Monday, August 24, 2009

Exposing The J Street Fraud: Why is a "pro-Israel" Lobby Closely Cooperating with an Iranian Regime Front Group?

By Barry Rubin

Lenny Ben David has written a wonderful article on the J Street fraud, the anti-Israel lobby with the thinnest guise of being a pro-Israel lobby, extensively promoted by the media and even the White House.

He provides a lot of specific examples of why this group is being seen as hostile to the country it pretends to support. Research is only beginning into this nefarious organization and already the results are shocking.

But let me add some points. After listing support for J Street from anti-Israel individuals, including donations by them, Lenny writes:

“Why should a National Iranian American Council board member give at least $10,000 to J Street PAC? Perhaps it is because of the very close relationship between the two organizations. In June the directors of both organizations coauthored an article in the Huffington Post, `How diplomacy with Iran can Work,' arguing against imposing new tough sanctions on Iran.

“The two organizations have worked in lockstep over the last year to torpedo congressional action against Iran. Why would a supposedly pro-Israel, pro-peace organization work so hard to block legislation that would undermine the Iranian ayatollah regime? Ostensibly, any step to hinder Iran's nuclear development and aid to Hamas and Hizballah would be a step toward regional peace. Deterring Iran through sanctions would lessen the need for military action against Iran. This, as well as championing Hamas's cause, just doesn't make sense.”

But the situation is even worse than Lenny points out. The National Iranian American Council is widely viewed—and some researchers have presented evidence—as the unofficial lobby in America for the Iranian regime.

In other words, J Street is getting money and working with the group which supports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the world's most powerful antisemite who seeks to wipe Israel off the map.

Does that suggest something rather phony about its aims and claims? Is this really a group that the Obama administration wants to be promoting, because to do so sends a very negative signal both to Israel and to American Jews.

But let me raise two other questions. The organization’s leader is fond of saying that his group has supported Israel in the past. Yet I have never seen a single statement made or position taken which has backed the state of Israel on any issue or made any criticism of Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, Syria, or the Palestinian Authority.

What is astonishing is that the media has not pressed for such proof or researched the organization’s actual record.

A second issue is: precisely who is connected with the organization in Israel. AIPAC is the lobby for Israel and, despite baseless criticisms; it has always supported the positions of the government in power, left or right.

The Israel Policy Forum was historically linked with the Labour party, though this connection has seemed to have weakened in recent years as that group has moved ever leftward. Peace Now is another legitimate organization, though one can certainly disagree with its positions which, at best, are badly outdated by events.

But who are J Street’s supporters in Israel? Again, no indication is given and one is suspicious that there are no credible public figures who would take such a stance.

At least it does say something about the strong, popular American support for Israel that an anti-Israel lobby can only be organized effectively in Washington if it pretends to be the opposite.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog.

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