J Sreet head Jeremy Ben Ami. (flickr) J Sreet head Jeremy Ben Ami. (flickr)
Jeremy Ben-Ami

Fringe left-wing group J Street has taken Obama’s side on getting tough with Israel. The organization is not accepted by mainstream US Jewry as representative of their stance on Israel.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the American-based, left-wing J Street organization, praised US President Barack Obama’s pressure on Israel following Prime Minister Benjamin  Netanyahu’s reelection last Tuesday.

“We are very glad to hear that the Obama administration is reconsidering its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Ben-Ami told a crowd of approximately 3,000 on Saturday night at the J Street annual conference in Washington, D,C.

In a Saturday interview to the Huffington Post, Obama said the US was considering its next steps, possibly ending America’s long-standing support for Israel at the United Nations, and specifically at the UN Security Council (UNSC), where the Palestinians are unilaterally pushing for a resolution to establish a Palestinian state.

Ben-Ami expressed support for such a move, saying the US should outline “the parameters for a reasonable resolution of the conflict grounded in two states for two people.”

Regarding American support for Israel at the UN, Ben-Ami said the US should “do more than block one-sided actions targeting Israel, which we believe it should. It’s time to support a Security Council resolution proactively laying down a marker for both sides as to how their conflict needs to end.”

J Street

J Street conference. (flickr)

Ben-Ami attempted to give voice to a supposedly growing frustration among US Jews regarding Israel, saying, “How can the American Jewish community hope to promote a two-state solution if we don’t distinguish between the State of Israel within the Green Line and the land occupied in 1967?”

The J Street leader slammed the Netanyahu campaign tactics, saying, “It’s anger and it’s pain we feel at having watched the prime minister of Israel use fear-mongering and scare tactics tinged with racism to claw his way to 23 percent.”

He added that he could expect such behavior only from Netanyahu: “In order to save his political life [Netanyahu expressed] complete opposition to Palestinian statehood and then tried to shamelessly and cynically try to walk it back.”

“I am still furious at the damage that has been done to the US-Israel relationship by the partisan gamesmanship of the prime minister, his ambassador and Speaker Boehner around his address to a joint session of Congress,” Ben-Ami added, in reference to Netanyahu’s recent address to a special session of Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat, where the Israeli leader received 26 standing ovations.

“We say to Prime Minister Netanyahu – who claims to speak for all the Jews of the world – no, Mr. Prime Minister, you do not speak for us,” Ben-Ami said, adding “We do not agree with you. We do not agree with the course you are charting for Israel, and we will oppose what you stand for when we feel it is not in the best interests of the United States, of world Jewry or of the State of Israel.”