Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of J Street, is very upset by the divestment resolution being considered by the Presbyterian Church. He seems to threaten an end to Jewish-Christian harmony in this piece at Huffington Post: “BDS Puts Allies at Odds.”
Ben-Ami is trying to draw a red line inside liberal ranks, by threatening to withhold from the Christians beloved “traction in the American Jewish community.” To quote Prince: “All the critics love U in New York.” But he does not address the folks, many Jewish, inside J Street who are in favor of boycotting settlement products– like brave Peter Beinart. Ben-Ami seems to suggest they are anti-Israel.
And note that Jewish Voice for Peace is for divestment. They don’t speak for Jews? Excuse me but tens of thousands of Jews are in JVP, including bright young bushytailed Jews.
Also, Ben-Ami says “the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been clear for decades”. Isn’t that the problem? When something goes on for decades, it doesn’t work. Ben-Ami:
I would say to the Church’s leaders as they again consider joining forces with the BDS Movement, that the Movement’s rhetoric and tactics are not only a distraction, but a genuine threat to conflict resolution. Even the limited divestment approach under consideration by PCUSA falls under the rubric of larger BDS efforts to place blame entirely on one side of the conflict. Such an approach encourages not reconciliation, but polarization. Further, too many in and around the BDS movement refuse to acknowledge either the legitimacy of Israel or the right of the Jewish people as well as the Palestinian people to a state.
Pro-peace, pro-Israel advocacy has gained traction in the American Jewish community by embracing the mutuality inherent in the two-state solution….
the debate over BDS is sapping the resources of those working for peace by creating new and deep divisions among those who should be allies working together for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. If PCUSA disregards the voices of its Jewish allies in the quest for a two-state solution and votes to support divestment, it won’t bring a just peace any closer. It will merely lose the good will of many American Jews and
Then there’s this Ben-Ami alternative: “We call for bold American and international diplomatic initiatives, starting with a push to define mutually-agreed borders.” Yes J Street has been around four years with such clarion calls. Can they point to political progress?