OpinionBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

J Street claims to be pro-Israel, but conceals BDS ties

False advocates like J Street must be rejected in favor of groups that fight for the values and policies that truly benefit our community.

J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami embraces Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas following his statements at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan on Feb. 11, 2020. Source: Screenshot.
J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami embraces Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas following his statements at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan on Feb. 11, 2020. Source: Screenshot.
Ryan Fournier
Ryan Fournier
Ryan Fournier is the founder and co-chair of Students for Trump.

The anti-Semitic BDS movement is part of a radical activist agenda to demonize Israel and target Jewish businesses in the Jewish state. It calls for illegal discrimination against Jewish and Israeli businesses—no one can claim to be pro-Israel and also stand for BDS.

Somehow, however, the founder of one of the most prominent self-described “pro-Israel” groups has secretly been undermining the pro-Israel movement and championing BDS. At a time when American Jews are under attack, we need strong advocates for our interests, not empty words and sabotage.

Daniel Levy, a co-founder of J Street, sits on the board of Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) where he has been a leading voice in support of massive financial grants for BDS activities. The two groups ostensibly clash when it comes to BDS policy, yet Levy’s fingerprints can be found at both organizations.

J Street claims to organize and mobilize “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people.” Their website talks about how J Street acts as the political arm of the American pro-Israel community. They say they advocate for pro-Israel policies before Congress and the administration, endorse and fundraise for candidates who are pro-Israel, fuel grassroots engagement with pro-Israel issues, and inspire the next generation to take up the cause. Most importantly, J Street claims to not support any BDS initiatives.

In contrast, RBF has provided at least $880,000 in funding since 2013 to groups working to advance a boycott of Israel. This money has gone to groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestine Legal, Jewish Voice for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee—all radical activists for anti-Israel policies. The board, including Levy, traveled to Israel and the Palestinian territories in early 2014 and met a range of activists and political figures. The visit was said to have “profoundly changed members of the board” and after the visit RBF’s funding for pro-BDS groups spiked.

The more you look at the paradox of these organizations, the more the sham is exposed. J Street is acting as a Trojan horse—pretending to represent Jewish and pro-Israel interests and then leading its coalition further and further from the mainstream.

And the problem goes far beyond Levy. Earlier this month, current J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami came under fire for kissing the Holocaust-denying Palestinian Authority dictator Mahmoud Abbas. This is a man who has financed violent terrorism against Jews and who holds his seat of power against the will of his people. No friend of Israel has any business embracing a man like that.

J Street can no longer masquerade as an advocate for Israel and the Jewish people. We need to reject them as false advocates, and instead fight for the values and policies that truly benefit our community.

Ryan Fournier is the founder and co-chair of Students for Trump.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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