update deskJewish Diaspora

Israeli minister: J Street a ‘hostile organization’

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli criticized the lobby for supporting the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Amichai Chikli, minister of Diaspora affairs and minister for social equality, arrives for a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, May 14, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Amichai Chikli, minister of Diaspora affairs and minister for social equality, arrives for a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, May 14, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

J Street is “a hostile organization that harms the interests of the State of Israel,” Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli says.

The 41-year-old Likud Party member made the statement during an interview on Monday with Kan News in the context of the left-wing self-described “pro-Israel” advocacy group retweeting a photo of the minister gesturing to anti-government demonstrators at the Celebrate Israel Parade in Manhattan on June 4.

Chikli dismissed J Street as unimportant, criticizing the organization for supporting the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reminding viewers that far-left Jewish billionaire George Soros provides financial support to the group.

“I have no expectation of J Street, which George Soros funded with $1 million, there’s no turning to him [for answers],” Chikli said, in reference to the J Street Action Fund receiving $1 million from Soros’s Democracy PAC last year.

J Street responded to Chikli’s remarks in a Twitter post, saying that he attacked the organization as hostile “because we’re standing with Israelis to help defend the country’s democratic future—and standing up to the extreme, dangerous agenda of his far-right government.”

A meeting between Chikli and Jewish leaders in Washington scheduled for June 8 was canceled. The local Jewish federation cited a scheduling conflict, while rabbis who were to participate dropped out and a protest was scheduled.

The invited rabbis announced that they would not participate and a group called UnXeptable—Saving the Israeli Democracy had said it would protest the off-the-record roundtable, which was to be hosted in the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s office in North Bethesda, Maryland.

But a Jewish Federations of North America spokeswoman told JNS that two meetings with Chikli took place earlier in the week at the Federations’ New York office.

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