(August 17, 2018 / JNS) J Street PAC, the political arm of the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” J Street, is drawing condemnation for its support of Michigan Democratic candidate for Congress Rashida Tlaib, who has voiced support for the BDS movement, a cut in U.S. military aid to Israel and the end of a two-state solution regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“How can [J Street] continue billing itself as a pro-Israel organization when it is backing a congressional candidate who has pledged to vote against U.S. military aid to Israel when she gets to Congress?” the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) questioned in a statement obtained by JNS.
J Street PAC has donated $2,700 to Tlaib’s campaign.
In its endorsement of Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American who won the Democratic primary last week for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, the group praised her Palestinian heritage as helping her to understand the “hardships” endured “by both sides of the conflict.”
“Having traveled to Israel and the Palestinian Territories several times, she is ‘personally familiar with the costs that the conflict has brought to Israelis and Palestinians.’ When it comes to the peace process, she believes that the U.S. should be directly involved with negotiations to reach a two-state solution,” J Street said.
The organization added, “On Iran, Tlaib believes that the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal of 2015] was working, and she supports efforts that slow the spread of nuclear weapons, and foster peace and economic relations between the U.S. and Iran.”
Additionally, since her primary victory, Tlaib says she now does not endorse a two-state solution, instead calling for a one-state option, the “right of return” of more than 5 million Palestinian refugees and voicing support for the BDS movement.
“One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work. I’m only 42 years old but my teachers were of that generation that marched with Martin Luther King. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work,” she said in an interview with In These Times, an American politically progressive/democratic Socialist monthly news and opinion magazine published in Chicago
Tlaib added: “I’m an ACLU card member. I stand by the rights of people who support BDS. Allow the students to be a part of the movement. I am so proud of the Center for Constitutional Rights in support of student movements for BDS.”
NCYI president Farley Weiss said that anyone who supports BDS is encouraging the destruction of Israel.
“Anyone who is pro-BDS and anti-military aid to Israel cannot be pro-Israel, and anyone who supports BDS is actually encouraging the destruction of Israel,” said Weiss. “It is unfathomable that J Street—an organization that purports to be pro-Israel—can continue to make that claim after giving its endorsement and financial support to someone who is so blatantly anti-Israel.”
Weiss added, “You cannot be ‘pro-Israel’ by simply claiming that you are ‘pro-Israel.’ Actions speak louder than words, and J Street’s actions in this case belies its claim that it is ‘pro-Israel.’ Rashida Tlaib’s support of the anti-Israel BDS movement and her emphatic pledge to oppose U.S. military aid to Israel are entirely incongruous with the United States’ longstanding support for its democratic ally.”
“For J Street to assert that it is pro-Israel when it endorsed a pro-BDS candidate is extremely hypocritical,” concluded Weiss. “We call upon J Street to either stop falsely claiming it is pro-Israel or modify its endorsement criteria to ensure that it never again supports a pro-BDS, anti-aid to Israel candidate and never again gives funding to such an individual.”