web analytics
May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


J Street, Marginalized in D.C., Leeching into the Hillels

J Street immediately and brazenly reneged on a firm commitment to the University of Pennsylvania Hillel. Hillel refrained from calling them on it.

Diagram of Penn Hillel activities

Diagram of Penn Hillel activities
Photo Credit: Facebook

The controversial organization J Street had its first annual conference in 2009.  The organization initially snagged a large number of members of congress to speak at the conference, and an even larger number to merely allow their names to be used as “co-sponsors” of its Gala. But when word got out that despite its self-description as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization, most pro-Israel folks – including the actual Israeli government – had quite the opposite view of the organization, many congressional members beat a hasty retreat.

J Street has had its public ups, and even more public downs, with Americans who believe themselves to be pro-Israel. There was the revelation that while J Street said the virulently anti-Israel George Soros was not a donor, in fact J Street’s tax records proved that not only he, but members of his family were bankrolling the organization. There was also the J Street claim that the vast majority of its donors were American Jews, when it was later revealed that there were quite a few non-Jewish donors, and actually the largest donor for at least one year was neither Jewish nor American.  The list goes on.

J Street has recently been reduced to publicly crowing not about how many members of congress were willing to speak at its conference, but instead how many were willing to take its money. Imagine that! your biggest achievement is that a politician was willing to take your money.

But as J Street was slowly eased out of its comfort zone in Washington, D.C., it proved itself to be very adaptable. It oozed out into the countryside, where it was harder to mobilize a critical mass of knowledgeable critics.  At least in part because of that diffusion, J Street found homes at the municipal level. The Big Tent approach of most mainstream Jewish Federations was a tremendous boon, even more so are the fecund, ultra-liberal, anti-authoritarian pastures known as university campuses.

While some Hillels were initially wary, others were welcoming.

One Hillel which initially responded to J Street’s approach very gingerly was the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, a Hillel whose campuses include not only the University of Pennsylvania, but also Temple University, Drexel University, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College and Swarthmore College, as well as some smaller schools.

J Street approached HGP and asked to have the roll-out of its local J Streets hosted at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel, on Feb. 4, 2010. The roll-out was going to be webcast to 20 other cities across the country. The HGP leadership, anticipating the objection of at least some board members, extracted a firm commitment from J Street Chief Jeremy Ben-Ami. That commitment was an element of an agreement to rent the space to J Street as part of a business transaction. It was affirmatively not an ideological vote of confidence.

Not to worry, said J Street to the local Hillel leadership: “We promise not to mention that we’re using your facility, and to make clear in our written and oral statements that Hillel does not endorse us.”  That condition was agreed upon—it was “not just a promise, it was an agreement”—according to Rabbi Howard Alpert, the executive director of all the Philadelphia area Hillels.  On the strength of that essential agreement, Hillel went ahead and rented J Street its space.

And then? Within seconds of beginning his welcome to the live audience in Philadelphia and to all those listening and watching through the livestreaming, J Street’s Ben-Ami said exactly what he’d promised not to say—that he was speaking “here at Penn Hillel.” He failed to say a word about what he’d promised solemnly to make clear: that Hillel does not endorse J Street or its message.

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. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “J Street, Marginalized in D.C., Leeching into the Hillels”

  1. Ronnie Pleet says:

    JStreet claims to be pro Israel but is pro itself and it's warped agenda

  2. Eric says:

    Obama is a george soros employee

  3. J Street is Obama's outreach puppet to Jews.

  4. We Jews are our own enemy many times before and Ben Ami is the new guy on the block. He knows that he is hurting Israel but then he doesn't care. Hillel of Philadelphia is also guilty because indirectly it promote him. Shame on Hillel too. In the past I contributed to Hillel but I stopped. My contributions go now to Chabad that really promote Judaism.

  5. Roberto Zanconi says:

    What a shame!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
President Obama watches helplessly as his two-year-old Passover Seder guest throws a tantrum.
Photo of Obama’s Passover Seder ‘Fifth Child’ Tantrum
Latest News Stories
President Obama watches helplessly as his two-year-old Passover Seder guest throws a tantrum.

Two-year-old Claudia Chaudhary now is world-famous for throwing a tantrum at Obama’s feet during the Seder.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu had promised that he would head the ministry and work with the mayor.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini of Italy.

Netanyahu pacified the EU and said he wants to resume talks on new borders, which the Palestinian Authority total rejects.

Stray bullets from Gaza terrorists’ live-fire training exercises have landed in Israeli communities near the security fence, HaKol Yehudi reported Tuesday. It said that the IDF has claimed they were “stray bullets.” Hamas terrorists reportedly are carrying out live-fire training are paving a new road less than 200 yards from the fence.

Have the Border Police learned enough Torah the past year?

The Office of President Reuven Rivlin has denied reports that he will receive on Thursday a citation of honor from the left-wing New Israel Fund (NIF) on Thursday. It clarified that the Jewish-Arab Center at Givat Haviva, which is funded in part by the NIF, is awarding the President. Rivlin’s office stated: The Jewish-Arab Center […]

Woodstock was not so original, according to Israeli archaeologists.

Erdan is set to be sworn in as the new Minister of Internal Security, Strategic Affairs and Advocacy.

Effort to depose Rabbi Riskin are revenge against his positions and halachic decisions.

Appointing Gold, a strong right-winger, is a clear message to the Obama administration that Israel’s fed up with its illusions.

The Chief Rabbinate will invite Rabbi Riskin for a hearing on whether to extend his term, ostensibly because of his age but possibly because of his views on conversion.

Hareidi Jews dance as they celebrates the end of Jewish holiday of Shavuot at the Kotel in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday night (and that was after just 2 days, imagine how they danced in Galus after three!).

The terrorist organization also copied the Israeli phrase that Jerusalem always will be “undivided.”

Two cops who ordered a pizza vomited instead of getting high.

The terrorist organization’s “exposé” to a friendly Lebanese newspaper also is justification for the IDF to bomb human shields.

“You shall not take a bribe, for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts just words.” Deuteronomy 16:19

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The city of Palmyra in Syria was captured by ISIS on May 21, 2015.

This week ISIS captured two major cities, one in Iraq, one in Syria. Assad’s escape plan revealed.

Avigdor Liberman

Liberman apologizes for describing Netanyahu’s decision to meet with head of Arab Joint Party List as “autistic.”

Was the flub the result of the snub, or was Obama simply inadequately prepared for his meeting with the Saudi princes?

U.S. government documents reveal government knew within days terrorists were behind Benghazi attacks

Shaked: ‘ the judiciary, rather than the elected representatives of the people, wield the power to govern’

Yom Yerushalayim brought out lots of students, adults and supporters of Israel.

ISIS leader killed in raid by U.S. commandos, now ISIS ‘threatening to kill Obama and Christians.’

Iran caught red-handed trying to purchase equipment to pursue nuclear weaponization.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/j-street-marginalized-in-d-c-leeching-into-the-hillels/2014/01/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: