As if people need further evidence that the left-leaning “pro-Israel” lobbying group J Street is a complete mess, the blog “Mere Rhetoric” has posted a video showing J Street co-founder Daniel Levy calling the creation of Israel in 1948 “an act that was wrong.”
Levy made the comments at a forum for Arabic news organization Al Jazeera last May. He said that he personally believed that the Holocaust “excused” the wrongful establishment of the Jewish state, but added that “there’s no reason” why Palestinians should think that the creation of Israel was justified.
“I believe the way Jewish history was in 1948 excused – for me, it was good enough for me – an act that was wrong. I don’t expect Palestinians to think that. I have no reason – there’s no reason a Palestinian should think there was justice in the creation of Israel,” said Levy during the panel discussion.
Video of Levy’s remarks appeared online on Tuesday, after J Street claimed his words were initially taken out of context by bloggers. The group’s “Myths and Facts” page insisted that “far-right blogs” were “misreporting” what Levy said at the event. However, the newly released tape disproves this allegation.
From J Street’s “Myths and Facts” page:
In an answer to a question on a panel he appeared on in Doha, Qatar, Daniel argued in favor of progressive Zionism. He did not call Israel’s creation "an act that was wrong.” He believes that the events of the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem included acts that were wrong, but that could be excused for him by the particular and unique moment in Jewish history that we were living through in 1948:
"I believe that where Jewish history was in 1948 excused, for me – it was good enough for me – an act that was wrong."
Daniel went on to say that he sees no reason why Palestinians would agree with his response to that history, "I don’t expect Palestinians to think that."
As Daniel Halper notes at the Weekly Standard, “J Street’s ‘Myths and Facts’ page has in fact been used for promoting myths rather than dispelling them.”
After The Washington Times reported that J Street helped coordinate meetings between Judge Richard Goldstone – the author of a virulently anti-Semitic UN report – and congressional leaders, the J Street website denounced the story as politically-motivated “fiction.” Even after the Times posted audio of interviews with J Street leaders admitting that the group facilitated the meetings, J Street refused to ‘fess up to the charges.
For years, J Street’s “Myths and Facts” section also claimed that the group had never received funding from anti-Israel philanthropist George Soros. But another investigation by the Times last month revealed that the organization has actually taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from the liberal financier. J Street eventually admitted to the lie, but not before angering some of the reporters it had repeatedly misled.
In response to growing outside criticism, J Street’s public relations team rolled out a self-pitying blog post on Monday, complaining that the group has been “shut out of the pro-Israel tent.”
The group’s spokesperson Amy Spitalnick wrote that “young Jews” like her are reluctant to discuss their opinions on Israel out of “fear of being screamed at or spit on.”
“For our sake, and for Israel’s, there must be a change in how our community discusses these issues,” wrote Spitalnick. “Our failure to confront this intolerance will increasingly shrink the pro-Israel community. When you shut the door to questions and constructive debate, you effectively shut the door to young people.”
But while Spitalnick is trying valiantly to spin the public, it doesn’t even seem like J Street’s top members believe the group is “pro-Israel” anymore – if they did, then why would they desperately be scrambling to cover up their own behavior?
Why would J Street lie for years about taking money from a toxic anti-Zionist like George Soros, unless it had some inkling that this action was at odds with being pro-Israel? Why would group members lie about giving political assistance to Judge Goldstone, unless they realized that behavior couldn’t possibly mesh with their self-proclaimed Zionism?
And why would J Street adamantly deny that its co-founder called the establishment of the Jewish state “an act that was wrong,” unless it knew this comment was deeply incompatible with the group’s alleged “pro-Israel” identity?
If J Street truly believes, as it says on its website, that it’s the political voice of “mainstream American Jews and other Israel supporters,” then its officials should have the moral courage to defend even their most controversial actions as “pro-Israel.” But by wildly mischaracterizing and distorting the Goldstone, Soros, and Levy incidents, the group confirms its behavior for what it is – totally inconsistent with being a friend of the Jewish state.
J Street’s opponents may have been arguing for years that the organization should be shut out of the pro-Israel tent, but J Street’s own actions may be the final confirmation.