The New York Times-J Street Axis

Ethan Bronner, in a May 8, 2011 New York Times article, entitled “Abbas Urges Continuation of U.S. Aid Despite Agreement With Hamas,”reports on PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s business-as-usual stance: urging the U.S. to force Israel to negotiate with the reunited Palestinians and continuing to provide the Palestinians with millions of dollars in aid despite Abbas’s new partnership with terrorist group Hamas. Hamas has steadfastly refused to negotiate with Israel, has called for an end to the “Zionist project” and is committed to armed struggle against the Jewish state.

While he mentions that senators from US government  have written to the American president to point out that “U.S. law prohibits aid from being provided to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas,” Bronner hardly explores the widespread criticism of Abbas’s reconciliation with Hamas. It comes from critics who argue that such a move “spells the end of the institution-building program under Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad,” and the reversal of “U.S.-brokered peace talks”,  and those who view Abbas’s partnership with Hamas as a complete betrayal of any sort of peace process with Israel.  Instead, the newspaper correspondent chooses to highlight the views of J Street,  a group acting as an emissary for Abbas.
Of course, Bronner neglects to identify J Street as a lobby group; he calls them “a group of visiting American Jews.” Nor does he mention the controversy that surrounds this organization that attempts to position itself as a “pro-Israel” organization while its stances indicate quite the opposite. For example, J Street rejected US House of Representatives’ Resolution 867 condemning the libelous Goldstone report on the Gaza war and it urged the US to withhold its veto of a UN Security Council resolution against Israel. In fact, the latter position prompted a falling-out with one-time supporter Rep. Gary Ackerman who explained:

After learning of J Street’s current public call for the Obama administration to not veto a prospective UN Security Council resolution that..would give fresh and powerful impetus to the effort to internationally isolate and delegitimize Israel, I’ve come to the conclusion that J Street is not an organization with which I wish to be associated.

Nor is anything mentioned about J Street’s funding: it initially denied but later acknowledged receiving funding from George Soros, who is well-known for his philanthropic support of organizations hostile to Israel , and it reportedly has received donations from dozens of pro-Palestinian and Iranian advocates.

While emphasizing the views of J Street, without properly alerting readers to its leanings and track record, Bronner –intentionally or not — bolsters the organization’s own agenda, which would have Israel negotiate with a group sworn to its destruction while the US foots the bill.

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