J Street Brings PLO Official to Seattle
On October 19th, Maen Rashid Areikat, a Senior PLO official and diplomat for the Palestine Liberation Organization will appear at Seattle’s Town Hall as J Street’s guest.
For many, the very mention of the Palestine Liberation Organization conjures up searing images of the execution of eleven Israeli athletes in Munich, a wheelchair bound Leon Klinghoffer mercilessly tossed into the waves or the shooting up of a school bus in northern Israel in which nine children were murdered.
Yet it is not the anti-Zionists of SUPER-UW or the anti-Semites of Seamac that will introduce the PLO ambassador to the Emerald City, but rather J-Street, an organization that reminds us in perpetuum of their pro-Israel bona fides.
Areikat asserted that any future Palestinian state would be cleansed of any physical Jewish presence.
Areikat created a stir in 2010 when he told Tablet magazine that any future Palestinian state would be cleansed of any physical Jewish presence. Although Areikat subsequently claimed that his remarks were misunderstood, his words in Tablet magazine are difficult to misinterpret.
Here you have the PLO ambassador who advocates that Jews cannot live in Judea or Samaria, period – the same as ethnic cleansing – and instead of protests, J Street embraces him.
Seattle attorney and Jewish community leader Steven Hemmat was troubled by J Street’s choice of guest. “If some Israeli official advocating the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Israel appeared to speak in Seattle, there would be major protests” noted Hemmat. “Yet here you have the PLO ambassador who advocates that Jews cannot live in Judea or Samaria, period – the same as ethnic cleansing – and instead of protests, J Street embraces him. This is a terrible double standard and reveals the motivations of this radical advocacy group.”
Areikat’s comments are part of a consistent effort to extricate Jews from the history of the Holy Land. He has equivocated on whether there was an ancient Jewish presence in Jerusalem and has professed ignorance of the existence of any historic Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount.
J Street officials like Seattle’s Joshua Friedes [Director of Rabbinic and Synagogue Engagement] and lay leaders like Barbara Lahav have worked diligently to integrate the divisive organization within the core Jewish institutions in the Pacific Northwest. With a determined focus, the group has recruited pivotal Seattle area Jewish religious leaders to the J Street Rabbinic Cabinet, and have had an influential presence within the Seattle Jewish Federation. The group has brought anti-Israel critics like Matt Duss and boycott supporters like Peter Beinart to Hillel UW, and now during the Jewish Festival of Succot bring the PLO to Seattle.
PLO Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat will be the guest of J Street at Seattle’s Town Hall on October 19th at 7:00pm.