The Hillel chapter at Swarthmore College recently rejected the guidelines of Hillel International which state, in part:
“Hillel will not partner with, house or host organizations, groups or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice: Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders.”
Based on that controversy, Hillel’s CEO and President Eric Fingerhut has called for a review of how his organization’s national 2010 guidelines will be applied to Hillels on college campuses around the country and talked about welcoming other points of view such as those of the faux pro-Israel organization, J-Street,
At a Jan. 12 UCLA conference, titled “Through the Looking Glass: A Glimpse Into the Future of Jewish Life on Campus and Beyond,” Fingerhut insisted that Hillel “remains welcoming of many perspectives on Israel, including those of J-Street University, the campus affiliate of J Street, a pro-Israel group that advocates an end to Israeli settlements.”
While J-Street does advocate an end to Israeli settlements, it is by no means a pro-Israel group.
In 2010, J Street received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from Arab- and Muslim-Americans, according to the Federal Election Commission filings cited by the Jerusalem Post, as well as money from individuals connected to Palestinian and pro-Iranian advocacy groups. In the same year, J Street sent out a mass e-mail opposing a bipartisan push in Congress for tougher sanctions on Iran: “On Iran, the President is promoting tough, direct diplomacy to address concerns over their nuclear program, support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and threats against Israel. The President has made clear that the diplomatic road ahead will be tough — but the chances of success won’t be helped by Congress imposing tight time lines or a new round of sanctions at this moment.”
During the 2008 Israeli action against Hamas, when the IDF was protecting the country after it suffered tens of thousands of rockets from Gaza, J Street called Israel’s “escalation in Gaza counterproductive” and was “disproportionate.” It also made a moral equivalency argument between the policies of Israel and Hamas, stating that they found difficulty in distinguishing “between who is right and who is wrong” and “picking a side.” The group has also advocated that the US negotiate with Hamas.
Remember the Goldstone Report that violated international standards for inquires, including UN rules on fact-finding?
The Goldstone Commission systematically favored witnesses and evidence put forward by anti-Israel advocates including Hamas, and dismissed evidence and testimony that would undermine its case. For example, it ruled that Hamas did not use its own citizens as human shields, despite a wealth of video evidence. The commission relied extensively on mediating agencies, especially UN and NGOs, with a documented hostility to Israel, and reproduced earlier reports and claims from these agencies.
J Street lobbied in Congress to accept the discredited anti-Israel Goldstone Report.
In 2011, J Street urged the Administration to support a UN Security Council resolution falsely condemning Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as “illegal.” Successive US administrations have refused to describe Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as “illegal.” In fact, even President Obama vetoed a 2011 Arab-sponsored UN Security Council resolution calling them “illegal” and has described them only as “illegitimate.”
In 2012, J Street hosted the book launch of Peter Beinart who had just published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for a “Zionist BDS” campaign that would seek to economically suffocate all Israeli Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines. Also addressing this conference was Mustafa Barghouti, a leading figure in the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment) campaign, who claimed the Oslo peace process was a piece of Israeli “deceit,” asserted that “what we are witnessing today is a creation, or a consolidation to be precise, of a system of segregation and Bantustans,” and declared that Palestinians “actually live” under an “apartheid” regime.
During the most recent congressional campaign cycle, J Street solicited funds for congressional candidates who are openly hostile to Israel or failed repeatedly to support Israel (Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Lois Capps, George Miller, David Price and Peter Welch). And at the same time, they targeted for defeat explicitly pro-Israel lawmakers who don’t agree with its anti-Israel agenda (Charlie Bass, Judy Biggert, Frank Guinta and Joe Walsh).
While I applaud Eric Fingerhut for taking a stand against the Strathmore College Hillel position of working with groups who wish to destroy Israel, his stance on J-Street is horribly naïve. And prospective Hillel donors should understand that stance before they send their checks to Hillel International.
J-Street is not a pro-Israel group with a different perspective; it is an Arab-funded anti-Israel “wolf” in “sheep’s clothing.” For Hillel to tolerate it is an outrage.