New J Street spokesperson promoted GOP ‘Palestinian culture of hate’ comments in his last job

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 27 Comments

The days of being disappointed in J Street are long gone, but this does seem to be a new low. First the JTA:

Alan Elsner, a veteran journalist whose last job was helping to helm The Israel Project, joined J Street as its top spokesman.

Elsner was executive director of The Israel Project until September, when Josh Block, the former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was named TIP president.

Elsner, a longtime Reuters journalist and a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, is J Street’s latest hire from a centrist pro-Israel group, and probably the highest profile.

The statement announcing Elsner’s hire on Monday said there was no contradiction between his strong pro-Israel credentials and the group, which advocates a more assertive U.S. role in bringing about Israeli-Arab peace and an Israeli retreat from settlement building.

Want a sample of Elsner’s work at The Israel Project? Here’s the intro to a primer he authored on “Newt Gingrich and the Palestinian Culture of Hate“:

Republican Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann both raised the way Palestinians teach their children to hate Israelis and Jews in last weekend’s GOP debate. Here are some facts about this Palestinian “culture of hate.”

And the hate wasn’t limited to just Palestinians. Here is Elsner writing on how the Arab world is responding to the Republican primary:

Their commentaries show that the “culture of hate” that still persists in much of the Arab world toward Jews and Israel also colors views toward the U.S. democratic process.

J Street, how exactly do these attitudes redefine what it means to be pro-Israel in America? Actually, seems par for the course.

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27 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    December 5, 2012, 9:25 pm

    The Israeli pirates parrot.
    “Culture of Hate (screeeech) Culture of Eight (screeech) Pieces of Eight (screeech)”
    All Bibi needs is an eye patch. He’s got his boy to scrub SS JStreets decks for them.

  2. pabelmont
    December 5, 2012, 9:28 pm

    Who’s writing about the Israeli and AIPACish culture of hate? Oh and the free-standing (if any) Islamophobes, a real hate group if ever there was one.

    • Reds
      December 6, 2012, 10:14 am

      Didn’t AIPAC praise rupert murdoch? Knesset invite Glenn Beck to speak?

      When one’s bedfellow is Beck or Murdoch it shouldn’t this be a sign such person/group is on the wrong side?

  3. Krauss
    December 5, 2012, 10:09 pm

    I think this is one of the reasons that the more sane/intelligent people like Daniel Levy jumped ship.

    J Street, after its very recent (and proud!) pro-war rallies for Operation Cast Ballot Pillar of Defence, organized together with such stellar and liberal groups like AIPAC, couldn’t have sunk any lower. I was wrong.

    Ben-Ami deludes himself that he can change the ‘community from within’. He can’t. He has become like them and its more than past time that the actual liberals, not just the left, sever their ties with people like him and his right-wing outfit which has now, truly, become another AIPAC.

    • piotr
      December 6, 2012, 12:32 pm

      I read that Pillar of Defense was really Pillar of Cloud, as in

      And the Lord went before them to shew the way by day in a pillar of a cloud [smoke?], and by night in a pillar of fire: that he might be the guide of their journey at both times.

      So I would translate the name as “Israel under Cloud”.

    • piotr
      December 6, 2012, 12:47 pm

      I did not follow the doings of J-Street but perhaps it would be better to characterize it as an attempt to change the community from the top, by getting some powerful backers and recruiting professionals in the lobbying trade. They also strived to get the credentials as “pro-Israeli” from at least some elements of Israeli elite, and the kashrut certificates as “within mainstream” or “moderate”.

      It is a bit like trying to organize Trefa Banquet that would be approved by at least one well known Orthodox rabbi.

    • sliver
      December 6, 2012, 9:32 pm

      I don’t trust people who always have to tell you their “love” for Israel is deep and true,(watch out here comes a teeny criticism) and J-Street never stops writing their declaration of LOVE for Israel larger than necessary. Methinks they do protest too much. The other thing I notices is that they will endorse a “leftist” position only after testing the waters. If too many in the mainstream are agin it, they’ll lean rightward. If it’s safe, here they come, their chests all out,looking down to see if their flies are buttoned. If JVP is for it, you can bet they are agin it.

  4. gingershot
    December 5, 2012, 11:35 pm

    J Street is good cop, AIPAC is bad cop.

    Got to give those libs a place to go

  5. seafoid
    December 6, 2012, 5:15 am

    Culture of hate is used to slur peoples who are too poor to afford the culture of high tech war of the US and its allies. Culture of hate is a joke considering the hospitality of the native people of the Middle East.

    Culture of war is part of the US system of military Keynesianism where over 1 trillion dollars is spent annually feeding corporate swine from the trough of public money. The amount of that money that disappears in kickbacks and graft would comfortably fund insurance for 43 million uninsured Americans.

    But as Lenny Bruce used to say, there is only what is, and what could be is a dirty lie.

  6. upsidedownism
    December 6, 2012, 6:29 am

    After a half century of a brutal and merciless occupation, isn’t some degree of hatred of the Israeli occupiers completely normal.

    Did the French Resistance have a ‘culture of hate’ against the Nazis? The Fascist plan was to make France part of a greater ‘Germania’, just as the Zionist plan is to incorporate all of Palestine into a Greater Israel.

    • eljay
      December 6, 2012, 10:17 am

      >> Did the French Resistance have a ‘culture of hate’ against the Nazis?

      “French Resistance”? Surely this “Resistance” was nothing more than a conglomeration of morally snobbish French insurgents or terrorists, whose maximalist and destabilizing actions did nothing to promote peace and co-operation with the Nazi and democratic state of Greater Germany.

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2012, 6:35 pm

        “maximalist and destabilizing actions did nothing”

        Eljay, he’s gone, gone, gone, and he ain’t coming back. I think it’s been over a year now? Stop worrying. Of course, if you miss him…

      • eljay
        December 7, 2012, 6:56 pm

        >> Eljay, he’s gone, gone, gone, and he ain’t coming back. I think it’s been over a year now? Stop worrying. Of course, if you miss him…

        I can’t say that I miss him, but he sure did have a way with words. Not exactly a clear, concise or eloquent way, mind you, but a way nonetheless.

        As it is, I find that y.f. is doing a good job of filling RW’s “liberal Zionist” shoes: Accusing me of “moral snobbery” may not be quite on par with some of RW’s better lines, but as far as Zio-supremacist apologetics go, it’s a pretty good start. :-)

        But I do get your point, and I will avoid stirring up the old salt when there’s plenty of fresh salt to stir. (Not exactly sure what that means, but it made sense when I was typing it out. Good wine tonight…)

  7. marc b.
    December 6, 2012, 8:46 am

    at the risk of playing pop psychologist, deep down it seems that j-street wants to be aipac. not just be as influential as aipac, but actually invade its body and take over its role. (the conflict between the groups reminds me of a cinematic turf war among rival crime families, ben-ennemi playing the ‘virtuous’ don corleone, his mouth wadded up with cotton balls for dramatic delivery. (‘these drugs are a dirty business’) j-street has tried to play its own little virtuous role, but it’s not signficantly different than its aipac rival. (once again, as a psychological marker, ben-ennemi’s slobbering interview of the dersh-bag clinched it for me.)

    • marc b.
      December 6, 2012, 9:31 am

      for the true culture of hate, see richard silverstein’s excellent piece on the ‘jidf’ (jewish internet defense force) which seems to be advocating the creation of some sort of jewish hit squad in the states. the impetus? internet trolls. insane. maybe weiss should give a bit more thought to his continuing need to be psychologically separate from ‘americans’. this is what that mind set leads to.

      • American
        December 6, 2012, 12:11 pm

        I believe the David Brotsky running this jidf has been exposed before. As I remember it was at Helen Corbin’s site where he was posting inflammatory comments and personally attacking her that he was traced to being based in Texas.
        If this is the same one he’s been around a while but looks like he’s getting crazier. Sounds like the old JDL.

        Here are some of his more incendiary recent tweets (first, second, third):
        A lot of these trolls are making me think it will soon be time to take JIDF to the next level: armedmilitias. #serious
        @JIDF and when i say “organized,” i mean strong Jewish men and friends thereof who are armed and ready/able to fight. #vigilante#justice
        …a small group of organized JIDF supporters in each major city in the world could make people think twice.
        Here he links to a video clip of the target-practice scene from Taxi Driver, in which Robert DeNiro points an unloaded gun at the camera and fires in preparation for mounting a political assassination:
        Some Jew haters need to be taught some lessons…. #vigilante#justice#jews#torah#israel#tcot
        Here he features a pistol with silencer with the caption: “Good day.”

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2012, 6:45 pm

        “@JIDF and when i say “organized,” i mean strong Jewish men and friends thereof who are armed and ready/able to fight. #vigilante#justice”

        A bunch of guys with peyas and kippahs, toting semiautomatic weapons (Don’t forget the little steel-rimmed glasses).
        My God, they could blend in anywhere, strike, and just melt away! Every Kosher Deli in America would be under surveillance. A bug in every blintz!

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2012, 6:49 pm

        “Here he links to a video clip of the target-practice scene from Taxi Driver, in which Robert DeNiro points an unloaded gun at the camera and fires”

        Liuke every other half-ass wanna-be Keyboard Kommando, he wanted to post a picture of himself handling firearms, but his mother told him not to play with guns.

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2012, 7:02 pm

        “@JIDF and when i say “organized,” i mean strong Jewish men and friends thereof who are armed and ready/able to fight. #vigilante#justice”

        Has he seen those hi-tech phylacteries they sell on line? Just what his groups need. They double as a survival kit, with a two-week supply of food, can be easily assembled into seven different kinds deadly weapons, or a boat, and best of all, the straps can tow up to 3500 lbs! You got those and a couple of remote-control mezuzahs to blow open doors and stuff, and those anti-Semites better watch their semantics.

      • HHM
        December 6, 2012, 12:29 pm

        Thanks Marc,

        I looked up the Silverstein piece, “David Brotsky’s Romance With Guns, Violence and Pro-Israel Hate” definitely a must-read. Here’s the link:

  8. Reds
    December 6, 2012, 8:55 am


    I had such high hopes for J-Street. It’s interesting we always here “Palestinian teach there children hate” yet little on polls in Israel showing a growing trend of Israeli jew teaching there children hate.

    like 46% of Israeli teens: Revoke Arabs’ rights or Israel F.P rally “deaths to arabs” chants. Why doesn’t Elsner see anything wrong with that?

    I thought under obama 08 election he would embrace J-Street but instead it seems J-Street and obama embraced AIPAC instead and seems nothing more than a controlled outlet to softly criticized Israel.

    Plus the obvious question should be why is Elsner queoting the likes of Newt or Bachmann ?

    • seanmcbride
      December 6, 2012, 11:30 am


      I had such high hopes for J-Street.

      How many times now have we been burned by “liberal Zionists” who are running interference for Likud Zionism as part of a good cop/bad cop routine?

      Never be fooled again. “Liberal Zionists” have never been liberal — beneath the slick feel-good patter, they are basically right-wing extremists who are comfortable with blatant manifestations of racism and fascism when expressed by Israel.

      “Liberal Zionists” have worked hand in glove with Likud Zionists and neoconservatives to engineer the entire Global War on Terror (including the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars), the Clash of Civilizations and the relentless assault on American civil liberties.

  9. Erasmus
    December 6, 2012, 10:05 am

    Demasking J-Street and their (badly hidden) driving force

    Such personal recruitment is hopefully the last nail in J-Street’s coffin.
    Adios – Reqiescat in silentio!!

  10. W.Jones
    December 6, 2012, 10:52 am

    Thank you for your article, Adam.

    I hope it will be OK for me to report here what i did in another comment:

    [J Street] distributes $1.8 million to federal candidates, making it nation’s largest pro-Israel PAC again.

    JStreetPAC emerged from the 2012 election as the nation’s largest pro-Israel PAC and with 50 percent more endorsed Members of the House and Senate than last cycle.

    Do you (or other readers) think J Street is as big or bigger than AIPAC?

    • ritzl
      December 7, 2012, 9:33 pm

      J-Street is actually a PAC (legal, Political Action Committee), where AIPAC (“public affairs committee”) is not. AIPAC doesn’t donate or lobby directly. But it swings huge amounts of money in its favored direction. Orders of Magnitude more money that J-Street does directly. At the touch of a button.

  11. Les
    December 6, 2012, 11:19 am

    J Street did not get swallowed up by AIPAC but chose to merge just to keep itself alive.

  12. HHM
    December 6, 2012, 11:50 am

    One can find a nice critique of J Street here, J Street, a Dead End for Palestinians. Excerpt:

    J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami has said, “J Street is proud of AIPAC’s many accomplishments” and distinguished the two groups as having “different priorities rather than different views.” For example, the January 2012 issue of our local Jewish Federation Newsletter announced an upcoming event, “J-Street and AIPAC will present how each organization supports Israel. Come find out how both groups are walking different paths to the same goal.” J Street Field Director Carinne Luck stated in a Jewish Review piece, “J Street is more often lobbying on the same side as AIPAC…”

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