J Street Condemns Netanyahu After Tel Aviv Stabbing Attack
Quickly responding to the horrific stabbing of passengers on a public bus in Tel Aviv earlier this week, J Street issued a press release condemning the attack. But as with virtually all such statements from the Israel focused lobbying group, they are unable to issue a simple condemnation of terror. In a display of equal parts cynicism and poor taste, the last paragraph of their short statement, issued ostensibly to condemn a terror attack against Israelis, manages to condemn the Prime Minister of Israel.
The response by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who accused President Abbas of creating the atmosphere that led to the attack, is simplistic and lamentable. Blaming a Palestinian leader–who has promised nonviolence and stuck to that pledge–for this horrible act does not help calm the situation. J Street Press Release: 01/21/2015
The piggybacking on an atrocity like the Tel Aviv bus stabbings to take a dig at the Israeli government is an example of what troubles so many about J Street. The falsehood of the statement is no less worrying.
On 22 October 2014, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into a crowd of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill light rail station in Jerusalem. The attack killed three month old Chaya Zissel Braun and 22 year old Karen Yemima Mosquera.
The following day, as Karen was still in the hospital dying from her wounds, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement published a poster celebrating the Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murders. “Fatah honors the heroic martyr Abdel Rahman Al-Shaludi, who executed the Jerusalem operation which led to the running over of settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem,” read the notice posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page. Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu-Aynayn dubbed Shaludi “a hero” in Facebook comments posted later that same day.
After the attempted murder of Rabbi Yehuda Glick this past October in Jerusalem, Abbas praised the terrorist as a “martyr” who “rose to Heaven while defending our people’s rights and holy places.” Official Fatah run TV referred to this week’s Tel Aviv terror attack as a “stabbing operation”. There are far too many such incidents to cite all of them here.
And herein lies the rub. Those who oppose J Street are quickly labeled – usually by J Street – as extremist, anti-Palestinian or undesirous of peace. These accusations fly in the face of reality as most of those who have misgivings about J Street share the same desire for a peaceful resolution that J Street purports to support.
It is not J Street’s stated goals that provoke suspicion, rather it is their inexplicable behavior. However one feels about Israeli policies, J Street’s assertion that Abbas is a poster child of non-violent coexistence beggars belief. While most of those who identify with J Street do so of noble motivation, eventually one is obligated to engage in a moral assessment regarding with whom one is associating. At a certain point saying “I didn’t know” is not enough.
There’s never a bad time for Jstreet to crap on the PM, but in this specific case, it was necessary to dirty him. Bibi, after all, dirtied someone whom J-Street apologists need to remain pure, unblemished, because so much of their story depends on Abbas being someone who we can trust, someone who truly and deeply wants to end the conflict, and someone who can build a peaceful Palestinian state alongside the existing Jewish one.
You know, Abbas is only pro-peace because the media crowned him with that title, a title they will not allow you to tamper with even if it differs with his history or the concrete reality on the ground. Abbas in that sense, is a story construct. He is because he has to be; that’s at least when he sticks to the script. Which he almost never does, but we’re not supposed to ask those questions that may make him indefensible and frame him as a supporter of terrorism because again, that would dirty their Harvey Dent.
If Abbas is not Pro-Peace, then we don’t have a legitimate partner in peace. If we don’t have a legitimate partner in peace, then J Street wouldn’t have much of a cause standing up for the Palestinian leadership because Hamas isn’t an easily defend-worthy victim whose case they can make and defend.
Why can’t J Street be honest about this relationship? This cover they extend to a thug? This thug who shares none of their values, for democracy, Western Liberalism, equality, and basic human rights? Why do they always have to pull out the moral equivalence and dirty Jews or conservative Jews whenever they lightly – and I mean “lightly” – criticize Palestinians? Because the success of their ideologically-consistent political ends would fall into doubt and ultimately be put on hold indefinitely, …and because it would make them look bad. For, you know, using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to live out a political ideology that has nothing to do with the conflict.
Astute observation, thank you David.