On Oct. 16 at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street made a joke. The Jews, he said, disagree on everything, but when it comes to Israel they speak with one voice, and he cited AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, and others, not to praise them, as they deserve, but to damn them for being too uncritical of Israel.
Right now, American Jews have the respect and support of Congress by speaking (more or less) with one voice in support of Israel. The last thing we need — and the most damaging thing we Jews can do — is to have national organizations to criticize Israel and pull in different directions, which is what Mr. Ben-Ami advocates. That would most certainly confuse Congress, dilute their support for Israel, and give strength and impetus to our many enemies. We Jews are often our own worst enemies, – trite but true. Small wonder that the major organizations will not share a platform with J Street.
Does Ben-Ami think Israel lacks critics? From the UN to the EU to Russia and China, from anti-Semites who inhabit our Congress, our State Department, our colleges (professors as well as students) and from under every rock — the answer is ‘no.’ Walk down the street a few blocks from Emanu-El to the lovely Episcopal Church where Mr. Ben-Ami would feel right at home.
Although his talk was friendly, the overall message that Ben-Ami sent on Israel was unconcealed negativity. He praised Judge Goldstone of South Africa extravagantly, despite a report that did great damage to Israel. No one brought up that Goldstone subsequently (much later) recanted and said his report was mistaken.