Thursday, February 18, 2010
J Street, in cooperation with anti-Israel Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), is hosting a delegation of Congressmen from the US to Israel. Who is this CMEP that the "pro-Israel" J Street is running with? NGO Monitor has a good rundown:
Analysis: Churches for Middle East Peace and the BDS Movement
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), which is J-Street's partner in sponsoring the visit of a US Congressional delegation to Israel, is a US-based political advocacy organization. Like many other such NGOs, CMEP's rhetoric and its activities are not always consistent, and some of its constituent groups are centrally involved in the political war against Israel.
A number of CMEP partners take an active role in promoting BDS - the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign - as part of the 2001 Durban NGO agenda which calls for the total international isolation of Israel. For example, Friends of Sabeel North America (www.fosna.org) is a fundraising and publicity branch of the Palestinian NGO Sabeel. This organization, headed by Naim Ateek, is a leader of the church divestment campaign, and in his speaking tours around North America, Ateek employs antisemitic themes and imagery in sermons promoting his "Palestinian Liberation Theology." In promoting this agenda, his rhetoric includes references to "the Israeli government crucifixion system".
CMEP's website also features the "KAIROS Palestine Document", which was written by a group of Palestinian Christians, including Ateek. KAIROS Palestine calls for action designed to create "a system of economic sanctions and boycott [and divestment] to be applied against Israel," echoing Sabeel's efforts. CMEP also quotes Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, referring to the document as "a word of hope in a time of pessimism that could lead to despair."
This adoption of the Palestinian narrative of victimization, perhaps a reflection of the close ties to Sabeel and other Palestinian groups, was also evident in a January 21, 2005 full-page New York Times ad sponsored by CMEP. The text read, in part, "With each news report of Palestinian suffering...popular support in Arab and Muslim countries for terrorism grows and the threat of attacks directed at the United States increases."
A number of CMEP's board members also reflect the goal of demonization, under the façade of promoting peace. For example, Helena Cobban, a fierce anti-Israel ideologue and member Human Rights Watch's Middle East board, sits on CMEP's Leadership Council.
Thus, while much of the media coverage of this delegation has focused on the involvement of J-Street angle, this is only half of the story. CMEP is an equal partner, and deserves equal scrutiny.
The fact that J Street would partner with a group like CMEP is simply and straightforwardly another nail in the coffin of J Street's pro-Israel bona fides. How out to lunch do you have to be to partner with this group and give them credibility before a group of Congressmen? Here, BTW, is a search on "CMEP" at CAMERA's site. Lots of material there.
J Street's handling of the event is already causing trouble, as the Foreign Ministry is refusing to meet the delegation with J Street as an intermediary: US congressman demands explanation for chilly reception in Israel
A visiting U.S. congressman lashed out at Israel's number two diplomat Wednesday, saying he was snubbed by the Foreign Ministry and demanding an official clarification.
Rep. William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts and a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is heading a congressional delegation to the region. The trip is hosted by J Street, a liberal Jewish lobbying group that presents itself as an alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- one of Washington's most powerful lobbies.
J Street, which supports President Barack Obama's push for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, says it sought a meeting for the U.S. representatives with Israeli diplomats but was turned down.
The Foreign Ministry dismissed the complaint, saying in response that it did not need mediators to set up meetings with U.S. officials.
The snub appeared aimed at J Street. Israel's government has been critical of the group's programs, which are more dovish than those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hawkish government.
Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Delahunt said he was surprised and disappointed to read an Israeli newspaper report that he was being boycotted by the Foreign Ministry for his affiliation with J Street and identified Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon as the culprit.
"We were puzzled that the Deputy Foreign Minister has apparently attempted to block our meetings with senior officials in the Prime Minister's office and Foreign Ministry -- questioning either our own support of Israel or that we would even consider traveling to the region with groups thatthe deputy foreign minister has so inaccurately described as 'anti-Israel'," Delahunt said.
"In our opinion this is an inappropriate way to treat elected representatives of Israel's closest ally who are visiting the country."
Delahunt asked the Israeli government "for a clarification of its stance toward this and future delegations."
Ayalon's office said the deputy minister was prepared to meet any elected officials, especially from the U.S. Congress, but he "didn't need mediators."...
...Four other U.S. representatives were traveling with Delahunt -- Democrats Donald Payne of New Jersey, Lois Capps of California, Bob Filner of California and Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio...
All five of the Congresspeople now assisting J Street in redefining what it means to be "pro-Israel" were signatories to the Ellison/McDermott sponsored letter on the Gaza "siege."
Here's more on J Street's latest self-inflicted wound: J Street blasts Ayalon's 'boycott'.
This is what a pro-Israel group does? Partners with one of the worst of the anti-Israel Christian groups and causes a diplomatic incident with the government? Once again we see that J Street is more about leftist politics than about support for Israel. Leftism is the only thing a group trying to claim it was pro-Israel in any meaningful sense could possibly have in common with CMEP. They partner with CMEP yet denounce John Hagee. They bring Bill Delahunt on a trip to Israel and instigate a row putting Danny Ayalon on the spot, as though he doesn't have enough to worry about.
This is about Jeremy Ben-Ami's ego, fundraising and leftist politics. It has nothing to do with supporting Israel.
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I wanted to emphasize a few aspects of the J Street/CMEP (Churches for Middle East Peace) teamup, and do so in plain, direct English. (Previous posts: J Street Teams up With Leftist Christian Group to Cause Israel Diplomatic Trouble, J... Read More