, or blown up in the flames of Terror. We urge the Palestinian leadership to lead their people in the arduous path of peace, as true leaders do, and to forgo the game of the past, the game of hatred and virulent incitement. It is not a game of political Quidditch that we play here; it is a heavy-duty selection of choices that we must make.  A Hamas government is not a harbinger of peace and neither is an Iranian-backed Hezbollah regime.

However, the proof of the pudding, my friends, is in the eating, and so far we are only fed with the old, stale and hateful anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish slogans, as if nothing is happening. I read the sober remarks of Judea Pearle, father of the late WSJ reporter Daniel Pearle, over the last weekend. He said: “I grew up in Israel in a culture of peace and coexistence … but I do not see a hint of that on the other side … there is still no Palestinian leader who can go back to his people with the words ‘end of conflict’” on his lips.

So, while we cling on to our quest for peace we must be very careful and keep our shields up. Especially when repressive regimes such as Iran’s or Syria’s continue to butcher their own citizenry (like in Teheran 2 years ago and in Homs, 2 days ago); especially when they go on spewing their venom, and especially when they strive to build a nuclear arsenal that might attempt, God forbid, to put an end to the Jewish Question, this time in the Middle East.

We are grateful for President Obama’s statement that, “When there are efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, we will stand against them. And whenever an effort is made to delegitimize the state of Israel, my administration has opposed them.”  We are just as appreciative of the US administration steadfast support in the Human rights council in Geneva, and in other international fora, rebuffing one-sided unbalanced resolutions on the settlements, and the US insistence on Palestinian return to the negotiating table. I am sure you share with us the bond of “special relations” between Israel and the United States.

I have mentioned some of the challenges that we face, but I come before you today as the proud envoy of a cheerful and optimistic country. We should celebrate our tiny, little country. You all know of our superb military, our research universities, and our Nobel laureates, the contributions we make in science, health and Agro-tech. But how many of you know that, according to UNESCO figures, Israel ranks first, alongside the UK, in the number of new titles per capita per year?

We are still driven by the old flame, compelling us to exceed our potential, and this is the true essence and meaning of being a Zionist today.

Friends, I urge you to stand by our side as Americans, as members of your community, as Jews. For the sake of our forefathers and our future, we must keep our brotherhood strong.

Pamella Geller of Atlas Shrugged reported:

As the audience sat in near-silence, Twitter users who were live-tweeting the event immediately began detailing the mood in the conference hall. “Awkward! Israeli #2 Ambassador Barukh Binah is slamming #JStreet at its annual gala,” Twitter user @MeatyButcher wrote. @EmilyCadei added, “#Israel deputy chief of mission addresses/scolds #JStreet gala, NOT well received, heard some hisses.”

By the way, Leo Rennet pointed out that the NY Times has ignored Bina’s speech altogether. “None of Bina’s remarks, let alone his presence, made its way into the pages of the New York Times,” he wrote, adding, “With copious coverage of all the pro-J Street doings and utterances at the conference, why was this discordant note overlooked?”

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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3 Responses to “Israeli Diplomat’s ‘Spanking’ of J Street Conference Removed from Organization History; Read Entire Speech in the Jewish Press”

  1. Olya Kuz says:

    take that, J Street!

  2. Vadim Brand says:

    good post.

  3. Nissim Holand says:

    Another George Soros backed anti Israel organization. Jews that would support this organization are fools and have no understanding of the realities on the ground or the constant threat that Israel and Jews across the world endure on a daily basis.

Comments are closed.

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