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Guess who’s hosting a dinner

We’ve written several times about “J Street,” a collection of leftists who claim to represent “sensible mainstream of pro-Israel American Jews,” but who in reality are anything but pro-Israel. Here, for example, I noted that one of the most prominent Israelis involved with J Street, Avrum Burg former speaker of the Knesset, has said that “to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end.” He has also compared contemporary Israel to pre-Nazi Germany. Another key J Street member, Henry Siegman, has compared Israel to apartheid South Africa and accused Israeli leaders of having the U.S. government “in their pockets.”
In addition, we’ve pointed out that, unlike more mainstream Jewish groups that advocate a softening of Israeli policy, J Street has received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from dozens of Arab and Muslim Americans, as well as from several individuals connected to organizations doing Palestinian and Iranian issue advocacy. Unless one believes that Israeli interests are well-aligned with Palestinian and Iranian ones — in other words unless one is an idiot — it is abundantly clear that J Street is not pro-Israel.
J Street will hold its “Gala Dinner” at the end of this month. Sen. John Kerry and former Senator Chuck Hagel are among the keynote speakers. Hagel’s antipathy towards America’s close relationship Israel is well-documented and Kerry’s comes as no surprise.
The event is being “hosted” by 160 members of Congress, including 29 Senators. There are no Republicans among the 29, although Republican Mike Castle of Delaware, who has just announced that he will run for the Senate, is on the list.
It’s not clear that all of the members who agreed to “host” the J Street dinner share its agenda. Quite possibly some of them were fooled into thinking that the outfit actually is a mainstream Jewish group. On the other hand, no Republican Senator was so duped.
Nor, to his credit, was Senator Schumer. Whatever one thinks of Schumer generally, it’s hard to deny that he is among the very smartest and most pro-Israel Democrats in the Senate. To the extent that clueless Senate Dems (Blanche Lincoln comes to mind) are pro-Israel, they might have consulted with Schumer, or even Joe Lieberman, before jumping into bed with the Israel-bashers at J Street.
The host list makes for enlightening reading, particularly where Democratic Senators from the same state parted company. For example, Schumer’s colleague from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, signed on. Let’s hope she falls into the “clueless” category. There was also a telling split in the Virginia delegation (Webb is a “host;” Warner is not) and in the Minnesota delegation (Franken is, Klobachar isn’t). Webb isn’t clueless. Franken is, but probably not on this matter.
I’m happy to report that neither of my Senators (Mikulski and Cardin) chose to walk down this disreputable Street.
CORRECTION: Republican Senator Thad Cochran is a “host.” As far as I know, Cochran has a solid record of supporting Israel. Perhaps he should reconsider his association with J Street.

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