Founded in 2011 as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group that could provide a counterweight to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), J Street has recently taken to attacking Birthright—the nonpartisan and nondenominational program that arranges free visits to Israel for young Jews. David M. Weinberg comments:
[Rather than simply] partnering with the mainstream Israeli political left to build support in Washington for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, . . . J Street has become . . . an organization that spends almost all of its time and money besmirching Israel, smearing AIPAC and other leading American Jewish organizations, boosting U.S.-Iran relations, and backing political candidates for whom promoting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement is a badge of honor.
J Street is not happy with Birthright because it, and many other trips that bring some 50,000 students on tours of Israel [every year], . . . “omit Palestinian narratives in their programming and erase Palestinians and the occupation from our collective consciousness.” I’m quoting here verbatim from J Street campus propaganda. . . . “These trips therefore perpetuate the attitudes and politics that help make demolitions [of the houses of terrorists] and occupation possible.” They might, God forbid, lead “our communities to feel no compulsion to speak out on behalf of Palestinian rights.”
J Street claims it wants to reform Birthright, but it hasn’t approached Birthright with thoughtful, constructive educational ideas; it’s just sought to sabotage the program. Dozens of campus professionals in the field tell me that activists from [the organization’s campus branch], J Street U, work assiduously to undermine Birthright recruitment drives. They make life hell for potential participants.