It is the season of the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, and Jewish organizations are hitching their fundraising to High Holiday themes. Some of this is innocuous. Some of this might be appropriately described as theological pornography, drawing dangerous if not suicidal conclusions through the inappropriate manipulation of religious ideals to advance crass political ends.
Unetaneh Tokef is the prayer that symbolizes the season when, according to Jewish tradition, God decides who will live and who will die, who will be inscribed in the Book of Life. J Street’s Rabbi Andrea London finds inspiration in the High Holidays’ liturgical theme for the continuation of her own self-proclaimed heroic efforts to find peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.
And it is her colleagues at J Street whose idealism reinforces those efforts when they begin to falter.
Ordinarily such missives might be dismissed as a paean to self that reeks of a preponderance of “I” as the author marvels at her own pubescent sense of self-discovery, which she can’t resist sharing with her audience.
But J Street is not just an organization that is oppositional to Israel; it is an organization so detrimental to Israel’s existence that its continued presence in the communal tent has been called into question, most recently as a result of J Street’s departure from the position of major Jewish organizations on the Iran nuclear deal.
Breaking rankings with the ADL, AIPAC, and other major Jewish communal organizations, J Street joined forces with the National Iranian American Council and the Arab American Institute to promote the Iran deal, which freed up hundreds of billions of dollars for Iran to spend on its expansion of terrorism, and which we now know, guarantees a nuclear Iran in the next ten years.
Heavily armed Iranian proxies sit on Israel’s northern and southern borders, with access to the latest Russian equipment and more to come.
J Street has long denied taking money from anti-Israel sources, most notably from George Soros, whose agenda appears to be that Israel’s very existence is a mistake. Yet, after years of denial, J Street’s founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, finally acknowledged what was commonly known. For years, Soros has been a prominent supporter of the organization.
J Street’s tag line is that it is pro-Israel, but it is nearly impossible to find a pro-Israel policy that J Street supports. On campus, J Street U partners with Students for Justice in Palestine, widely considered an anti-Semitic organization, and the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace.
If there is an anti-Israel group touring the campus, J Street U can be counted on to join with SJP and JVP to lend the “pro-Israel” legitimacy to its point of view. While neither J Street nor J Street U directly supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, they have had no problem partnering with groups that do.
The goal of J Street was probably most accurately revealed when one of its national lecturers, Marcia Freedman, argued that the Jewish people should not have a state. Instead, she explained, they should live as a minority in an Arab Palestine as a “protected minority.” For this, she received strong applause from other J Street participants.
American democracy is about the competition between different groups with opposing points of view. J Street is entitled to its anti-Israel positions. Rabbi London is entitled to her pubescent journey to self-discovery.
But she should not be characterizing J Street’s policies as pro-Israel, soliciting donations for achieving peace in its name, and pretending that in J Street she has discovered some deep religious revelation about the cycle of life.
J Street is the quisling faction of the Jewish community. Those, like Rabbi London, who support it are working for Israel’s destruction. Finding theological insight in J Street’s policies is engaging in theological pornography. Rabbi London and her ilk will be remembered among our people as Vidkun Quisling and his followers are remembered by the Norwegians.