J Street

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

J Street is a liberal Zionist lobby group which seeks to counter the influence of the hawkish AIPAC. It describes itself as "the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement". Their foundation is based on the following principle:

J Street was founded to change the dynamics of American politics and policy on Israel and the Middle East. We believe the security and future of Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people depend on rapidly achieving a two-state solution and regional comprehensive peace. Our mission is to promote meaningful American leadership to achieve peace and security in the Middle East and to broaden the debate on these issues nationally and in the Jewish community[1].


Though the groups has challenged some of AIPAC's more hawkish positions, it has aligned itself with others, ranging from sanctions against Iran to the Goldstone Report.[2] Yet the group has become a subject of frequent attacks by neoconservatives and other rightwing Zionists who accuse it of breaking with the pro-Israel consensus.[3][4], Harry Schwartz[5].

According to a report in IPS:

Neoconservatives and other members of the far-right came into direct conflict with J Street in May 2008 when J Street issued a statement calling on Republican presidential candidate John McCain to, "renounce John Hagee once and for all."
Many Jews took offense with Hagee's characterisation of Hitler as doing God's work by helping to bring Jews to Israel, and AIPAC found itself in the difficult position of fighting to keep its pro-Israel credentials while not severing its valuable ties to the Christian-Zionist movement and the Christian Right.
The divide between moderate Jews and neoconservatives - many of whom see the alliance with Christian Zionists such as Hagee as a valuable relationship - has proven to be a fault line for organisations seeking to characterise themselves as pro-Israel[6].


In September 2010, J Street caused much alarm among rightwing supporters of Israel after it was revealed in the conservative press that the lobby group had raised $11 million, including $750,000 from billionaire George Soros--a strong critic of AIPAC--and his two children, Jonathan and Andrea Soros over a period of three years. The organisation had previously denied links to Soros.[7]

J Street's tax filings also revealed its largest single contribution, US$811,697, came from a woman named Consolacion Ediscul, from Happy Valley in Hong Kong. Executive director Jeremy Ben Ami confirmed Ms. Esdicul had donated the money “in multiple wire transfers at the behest of” a man named William, or Bill, Benter. [8] According to the Washington Times, Mr Benter is a well-known philanthropist who lives in Pittsburgh, and the chief executive of Acusis, a Pittsburgh-based medical services firm.[9]


  1. J Street, About Us, J Street, Accessed 17-December-2009
  2. Richard Silverstein, Bankruptcy of J Street on Goldstone, Iran Sanctions, Tikun Olam, 19 February 2010
  3. Michael Goldfarb, When Pro-Israel Is Not Very Pro-Israel; Meet the J Street gang, The Weekly Standard, 9 November 2009
  4. Eli Lieber, Why make a fuss about J Street?, The Jerusalem Post, 22 October 2009
  5. Harry Schwartz, 'Pro-Israel,' my foot! J Street is an anti-Israel lobby, The Jerusalem Post, 29 October 2009
  7. Matt Duss, J Street, Soros, and U.S. Leadership in the Middle East, The Huffington Post, 29 September 2010
  8. Isabella Steger, Advocacy Group Donor Linked to Hong Kong, ChinaRealTime Report, 30 September 2010.
  9. Eli Lake, Soros revealed as funder of liberal Jewish-American lobby, 24 September 2010, accessed 30 September 2010.