ADL Condemns J Street for “Inflammatory and Repugnant” Campaign

Barbara Lahav, of Seattle's J Street chapter asks if Bibi is "speaking for us?". Photo Credit: Facebook

Barbara Lahav, of Seattle’s J Street chapter asks if Bibi is “speaking for us?”. Photo Credit: Facebook

The Anti-Defamation League today condemned J Street for what it called an “inflammatory and repugnant” campaign against the Israeli Prime Minister.

Responding to J Street’s current full on,  public assault against the Israeli government and its Prime Minister,  the Anti Defamation League issued an unprecedented condemnation of the Israel focused lobbying group. The strongly worded statement comes on the heels of J Street’s very public effort to pressure Prime Minister Netanyahu into canceling his scheduled speech before congress scheduled for March 3rd. The ADL Press release used unusually strong language in condemning J Street for what they called an “inflammatory and repugnant” campaign.

The ADL strongly condemned J Street's campaign against the Israeli Prime Minister.

The ADL condemned J Street’s campaign against the Israeli Prime Minister.

The ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

At the height of the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to Congress, J Street’s petition campaign that attempts to distance itself and American Jews from Israel’s duly elected prime minister is inflammatory and repugnant and exacerbates an already heated and politicized moment for U.S. Israel relations at a critical juncture in the West’s negotiations with Iran.

J Street’s petition campaign that attempts to distance itself and American Jews from Israel’s duly elected prime minister is inflammatory and repugnant – ADL

Let’s remember what is at stake: Preventing extremist Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon that could threaten Israel’s very existence.  In that goal, Mr. Netanyahu surely does represent not only Israelis but American Jews as well.

J Street has been engaged in an intense lobbying effort seemingly designed to drive a wedge between American Jews and the Jewish state. The campaign includes ads declaring that the Israeli Prime Minister does not speak for American Jewry. One of the more notorious promotions features a glaring Netanyahu, his face recolored in an ominous blood orange shade, the text reading “No, Mr. Netanyahu. You do not speak for me”.

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Barbara Lahav of Seattle’s J Street chapter asks her Facebook audience to consider signing a petition condemning the Israeli Prime Minister. Photo Credit: Facebook

J Street responded to the ADL condemnation with their own statement, saying “There is nothing inflammatory or repugnant in either the form or content of our actions”.  The group further justified their actions stating “we have provided a mechanism for the many American Jews who do not feel that Netanyahu speaks for them to express that sentiment”.

There is nothing inflammatory or repugnant in either the form or content of our actions – J Street

For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a statement today acknowledging differences between the Obama administration and Israel over a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“We do have today a profound disagreement with the United States administration and the rest of the P5+1 over the offer that has been made to Iran. This offer would enable Iran to threaten Israel’s survival.

This is a regime, Iran, that is openly committed to Israel’s destruction. It would be able, under this deal, to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time, and within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs for the goal of our destruction.”

The Prime Minister extended conciliatory words to the American president while emphasizing his personal responsibility for the safety of the citizens of the state of Israel

This is not a personal disagreement between President Obama and me. I deeply appreciate all that he has done for Israel in many fields. Equally, I know that the President appreciates my responsibility, my foremost responsibility, to protect and defend the security of Israel. I am going to the United States not because I seek a confrontation with the President, but because I must fulfil my obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country.

Explaining the timing of his address before Congress, Netanyahu added.

I intend to speak about this issue before the March 24th deadline and I intend to speak in the US Congress because Congress might have an important role on a nuclear deal with Iran.

While some have questioned  J Street’s claim that a large majority of American Jews back President Obama’s efforts to forge a nuclear deal with Iran, The Times of Israel  released a poll today indicating that “3 in 4 Israelis don’t trust Obama to keep Iran from nukes”.

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