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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Ben-Ami’

J Street Recruiting Obama’s Jack Lew to Rob Regavim of Non-Profit Status

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street is pushing this month a petition titled, “Ask the Treasury to review the tax-deductibility of donations to groups aiding settlement expansion and Palestinian dispossession.” The umbrella cast by the petition appears to be broad, but the real target, as disclosed in an email sent out this week by Meretz MK Michal Rozin, is Regavim, a movement dedicated to enforcing the rule of law regarding illegal Arab construction everywhere.

In another email Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, sent his members in early September, he announced that he was pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution. Regavim has been very effective recently in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. Borrowing a page from the play book of Peace Now, which has been documenting every minute construction in Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, Regavim has become a pesky companion to every Arab attempt to defy the law, especially in cases where the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court, have ruled in favor of demolition. As a result, the Netanyahu government and its law enforcement agencies can no longer ignore these rulings and permit illegal Arab construction to flourish.

One of the most outstanding recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been their campaign against a squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya in Judea, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

As MK Rozin told J Street members in her email: “In 2016, they have already demolished more Palestinian homes than in all of last year. … This process is led in part by influential right-wing NGOs (like the group Regavim), which have been systematically mapping out strategically located Palestinian villages — like Susya — and lobbying the Israeli government to demolish them. Their goal is simple — to destroy the dream of the two-state solution.”

By “lobbying to demolish,” MK Rozin, who is entrusted with the rule of law in Israel, is referring to Regavim’s relentless efforts to push government agencies to enforce court rulings. Alas, that obedience to the law in Israel appears to be an affront to US foreign policy, which Rozin would like to thwart by taking away their American tax exempt status. “Incredibly, Regavim and their fellow settler groups often benefit from tax-free contributions coming from the USA — even while they actively oppose the two-state solution, undermining key US and Israeli interests,” Rozin wrote, adding, “That’s why J Street has called on the US Treasury Department to review whether the activities of Regavim should make them ineligible to receive tax-free contributions.”

Now, as promised by Ben-Ami in his email, J Street is making Regavim the target of Obama’s Jewish Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. In a three-paragraph appeal to Lew, next to the petition described above, J Street is directly challenging the Secretary of the Treasury to take away the tax exemptions of pro-Zionist NGOs whom, they say, obstruct US policy regarding the two-state solution.

The J Street spiel is reasonable on its face: “While the US has consistently opposed illegal settlement expansion, it has allowed Americans to make tax-deductible contributions to groups actively engaged in dispossessing Palestinians of their land and aiding the spread of settlements,” which is why “we’re calling on the Treasury Department to review whether tax-deductible treatment for donations to such groups meet the relevant requirements — and, if not, to cut off the flow of tax-deductible US dollars.”

But the above statement, like all political hackwork, is bereft of specifics and context, lumping together real and imagined targets. The most crucial omission is the fact that Regavim’s official mission has nothing to do with Jewish settlements or with the two-state solution. Instead, as their website states, “The mission of Regavim is to ensure responsible, legal, accountable and environmentally friendly use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation.” As such, they are just as effective regarding illegal Bedouin and other Arab construction inside 1967-border Israel as they are about Area C of Judea and Samaria.

The reason Regavim is being attacked by name is because they are not a Zionist movement of slogans and demonstrations (their rallies so far have been pitifully under-attended). They are a Zionist movement dedicated to upholding the law, and as such they beat the opposition at its own game.

Which is why it is highly unlikely that Secretary Lew would devote any time in the next three months to going after Regavim’s tax exempt status — but someone inside the IRS might. Stay tuned.

JNi.Media

Roger Waters, Aggressive BDS Advocate, at Haaretz NY Conference

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Roger Waters, former frontman for the 70’s rock band Pink Floyd and current number one international Israel-hater and aggressive advocate for boycotts of all things Israel, showed up at the New York City conference put together by Israeli newspaper Haaretz in coordination with the far-left New Israel Fund. Waters was treated like a…well, a celebrity.

Why Waters would show up at a conference put on by an Israeli newspaper is only confusing if you think of Haaretz as a newspaper which is anything but also aggressively focused, like Waters, on revealing and repeatedly emphasizing the most egregious accusations aimed against Israel.

First, a reminder of how much Waters hates Israel. A constant refrain of his is to compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa, facts – like Arab members of the Knesset, an Arab member of the Supreme Court – be damned.

In 2012, Waters spoke at the United Nations, condemning Israel as an Apartheid state, and blaming Israel for denying the “Palestinian” people their “inalienable right” to “self-determination.” That same year he was a leader of the effort to get Carnegie Hall to cancel the scheduled appearance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and he helped convince Stevie Wonder not to appear at a benefit in Los Angeles for the Friends of the IDF.

Roger Waters assailed actress Scarlett Johansson for working with SodaStream and musician Neil Young for his planned performance in Israel in 2014. In an open letter to Johannson, Waters called her choice to continue representing SodaStream and stepping down as a representative of Oxfam “an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.”

For years Waters has been bullying other celebrities, seeking to intimidate them into canceling any planned visits to Israel. This past fall, Waters went after Jon Bon Jovi who was scheduled to perform with his band in Israel. Bon Jovi snubbed Waters and performed in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on Oct. 3. The lead singer even told Israelis, to great applause, they should adopt his song, “We Don’t Run.”

The Haaretz/NIF conference was described in its promotional literature as “an opportunity for our community – those of us who care about Israel and about democratic values – to get together, to ask the hard questions, and to drive our movement forward.”

At the Haartz/New Israel Fund conference, dozens of hard-left Israeli Israel-bashers appeared, alongside such luminaries as Saeb Erekat, perennial spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority, Peter Beinart, an American Jewish pro-BDS advocate, Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the faux pro-Israel J Street, newly-appointed by President Obama ISIS czar Rob Malley, and many, many others who share a goal to publicly humiliate Israel through the pages of such media handmaidens as Haaretz.

Others were also slated as speakers at the conference, such as Israel’s president Ruvi Rivlin and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

But what was Waters doing there? He had on an official name tag, but he wasn’t a speaker (or singer). Maybe he had simply signed up to attend. For this he was  willing to put aside his hatred and refusal to be associated with, or allow anyone else to be associated with, anything Israeli, if the Israeli item is just as virulently anti-Israel as is he.

Haaretz writer and U.S. editor Chemi Shalev was apparently thrilled to be shown in a picture with Israel-hater Waters. He tweeted a picture of the two of them with the (untrue) caption, “Boycott/shmoycott, no Pink Floyd addict can resist the thrill of meeting Roger Waters at #HaaretzQ.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Obama Officials Tout J Street Polls for Jewish Support on Iran Deal

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

The Obama administration is leaning on Jewish leftists to pressure Jewish Congressmen to support an Iran deal by touting a J Street poll claiming that nearly two-thirds of American Jews support an agreement.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Matt Nosanchuk, the White House’s liaison to the Jewish community, advised dozens of “progressive” groups Monday to use the poll to convinced Jews in Congress to back a deal.

Nosanchuk reportedly talked with more than 100 Jewish officials in a meeting organized by the Ploughshares Fund, which the Beacon wrote “has spent millions of dollars to slant Iran-related coverage and protect the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts.”

The report comes two days after TheJewishPress.com wrote here that a recent meeting between senior White House officials and the anti-IDF Breaking the Silence group furthers President Barack Obama’s attempt to make the Jewish left, led by J Street, appear to represent the mainstream American Jewish community.

The J Street website last year ran a headline in capital letters, “Tell your senators: Don’t undermine Iran negotiations with new sanctions.”

It followed with the results of its own poll and an incredulous claim that implies that J Street speaks for most American Jews and that anyone who thinks differently is “underling” President Obama. The website wrote:

While 62% of American Jews support the way President Obama is handling Iran’s nuclear program, organizations that claim to represent the American Jewish community are undermining his approach by pushing for new and harsher penalties against Iran.

TELL YOUR SENATORS:

Though some American Jewish organizations are pushing new sanctions that will undoubtedly undermine negotiations, the vast majority of the American Jewish community supports President Obama’s diplomatic approach to Iran’s nuclear program.

That was last November, when a final agreement was to be reached by November 30.

Last month, J Street published another poll:

American Jews express strong support for a final agreement with Iran that increases inspections in exchange for economic sanctions relief. Fifty-nine percent say they would support such a deal, compared to 53 percent of American adults in an April CNN poll that asked the same question….

‘When it comes to the best way to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, these results make clear that American Jews overwhelmingly support the president’s diplomatic efforts,’ said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. ‘The numbers just go to show—once again— that pundits and presumed communal representatives are flat-out wrong in assuming American Jews are hawkish on Iran or US policy in the Middle East in general.’

The problem with the poll is that the respondents assume that a deal will deliver the goods.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll covered that point with the significant notation “that a plurality of Americans – 46 percent – say they don’t know enough to have an opinion.”

If the J Street poll had asked, “Do you know enough about the pending deal to express an opinion,” the results undoubtedly would be close to the NBC/Journal poll.

The “Jewish support” claimed by the J Street poll is, in the Beacon’s words, for “a hypothetical deal that does not actually exist.”

President Obama’s love for J Street serves both him and the left-wing organization. J Street, like The New York Times, acts as a puppet for the President who in return makes it feel important by supplying the string.

J Street acts as if it is the spokesman for the entire Jewish community and effectively leaves the predominantly conservative Orthodox camp out of the playing field, much to President Obama’s joy.

His strategy is to show Congress that if the Jews back a deal with Iran, obviously it must be good for Israel because they know better than Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu what is best for the Jewish state.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami Appoints Himself New American Jewish Rep

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

J Street is apparently indulging itself in a deliberate attempt to twist both the intent and words of Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks on his upcoming trip to Washington next month.

The group’s director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, writes with a Left wing bent that has in the past positioned him as one who sometimes walks the thin line separating support for the State of Israel from that for the border-free, terrorist-riddled entity endorsed as “Palestine” by the United Nations General Assembly.

And in a display ad appropriately bearing turquoise blue and black (like a bruise on the landscape) on its logo, J Street runs with the slogan, “The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.” A graver misnomer could not be.

“Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that when he comes to Washington next month, he’ll be speaking “not just as the prime minister of Israel but as a representatiave of the entire Jewish people.” I don’t know about you, but he doesn’t speak for me. Help us let his Ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, know: as an American, as a Jew – Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t speak for you.” the ad reads.

It then goes on to claim: “In the coming Israeli election, less than a quarter of Israelis will vote for him. More than half the Israeli public disapproves of his performance.

“And, here in the United States, where Jews overwhelmingly support diplomacy with Iran, the Prime Minister is deeply out of step with our community politically. “Make clear that no one person – even the Prime Minister of Israel – speaks for us all by signing our petition today.”

A link to J Street’s petition is embedded in the web campaign ad, which is also found in a “P.S.” that reminds, “Ambassador Dermer needs to hear from us.” and urges the reader to recruit “friends and family” to visit “DoesNotSpeakFor.me.”

Pretty slick. But the problem is, the statistics are really off. And Netanyahu never claimed to speak for every Jew. He said he is “representing” all Jews when he stands up to fight against the existential threat to Israel posed by anti-Semitism and Iranian nuclear technology development.

This writer wonders why Ben-Ami is picking a fight with Israel’s prime minister. In fact, it seems that over the past six weeks, everyone is picking a fight with Israel’s prime minister, and doing so with really cool, sophisticated slogans alongside. Sure looks like a well-funded fancy American-style ad campaign to me. American Jewish leaders organized to lobby Israel’s political leadership over Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress?

American Jewish heavy hitters coming out with weighty, well-thought-out statements offering sage advice to the prime minister on various ways to back out of his commitment to the Speaker of the House?

Vice President Joe Biden and a panel of top Democratic lawmakers notifying media about their plans not to attend Netanyahu’s speech to Congress?

A boycott on meetings with Netanyahu when he arrives in Washington by the White House, the State Department and all the rest of the U.S. top leadership, casually brushed off by President Barack Obama as “protocol” since the Israeli elections follow two weeks later?

Leaks to international media about meetings at the Munich Security Conference between Israeli opposition leader, Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog and a host of top leaders – including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and European Union foreign policy chief Federico Mogherini among them?

Not to mention frequent references by the U.S. president to his differences with Netanyahu on the “Iran issue” and most recently – yesterday, in fact – an outright plea not to “sour” a deal with Iran on its nuclear development activities under discussion between Tehran, the U.S. and world powers.

Rachel Levy

Terror Victim Protected ‘Mohammed the Zionist’ from Terrorists

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

A Israeli Olah, who played dead in 2011 and escaped the same deadly fate her American-Christian travelling companion met at the hands of Palestinian Authority terrorists, wrote on her Facebook page Saturday that she recently protected  “Muslim Zionist” teenager Mohammed Zoabi from Arabs who wanted to murder him.

Zoabi is a relative of anti-Zionist Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi. Kay Wilson said she hid him for nearly a month after death threats following his posting a YouTube video showing him holding an Israel flag and saying how proud he is to be an Israeli citizen.

Freedom of speech is not very popular among anti-Zionists unless it is to express hatred of Jews and Israel. Wilson posted a photo of herself and Mohammed on her Facebook page and wrote, “I want to use this extraordinary photo and the story behind it in the hope that people will see what a remarkable yet fragmented nation Israel is…..

“It was me, me, a terror victim, stabbed 13 times by Palestinians, who hid this Arab teenager in my house for nearly a month while Arabs were threatening his life. In addition to hiding him, I was also able to find Mohammed a wonderful community of Jews and Christians in the USA; a community that financed his schooling, took him into their homes, helped him with his visa and treated him like a son,” she wrote.

If it weren’t for Wilson’s having been a victim of terror, this would not have turned out to be one of those bizarre but not rare “only in Israel” stories.

She probably would never have thought of Mohammed, whose YouTube really shouldn’t be considered bizarre, despite an increasing number of  Arabs with Israeli citizenship who are turning against the country. They probably are a minority, but so are ISIS, Peace Now and Neturei Karta. There is no intention to compare these groups, but all of them have one thing in common – they make trouble far beyond what their numbers justify.

Wilson said she has suffered “lifelong” trauma from the attack that killed Kristine Luken, with whom she was hiking in the Jerusalem Forest when Arab terrorists stabbed them.

Wilson was born in England but moved to Israel several years after her first visit and eventually became a tour guide.

During their hike, the terrorists stabbed both women. Wilson fought her attacker but was overpowered. She was seriously wounded but conscious.

One of the attackers “came back a few minutes later to verify the kill. He stabbed me in the chest,” Wilson said. “A few minutes later I woke up, but not in the same place where I had been stabbed.” She played dead so the attackers wouldn’t finish her off. Lukens cried from her wounds until a final stab killed her.

Wilson wrote that she her trauma brought her to help Mohammed “because I admired his courage and because like me, he is a human being. I helped him because I know from the machete scars on my own back, that death threats should always be taken seriously.

“It was not one way. Mohammed helped me too. There are many things I am unable to do due to being in constant pain as a result of being beaten and smashed to a pulp by Palestinian terrorists. Mohammed was not a guest; he was a friend and a great asset,” she wrote on Saturday.

Wilson continued:

I also helped Mohammed Zoabi because our democracy – the only one in the Middle East – is flawed to absurdity.

In the name of our democracy, Mohammed’s relative, MK Hanin Zoabi irresponsibly abused her free speech by stating that kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers does not amount to terrorism. Upholding the value of free-speech is the essence of a democracy, yet abuse of any kind, including the abuse of free-speech, always has ethical and social consequences.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Film Exposé of J Street Reveals Decaying Core of Moral Narcissism

Friday, February 21st, 2014

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.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Podhoretz Storms Off 92nd Street Y Stage in Spat with J Street

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

See Shushed and Booed, Podhoretz Walks Out on 92 St. Y Panel for a better informed version of this story.

Commentary editor John Podhoretz stormed off the New York’s 92nd Street Y Stage Monday night in the middle of spat with J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami but denied reports that he said “students at Swarthmore College deserve to be spat upon.”

Jewish Daily Forward Jane Eisner, who moderated a panel discussion on the term “pro-Israel,” wrote in her account of the incident that Podhoretz “lost it when a member of the audience asked about the American Studies Association’s announcement Monday that it would boycott Israeli academic institutions over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.”

Ben-Ami agreed that the ASA vote was “hypocritical” but then launched into a tirade against Israeli government policies, which he said “make it difficult for some Americans to believe Israel really does want peace with the Palestinians.” Podhoretz angrily replied, Eisner tried to calm tempers, and he then stalked off stage.

The Commentary editor wrote following the incident that he had a “bad night,” and he clarified his remark on spitting. Referring to the Hillel group at Swarthmore College, he wrote, “What I said was that if you advocate anti-Zionism, you are calling for the destruction of the homeland of my family. You are free to do so, and I am free to revile you and spit upon you.”

“This bit of hysterical rhetoric was not my finest verbal improvisation,” Podhoretz added, but he emphasized that he did not say anyone should be spat on. “Given that an organization cannot be spat upon, the flourish here, though admittedly stupid and in bad taste, was clearly and entirely rhetorical. Aside from that, I wouldn’t change a word of what I said, though.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

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