J Street Pushes to Make Israel a Partisan Issue

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), is a good friend of President Joe Biden and a strong proponent of supporting Israel in a bi-partisan manner. Unfortunately, the extremist left-wing group, J Street, continues to make that difficult.

Coons led a bipartisan and bicameral group to Israel to visit senior members of the Israeli government and members of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The group included Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA),  Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AK) and Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was excited to post this pictureHad an excellent meeting with a bipartisan US Congressional delegation in Jerusalem” on November 10, 2021

But the J Street extremist group did not want the left-wing politicians it supports to be part of this bipartisan meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister that limited its outreach to various Palestinian groups, so it arranged for its own competing delegation at the same time, showing complete disrespect for both Coons and Bennett. The Israeli Prime Minister had to smile while being treated as a mere tool in Democratic politics, taking yet another meeting and photo op with the J Street delegation on the same day.

Bennett tweeted: “great meeting Rep. Rosa Delauro (D-CT), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Mondair Jones (D-NY), Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), and Marc Pocan (D-WI) in my office in Jerusalem,” also on November 10.

J Street then took its delegation to Hebron where they supported Bowman’s tweetHad the honor of meeting with children today in the occupied West Bank city Hebron. There are streets they cannot walk and places they cannot go, simply because they are Palestinian. When I asked about their dreams, their answer was simple: freedom. The occupation must end.” J Street educated the congressman that Israel is racist, rather than educate him that it is Israeli Jews who are forbidden to visit 75% of the city.

Pocan added his own tweetToday ⁦@JamaalBowmanNY & I visited w/ Nasser of Susia in Palestine today to discuss Israeli settler violence to his village. We will be watching to make sure no violence occurs this weekend or anytime. Thanks ⁦@jstreetdotorg@BtSIsrael⁩! @Israel⁩ ⁦@IDF” with a shout out to J Street as he broadcast about “settler violence” in a place that the United States does not recognize, “Palestine.”

Send your support to Senator Coons for his efforts to support America’s strongest ally in the region in a bipartisan manner, and do your utmost to get everyone you know to stop supporting the alt-left group J Street. Call Rep. Bowman at (914) 371-9220 and Rep Pocan at (202) 225-2906 and share your opinions directly with his office as well.


J Street Politicians Blocking Israel’s Defense

Last month, nine members of congress voted against funding Israel’s Iron Dome defensive shield which had been severely depleted after the Palestinian political-terrorist group HAMAS fired thousands of rockets at Israeli cities and towns in May 2021. Fortunately, those congresspeople were in the minority, as the majority still supports Israel.

It should not come as a surprise that J Street, the pro-Palestinian group that markets itself as Pro-Israel, backed many of those anti-Israel politicians via their funding and endorsement arm, JStreetPAC:

PoliticianBacked by jstreet
Cori Bush (D-MO)No
Andre Carson (D-IN)Yes
Chuy Garcia (D-IL)Yes
Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)Yes
Thomas Massie (R-KY)No
Marie Newman (D-IL)Yes
Ilhan Omar (D-MN)No
Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)No
Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)No
Nine members of the U.S. congress voted against funding Israel’s Iron Dome after the latest missile barrage from HAMAS, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

Half of the members of congress (4 of 8, excluding the sole Republican as J Street is a far-left group that only backs Democrats) who voted against Israel’s defensive protection against Palestinian missiles were backed by J Street.

Another J Street-backed congressman, Mark Pocan (D-WI) who voted in favor of funding Iron Dome, joined Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in introducing legislation to block the sale of $735 million of weapons to Israel in May while Israel was under attack.

Pocan had been vocal about backing the Gazans hell-bent on killing Israelis a year earlier.

Pocan penned a letter together with another anti-Israel J Street-backed congresswoman Debbie Dingel (D-MI) to the Secretary of State in February 2020 seeking funds for Hamas-led Gaza which had repeatedly waged wars against Israel. That letter was sent shortly after a Palestinian poll which showed 75.1% of Gazans were in favor of armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside of Israel (question 67). The Pocan/Dingel letter was co-signed by a long list of J Street-sponsored politicians including: Don Beyer(D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), André Carson (D-IN), Judy Chu (D-CA), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Peter A. Defazio (D-OR), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Chuy” García, Raúl Grijalva,   Jared Huffman (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-CA), Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Gwen S. Moore (D-WI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ), David E. Price (D-NC),Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Peter Welch (D-VT). Twenty-five of the 31 cosigners (81%) were endorsed by J Street.

J Street-backed Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) who votes against Israeli measures in Congress has been rebuked for his association with infamous anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan

J Street backs politicians that vote against Israel, as it is consistent with J Street’s priorities:

J Street is spending over $10 million a year to promote its anti-Israel agenda on college campuses and the halls of congress and many millions of dollars more to get anti-Israel politicians elected. Its insidious lobbying is directly emboldening the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic communities.


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J Street Prioritizes Palestinian Aid Over Iranian Threat

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has repeatedly made clear that Israel’s number one security threat is Iran and its regional arm, Hezbollah in Lebanon. Even more than a priority, he said that they pose a threat to the very existence of Israel, saying “I have no doubt that the nuclearization of Iran is the number one existential threat to the state of Israel.

Bennett added that the number two threat to its security was Israel’s own policies, namely “disengagement” from territories. He referred to the horrible security situation in the country since it left Gaza with Hamas taking over the area and repeatedly launching wars against Israeli towns, and the arming of Hezbollah in Lebanon after the Israeli retreat from there, both of which have left the country vulnerable.

But J Street, the left-wing extremist group in the US doesn’t care. While it markets itself under the tagline “Pro Israel, Pro peace,” the organization is a Palestinian propaganda outlet and focuses its $10 million+ budget on promoting extremists policies which are opposed by the government of Israel.

Before the Israeli Prime Minister came to visit US President Joe Biden, the group published talking points it lobbied the administration to advance, seemingly provided by the Palestinian Authority press secretary:

In particular, we hope that the Biden administration will make the following key points in meetings with their Israeli counterparts:

  • The US expects Israel to take the steps necessary to allow a US Consulate serving Palestinians to reopen at its previous location in Jerusalem by year’s end.
  • The US is deeply concerned by and firmly opposed to acts of de facto annexation taking place in occupied territory, including settlement construction, forced displacement and demolition of Palestinian communities and homes, and the growing frequency of incidents of deadly violence against Palestinian civilians. Consistent with US law and calls for increased accountability by Members of Congress, military equipment supplied by the United States or purchased with US aid may not be used in connection with such activities.
  • Should the Palestinian government substantially reform its prisoners payments program to meet criteria set out in relevant US law, the US expects that Israel will not move to obstruct the resumption of US direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority, the reopening of the PLO General Delegation to the United States, or efforts to sunset outdated statutory constraints on the US-Palestinian relationship.
  • The United States is fully committed to addressing threats posed by Iran and preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon, and believes that the best way to accomplish these goals is via negotiations and diplomacy.

Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, yet this PINO (pro-Israel in name only) organization listed Iran last. It led with opening a consulate building in Jerusalem even though the same services are already offered at the US embassy and the Israeli government publicly stated its strong objection to such action. J Street opposes Jews living east of the Green Line even though the history of disengagement has proved terrible as noted by the Israeli Prime Minister above. And it intimated a threat to withhold US military support despite, the grave threats posed at its border from Hezbollah, a threat completely unmentioned.

Fortunately, Biden paid more attention to the desires of actual pro-Israel groups and the interests of the United States, and ignored J Street.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with US President Joe Biden August 27, 2021
(photo: Evan Vucci, AP)

Biden’s opening comments went straight to Bennett’s concerns:

We’re also going to discuss [the] unwavering, unwavering commitment that we have in the United States to Israel’s security. And I fully, fully, fully support replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome system. And we also are going to discuss the threat from Iran and our commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. But we’re putting diplomacy first and seeing where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.”

The actions and words of J Street make clear that it is a pro-Palestinian group which does not and has not supported the government of Israel since the group’s founding. Hopefully the Biden Administration will continue to appreciate that the left-wing extremist group does not represent American and Israeli priorities and preferences.


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The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

J Street is a Partisan Left-Wing Group, NOT an Alternative to AIPAC

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

The Veil of Hatred

Peter Beinart is an Apologist for Anti-Semites

Will You Finally Show J Street and Its Backers the Door?

J Street: Home for Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Peace Americans

J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

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Will You Finally Show J Street and Its Backers the Door?

The pro-Israel community is livid about Ben & Jerry’s decisions to ban the sale of its ice cream in the Israeli territories of Area C and to not renew its affiliation with the distributor who sells the ice cream in Israel. Kosher stores around the world are removing the ice cream from its shelves and pro-Zionists and human rights activists are considering boycotting Unilever (the conglomerate which owns Ben & Jerry’s) products.

But not J Street. Jeremy Ben Ami congratulated Ben & Jerry’s on the move:

J Street President @JeremyBenAmi said that @benandjerrys was drawing “​​a principled and rational distinction between commercial transactions in the State of Israel & those in the territory it occupies.”

Far left extremist rabbis and synagogue presidents proudly affiliate with the organization while members sit in silence and assume that if their religious leaders support the group which bills itself as “pro-Israel”, then actions advocated by J Street like boycotting Israel and giving Iran a legal pathway to nuclear weapons, must be the pro-Israel thing to do.

It is time for Israel supporters to show J Street and its backers the door before they advance truly dangerous initiatives to a feckless administration and susceptible organizations which might believe they actually speak for the Jewish community.


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J Street is a Partisan Left-Wing Group, NOT an Alternative to AIPAC

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JVP and J Street Attack Foreign Affairs Committee

Some winners and losers in the 2020 election have already been determined.

Rep. Elliot Engel (NY-16) was defeated in the Democratic primary by a far left progressive Jamaal Bowman during the summer. As such, Engel’s chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was lost in that primary as well, and three Democrats are now vying for that role.

The two most pro-Palestinian voices looking to head this important committee as it relates to foreign affairs are Joaquín Castro (D-TX) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY). Both Castro and Meeks boycotted Israeli Prime Minister’s address to a joint session of Congress in 2015 and both voted for the Obama administration’s JCPOA which gave the leading state sponsor of terrorism a legal pathway to nuclear weapons and access to roughly $150 billion.

The third contender, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) voted against the JCPOA and did not boycott Netanyahu, but has begun to make comments to appeal to the anti-Zionist leanings of a vocal and growing segment of the Democratic Party. That has excited far left groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and J Street.

J Street said that it “welcomes statements from all three candidates to become the next Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.” It highlighted a quote from Castro in-line with J Street’s thinking:

Israeli settlements violate international law and their expansion is a serious impediment to peace. The Trump administration’s decision to fund investments there breaks decades of bipartisan consensus, undermining America’s ability to be a fair arbiter for a two-state solution.”

The anti-Zionist website Mondoweiss came after Sherman stating “Sherman also called out progressive groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and IfNotNow for supporting Castro’s candidacy, claiming that anti-occupation organizations were building a movement to block him from acquiring the chair.” The site noted that JVP prefers Castro among the three contenders.

J Street, an influential anti-“settlement” organization, lobbied hard for the Obama administration to support the Iranian nuclear deal as well as allowing the passage of UN Resolution 2334, which made it an international crime for Israelis to live east of the invisible 1949 Armistice Lines. The Democratic Party has only lurched further left and anti-Israel since that passage in 2016.

Should Joe Biden win the presidency and Joaquín Castro become chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the next two years promise to be the most anti-Israel in American history, much to the joy and lobbying of far left groups like IfNotNow, JVP and J Street.

Joaquin Castro (D-TX) running to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee, doxed his local constituents after the 2016 election

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J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

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For the Sins of 5780…

… for supporting the antisemitic and racist Black Lives Matter group

… for apologizing to Blacks when Blacks kill Jews

… for pretending that only White people are anti-Semites and that there hasn’t been a spike in Blacks murdering Jews

… for defending rioters attempting to destroy America’s founding principles

… for enabling the Progressive war on Israel

… for believing the news from CNN and The New York Times

… for pretending that the problem is all in social media and not the mainstream media

… for voting for Socialists

… for contributing to alma maters which promote antisemitism

… for donating to J Street

… for using J Street’s tagline “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” when it is nothing of the sort

… for giving cover to politicians who slam Jews

… for inviting anti-Israel speakers into our synagogues

… for being silent when liberal politicians sought to funnel money into Gaza

… for considering qualifying or reducing investments in Israel

… for not clearly identifying Hamas as an antisemitic terrorist organization

… for not holding Palestinian Arabs accountable for their actions and statements

… for not advocating for Jewish prayer on the Jewish Temple Mount

… for still referring to a place called “East Jerusalem” which only existed for less than two decades in the 1950’s and 1960’s

… for the cultural appropriation of the term “promised land” and not ascribing it to Jews and Israel

… for saying Donald Trump has done nothing positive for Israel

… for dismissing antisemitism while being particularly sensitive to racism

… for demanding nothing from Jewish leadership

… for fighting against funding police for Jewish institutions

… for pretending that something that makes you feel spiritual is Tikkun Olam and the essence of Judaism

… for not articulating clearly the difference and inter-relationships between Jews, Judaism and Israel

… for not advocating for the dismantling of UNRWA

… for being silent as European countries banned kosher meat

… for not taking COVID-19 seriously

For all these things, please pardon us.


Related First One Through article:

For the Sins of 5777 of…

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J Street Shows its Disdain for Israel in Criticism of Pompeo

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo broke with traditional norms by addressing the Republican National Convention this week. Various media outlets covered the controversy of a sitting Secretary of State speaking at a political convention when historic practice is that such position is beyond party politics. Consider the headlines:

  • NYTimes: “Radical Break From Tradition: Trump Stages Part of His Convention From the White House”
  • ABCNews: “Pompeo defies his own policy by praising Trump in unprecedented convention speech”
  • Vox: “Mike Pompeo’s RNC speech will place him as the most partisan secretary of state in decades”
  • NBCNews: “Diplomats aghast as Pompeo set to address GOP convention from Jerusalem”
  • Washington Post: “Pompeo stirs up outrage among some diplomats over speech to RNC”

The press was appalled that Pompeo would take a public stance in favor of one political party while he was still actively serving as Secretary of State.

But J Street, a left-wing Pro-Palestinian organization which uses the fig leaf of a missing foreskin to claim it is “Pro-Israel,” was angry at Pompeo for showcasing the various actions the Trump administration took which benefited Israel.

On August 24, J Street posted an attack called “POMPEO’S JERUSALEM RNC SPEECH SHAMELESSLY USES ISRAEL AS A PARTISAN PROP.” Rather than simply focusing on the atypical speech at a convention, J Street said

The Trump administration continues to break new ground in their shameless efforts to use the state of Israel as a political prop and a partisan football.

Even the left-wing media didn’t attack Pompeo for speaking from Jerusalem; they simply noted that he should not have been speaking at the convention at all, whether from Washington or Paris. The media was angry at the usage of the OFFICE of the Secretary, not the location from which he spoke.

But J Street knows that there is no better contrast in foreign policy between the Democrats and Republicans than on the subject of the Middle East.

During the Obama administration, J Street aggressively pushed to give Iran a legal pathway to nuclear weapons and to pass a resolution at the United Nations marking Jews living east of the Green Line as illegal. During Trump’s tenure, it lobbied against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, moving the US embassy to the city and from withholding financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority while it continues to pay for terrorism.

In lambasting the location of Pompeo’s speech and highlighting Israel, J Street tacitly admits that the policies for which it advocates are ANTI-Israel and the promotion of its agenda into the Democratic Party is the essence of turning Israel into a “partisan football.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem, Israel

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J Street: Home for Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Peace Americans

J Street is a progressive political lobbying group which bills itself as the “political home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans.” It is a marketing ploy designed to sell pro-Arab propaganda to undermine the government of Israel.

Consider a current snapshot of the lobbying group’s current press releases:

J Street’s press most recent press releases from its website on April 3, 2020

Not one off the six articles which J Street felt were the most pressing of the day related to advocating for Israel. There was no support for the country’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic which has shut down the country, the successful democratically-held elections in the country or America’s recent elections for the World Zionist Congress.

Instead J Street published pro-Arab and pro-Muslim press releases:

  • Block Israeli application of sovereignty over any part of Area C
  • Give financial support to Palestinians
  • Condition US aid to Israel on its not demolishing illegal Arab homes
  • No war with the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • A push for US Democratic presidential candidates to not be too supportive of the policies of the current government of Israel
  • A call to ban Jews from living in and around the Old City of Jerusalem

This snapshot is not surprising for anyone who has followed the far-left lobbying group since its founding in 2008. This group lobbied the Obama administration to censure Israel at the United Nations and to sign an Iranian nuclear deal which the government of Israel opposed. The lobbying efforts were so extremely anti-Israel with the flimsiest Jewish veneer that even devout liberal politician Gary Ackerman (D-NY) said 

I’ve come to the conclusion that J-Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated….America really does need a smart, credible, politically active organization that is as aggressively pro-peace as it is pro-Israel. Unfortunately, J-Street ain’t it.

There are many people who argue that one needn’t be anti-Palestinian to be pro-Israel. I would agree as it relates to Palestinian Arabs who want to make peace with Israel and respect the Jewish people’s history, dignity and security needs in their holy land. On can similarly be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian, which is J Street’s contention.

But it shows J Street’s deliberate dishonesty to only state it is “pro-Israel” in its tagline when it is primarily focused on a pro-Arab agenda which it believes benefits Israel. Either drop the “Pro-Israel” claim or add “Pro-Arab” to be clear what the far-left lobbying group actually represents.


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J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

J Street is a Partisan Left-Wing Group, NOT an Alternative to AIPAC

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

J Street’s Select Appreciation of Transparency

A Review of the Fifteen US Slates for the World Zionist Congress

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J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

J Street held its annual conference in late October 2019 where it had several Democratic presidential candidates address the left-wing crowd. The loudest applause was, not surprisingly, heard for the most progressive candidates: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Sen. Bernie Sanders addressing J Street Conference October 28, 2019
It is interesting that J Street bills itself as “pro-Israel” when the crowd at its annual event gave a standing ovation to the most anti-Israel presidential candidate since the founding of the Jewish State. Sanders has accused Israel of war crimes, being racist and wants to divert funds meant for Israel’s security to the Arab people in Gaza who have launched three wars against Israel since 2008. Sanders may be the only Jew among the leaders of the Democratic presidential pack, but he is without question the most critical of the Jewish State.

And it is not a coincidence that Sanders if the most left-wing of the presidential contenders. It is only through the narrow prism of a progressive worldview that J Street and Sanders can be viewed as “pro-Israel.”

For most people, being pro-“fill-in-the-blank” means actively supporting that entity. It may be with words of support and encouragement to that entity. Perhaps its with active lobbying for trade and aid on that entity’s behalf. Speaking about it positively and with enthusiasm to others.

However, for J Street, being “pro-Israel” simply means believing that Israel has a right to exist and should have secure borders. I believe that Costa Rica should exist and have secure borders, but I don’t think that makes me “pro-Costa Rica.” Maybe if I associated with people who hated Costa Rica, I would be considered pro-Costa Rica for an otherwise benign point of view, but not among most of the world.

Which is precisely the J Street dynamic.

Inside the echo chambers of the progressive halls, suggesting that Israel has a right to exist is considered extraordinary and extreme. Vocalizing that it is and should remain the Jewish homeland is considered vulgar. That it has a right to defend itself against terrorism is deemed shocking.

That’s the sad reality among J Street’s peers. Groups like the New Israel Fund actively support organizations which try to dismantle any Jewishness of the Jewish State and fund global tours for people to demonize the Israel Defense Forces. IfNotNow fights to undermine Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Code Pink supports a boycott of Israeli products. Jewish Voice for Peace has supported terrorists who have killed Israelis. And the Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis on the boards of these institutions question whether Israel should exist at all.

The progressive stances on Israel can be seen in the “Women’s March” whose leaders are against “humanizing” Israelis and in BackLivesMatter which has a platform which calls Israel an “apartheid state” and advocates for B.D.S. (boycott, divest and sanctions of Israel). These are appalling statements and opinions.

With such a peer group of progressives, it should not shock people that in that narrow “coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks” as Barack Obama once said, J Street actually believes that saying the Israel should exist as a secure Jewish State is considered “pro-Israel.” Outside of the far-left extreme, that’s an opinion which is considered neutral – “pareve” as they would say in the Jewish community.

Actually being “pro-Israel” for groups like AIPAC means ensuring bi-partisan support for Israel, keeping trade and military cooperation intact, advocating for U.S. support for Israeli positions at the United Nations. J Street is against all of those ideas.

One could perhaps argue that it is useful for J Street to engage with their co-progressives and get them to upgrade their views on Israel. It is clear that the “Squad” of socialists in congress are not going to listen to AIPAC or the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).

But it is horribly incorrect and out-of-bounds for the general public and media to quote J Street as the mainstream pro-Israel forum when it is nothing of the sort. It is merely the fringe “meh-Israel” segment of a radical leftist anti-Zionist ideology which is regrettably beginning to permeate the Democratic party.


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Bernie Sanders is the Worst U.S. Presidential Candidate for Israel Ever

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

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Should the ZOA Sponsor a “Birthright” Trip

Birthright Israel has been a phenomenal success in achieving its goal of ensuring “the vibrant future of the Jewish people by strengthening Jewish identity, Jewish communities, and connection with Israel.” The group, founded in 1999 with the financial support of Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt, has brought over 650,000 Jews from 67 countries to better understand their common tie to the Jewish holy land.

However, the left-wing group J Street felt that the free trips gave the 18 to 26 year olds too many highlights and not enough lowlights.

At first, J Street demanded that the trips include discussions regarding Israel’s relationship with Palestinian Arabs. After being rebuffed that it was not the mission of Birthright, J Street launched its own trip called “The Let Our People Know Trip.” The itinerary includes a focus on “Israel’s minority communities,” “pluralism,” an afternoon in “East Jerusalem,” a full day called “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Occupation 101,” and another day called “Israel and Palestinian Perspectives Over the Green Line.” The trip is designed to split the Jewish holy land into areas that are Israeli and those that are occupied.

J Street map of Israel excluding Israeli territories in Judea and Samaria

I imagine that the right-wing Zionist Organization of America might pull together its own Birthright trip to further educate people about the nature of the conflict, which might have a different orientation than J Street. Here’s a possible itinerary:

Day 1: Terrorism in the 1970’s

  • Land in Ben Gurion Airport.
  • Get a briefing on the various security measures that Israel must deploy because of the threats of hijackings and bombings. Include a speaker who freed over 200 Jews who were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1976, and review the various hijackings perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists over the years.
  • Drive up road towards Netanya and stop at the location of the Coastal Road Massacre of 1978, in which 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were killed under direction of the dominant Palestinian party, Fatah. Learn about Dalal Mughrabi, a woman who planned and fought in the terrorist attack who is celebrated by Palestinians to this day with schools and public squares named after her.
  • Night in Netanya

Day 2: The British Mandate and the Separation Barrier as Peace-Builder

  • Visit the Park Hotel in Netanya where a Palestinian suicide bomber killed over 30 people having a Passover seder in 2002. Hear from soldiers who fought to eliminate the terrorists in Jenin after the massacre, who went door-to-door on foot to minimize civilian casualties. Read reports from CNN who falsely charged the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) with killing hundreds of civilians.
  • Visit a section of the separation barrier which was built as a result of the Second Intifada to curtail the infiltration of Palestinian Arab terrorists. Review the statistics of the bombings and killings in Israel from Arabs coming from the east of the barrier before and after the barrier was erected and discuss Israel’s security needs.
  • Visit the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, which some Israeli politicians want to swap to a future state of Palestine due to their glorification of terrorists.
  • Tour Atlit, a displaced persons camp used by the British to lock up Jewish immigrants to the holy land in the 1930’s and 1940’s who were trying to escape or had just escaped the Holocaust in Europe. Sit near the barbed wire fence and hear from a historian how the British ignored international law established in 1920 (San Remo Conference) and 1922 (British Mandate) to facilitate the immigration of Jews to reestablish their homeland, and instead instituted the White Paper of 1939 at the urging of Palestinian Arabs which limited Jewish immigration over five years to just 75,000 people, resulting in the deaths of over 100,000 Jews in the Holocaust.
  • Drive to the combined Jewish-Arab towns of Ma’alot-Tarshiha where Israel has tried to promote coexistence. Visit the Netiv Meir Elementary School where members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine took over a school in 1974, taking over 100 hostages, almost all children. A total of 25 hostages were killed, including 22 children.
  • Sleep in Ma’alot-Tarshiha

Day 3: The Golan Heights and Syria

  • Drive to the Golan Heights and visit Mount Hermon. Look out on Damascus, Syria and hear from army experts how the Syrians had used the Golan to shell Israeli farmers in the Galilee before being evicted from the heights in 1967.
  • Visit various ancient synagogues which dot the Golan Heights, attesting to the historic Jewish presence in the region, and stop by Ramat Trump, a new town named after U.S. President Donald Trump.
  • Afternoon in Safed where doctors detail caring for Syrians fleeing the civil war which has killed over 500,000 people.
  • Visit the town of Capernaum, where Jesus is said to have lived, and tour a lovely intact fourth century synagogue.
  • Night in Tiberias

Ancient synagogue in the Golan
(photo: FirstOneThrough)
Day 4: Jews and Christians in the Galilee

  • Tour the various tombs of famous Jewish rabbis including Maimonides (1135-1204) and Yohanan Ben Zakkai (c. 10CE – 90CE) and learn about their persecutions and journeys to the Galilee.
  • Visit Tzippori, a Jewish city established in the first century BCE which became the center for the Sanhedrin (Jewish courts) after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple. It was from this location that the Christian Crusaders rode out to defeat in 1187 to the Muslim sultan Saladin.
  • Visit Nazareth, the place where Jesus lived which was mostly a Christian town for many years, and now has a Muslim Arab majority.
  • Night in Tel Aviv

Day 5: Terrorism from the Oslo Accords to the Second Intifada

  • Visit the bus station where the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad detonated a bomb in 2006 which killed eleven people, and launched twin bombings in 2003 killing 23 civilians and injuring over 100.
  • Visit the popular Allenby Street where a suicide bomber from Hamas blew up a bus in 2002, killing six and injuring 70.
  • Visit the popular Dizengoff Center, where a suicide bomber blew himself up on the eve of the festive Purim holiday in 1996, killing 13 and injuring 130. Hear from experts about the wave of killings after Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed the Oslo Peace Accords in 1995.
  • Dinner near the beach, and then a visit to the shell of the Dolphinarium discotheque, where Palestinian terrorist killed 21 Israelis, 16 of them teenage girls out dancing in 2001.
  • Night in Tel Aviv

Day 6: Addressing Terrorists: Palestinians and Americans

  • Visit the site of the “Seafood Market attack” of 2002 in which two civilians and a police officer were killed in an attack by the terrorist group Tanzim. Hear from a leading expert on terrorism about the head of Tanzim, Marwan Barghouti, who led that attack as well as several others which killed a number of civilians, who is currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison. Learn how Barghouti is one of the most famous Palestinians today who calls for a third “intifada” and how Palestinians want him to become the next president of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Discuss how, despite his murderous past and calls for additional terrorism against civilians, the New York Times thinks Barghouti could be a Noble Peace Prize winner.
  • Visit the Tel Aviv promenade where an expert in the funding of terrorism will relay the story of Taylor Force, an American visiting Israel who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist. The U.S. Congress passed a law in his name (H.R. 1164) which de-funds the PA unless it can show that it no longer finances terror.
  • Stop by a Christian monastery near Beit Shemesh and hear the story of Neta Sorek, an Israeli feminist who worked to bring peace with Palestinian Arabs, who was murdered for being Jewish by Palestinian terrorists while she walked in the gardens.
  • Afternoon tour of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
  • Night in Jerusalem

Day 7: Terrorism throughout Jerusalem

  • Morning tour of Shaare Zedek Hospital where Jewish and Arab doctors and patients work and are treated side-by-side. Hear the story of Dr. David Appelbaum who ran the emergency room which treats dozens of terrorist victims, and how he and his daughter were killed in a Palestinian terrorist bombing while eating at a restaurant the night before her wedding. Dr. Appelbaum had just arrived from New York the day before where he was training first responders in how to deal with mass emergencies.
  • Go to downtown Jerusalem to the former location of a Sbarro restaurant where Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine executed a bombing in a pizza store, killing 15 people including 7 children and a pregnant woman.
  • Drive over to Hebrew University in the eastern part of the city and learn about the school which was founded in 1925 and included Albert Einstein among its founders. Hear from a school historian about how buses with professors were often shot at in the 1940’s and how Hamas blew up the cafeteria in 2002, killing 9 people including five Americans.
  • Head back to the western side of the city to a small synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood where two Palestinian men walked into prayer services with axes and slaughtered worshipers in 2014.
  • Night in Jerusalem

Day 8: Jerusalem, America and Democracy

  • Tour the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and learn how Judaism was practiced 2,000 years ago and about early Christianity.
  • Visit the Israeli Knesset, the parliament, to see how a democracy functions in the turbulent Middle East. Uniquely in the region, it has Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze all serving in the parliament.
  • Tour the modern Supreme Court building and get a briefing about the most liberal country for thousands of miles in any direction.
  • Stop by Yad Kennedy, a large monument in the Jerusalem forest dedicated to the memory of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
  • Visit the only 9/11 memorial in the Middle East which includes the names of every person killed in the terrorist attacks in America of 2001.
  • Dinner at the new American embassy in Jerusalem, which President Donald Trump moved to Israel’s capital in 2018.
  • Night in Jerusalem

Day 9: 3,000 Years of Jewish Jerusalem

  • Visit the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall (the Kotel) and the Jewish Temple Mount. Witness that only Jewish visitors need armed guards to visit their holiest site, and experience the Mourabitat women who harass Jewish pilgrims.
  • Visit the Davidson Center and the City of David which detail the 3,000-year history of Jews in their holiest site. Tour the recently uncovered “Pilgrimage Road.” Read quotes from the leaders of the Palestinian Authority which claim that Jews have no history in Jerusalem and from the United Nations which declares that Israel has no rights to the site.
  • Pray at the Hurva Synagogue, rebuilt in 2010 after the Jordanians destroyed it in 1949 right before they evicted all of the Jews from the Old City and the eastern portion of Jerusalem. Read Jordan’s 1954 Nationality Law which specifically excludes Jews from obtaining citizenship.
  • Visit the Tiferet Yisrael development site, another synagogue destroyed by the Arabs which is now being rebuilt despite loud Palestinian protest.
  • Exit the Old City and climb the tower of the YMCA to get a 360-degree view of Jerusalem. Review the expansion of the city westward towards Jaffa in the 1860’s and the demographics which have seen Jews as the majority in Jerusalem since 1869.
  • Take a bus to Bethlehem and visit The Tomb of Rachel, now under heavy guard.
  • Dinner with a political expert to review the various debates about Jerusalem.
  • Night in Jerusalem

YMCA tower in Jerusalem
(photo: FirstOneThrough)
Day 10: The Ongoing War Today

  • Get early start and head to Hevron. Read the biblical chapters of Abraham buying the cave to bury his wife, Sarah, the Jewish matriarch. Climb the steps of the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs up to the seventh step and learn the history of the site, from the time King Herod built the current structure (minus the minarets) over the cave, to how the Arabs took over the site when they invaded in the seventh and eighth century when they brought Islam throughout the Middle East and North Africa region turning sites holy to one religion into mosques and forbidding Jews from climbing above the seventh stair of their second holiest location. Review current history of Arabs slaughtering the Jewish community in 1929 and Britain’s forced expulsion of the remaining Jewish residents of the city, and how Israel reclaimed the area in a defensive war in 1967, allowing Jews to return to the city and pray at the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs once again. Hear how most recently, Israel handed over almost the entirety of the city to the PA except for a small sliver, as part of the Oslo Accords, and how the remaining Jews in the city must live in an armed protective zone to prevent a recurrence of the 1929 massacre.
  • Drive to Sderot on the border of Gaza. Learn about the Hamas Charter, the most antisemitic document of any ruling governmental party ever written, and how the Palestinians elected Hamas to the majority of the Palestinian parliament in 2006 with full knowledge and support of its mission statement; and how Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 precipitating the Israeli blockade in 2008, which the United Nations Palmer Report of 2011 deemed as legal and necessary. Tour the bomb shelters where Israelis only have ten seconds to hide from missiles launched by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and hear about the wars launched from Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
  • Visit the burnt fields set afire from incendiary balloons launched by Palestinian youths over the past year.
  • Visit a Patriot Missile battery, a United States defense system, as well as Israel’s Iron Dome system whose R&D was partially funded by the U.S. Hear about how each technology works and how the United States is now purchasing the Iron Dome system for its own defenses.
  • Drive up to the Israeli city of Ashdod and visit the site where an Israeli-American was killed in 2019 by a Gazan missile.
  • Dinner in Tel Aviv before flight home.

The ZOA should probably call their trip “Let Our People UNDERSTAND.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Shrapnel of Intent

Israel: Security in a Small Country

The Free Speech Nickel

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

The Cave of the Jewish Matriarch and Arab Cultural Appropriation

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