Seattle Jewish Community plans major anti-BDS rally
Proclaiming in a unified voice that BDS is not welcome within the Seattle Jewish communal tent, virtually every significant Jewish organization in the Puget Sound region will be joining together for a major anti-BDS gathering on Wednesday, May 28th at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle. This is a significant, much needed and welcome event.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is widely regarded as a weapon of economic and political warfare designed to demonize, isolate and ultimately destroy Israel. A core demand of BDS is the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state through the flooding of Israel with millions of Arabs from throughout the region. Experts on BDS note that the movement rarely mentions 1967 borders or UN resolutions 242 or 338, both of which recognize Israel’s right to exist within secure, recognized boundaries.
Here in the Northwest, BDS affiliated groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, SEAMAC and others regularly attempt to disrupt business at local proprietors who carry made in Israel products. The movement has succeeded in having all made in Israel products banned from a co-op grocery in Olympia.
At the University of Washington, BDS affiliated student group, SUPER-UW has sponsored a divestment from Israel resolution currently being considered by the Student Senate.
Under the aegis of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, anti-BDS event sponsors include StandWithUs, AJC, AIPAC, ADL, JTNews, J Street, New Israel Fund, Broader View & Hillel UW. Standing out among the sponsors are two organization that have been lightning rods for controversy both here and in Israel, namely J Street (and New Israel Fund which we will write about another time).
J Street was founded in 2008 as a counter to the well established pro-Israel lobbying organization AIPAC and is heavily funded by anti-Israel philanthropist George Soros and a milieu of individuals with ties to entities hostile to the Jewish state.
In a carefully choreographed dance designed to maintain its mainstream community bona fides while pursuing an agenda of undermining Israel; J Street gatherings frequently feature individuals and organizations that actively promote the BDS agenda. As Alan Dershowtz notes; “J Street survives, and even expands, largely as the result of speaking out of two sides of its mouth. It seeks to attract centrist members by advocating the two-state solution, an aggressive stance towards peace negotiations and criticisms of Israel’s settlement policies .But in an effort to expand leftward, particularly hard leftward, it has taken positions that undercut Israel’s security and that virtually no Israeli center-leftists support.”
In fact the Campus Branch of J Street, J Street U has gone so far as to drop “Pro-Israel” from their logo and associates with the most radical of anti-Israel organizations and individuals. The group recently drew publicity when two J Street U activists were photographed wearing T-Shirts embossed with the words “Resistance is not Terrorism” alongside the image of convicted terrorist Leila Khaled .
So why is J Street identifying itself as a sponsor of this communal pro-Israel, anti-BDS gathering? The answer is “why not?” J Street’s constituency have never held their leadership accountable for their two-faced antics, understanding full well that J Street’s goals are best met from both within and without the communal tent. Concealing their agenda underneath a white shirt and necktie whilst portraying themselves as a progressive version of AIPAC, J Street is able to gain mainstream communal acceptance and the sought after legitimacy that goes with it.
The Seattle community anti-BDS event will feature Israeli writer Ari Shavit and Civil rights leader Rev. Kenneth Flowers. More details here.