It looks like J Street’s new university chapter in Jerusalem, whose director’s anti-Israel statements have already ignited controversy, is taking more steps to align itself with the anti-Israel left. The organization is sponsoring an event with Combatants for Peace, a “bi-national movement of Israelis and Palestinians who have decided to lay down their arms and realize their vision of resolving the conflict by peaceful means.” In other words, it’s a group that encourages IDF soldiers to drop out of the military.
And as the Independent Media Review Analysis points out, the event appears to conflict with J Street U’s own statement of principles, which support Israel’s right to self-defense:
When J Street U states in its Statement of Principles that is supports “Israel’s right to defend itself against external threats” J Street U is supporting Israel’s right to have an army strong enough “to defend itself against external threats.”
#3 Now hold that thought and now consider the following evening sponsored by
J Street U Jerusalem:
J Street U Jerusalem presents Lochmim L’Shalom/Combatants for Peace Join us for an evening with Lochmim L’Shalom/Combatants for Peace. …
These are Israeli soldiers who declare that they will not participate in defending Israel against external threats.
#5. So while J Street U supports “Israel’s right to defend itself against external threats,” J Street Y’s Jerusalem branch sponsors an evening promoting a group that wishes to strip Israel of its ability to defend itself against external threats.
First, some background on Combatants for Peace. The CFP is one of those organizations that sound fairly benign on the surface but in reality promote some pretty destructive and phony narratives about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. For example, if you skim through the “personal stories” section of the Combatants for Peace website, you’ll find that the group’s Israeli and Palestinian members became involved in the program for very different reasons.
The typical Israeli members are former IDF soldiers, who claim that they left the military because it intentionally committed atrocious human rights abuses against the Palestinian people and illegally occupied Palestinian land. In contrast, the typical Palestinian members allege that they suffered years of inhuman cruelty at the hands of the IDF. This supposedly led them to commit small acts of violent resistance before they realized that peaceful resistance could bring about an even faster end to the illegal Occupation.
Most of the stories are chock-full of fantastical claims of Israeli military abuse, including allegations that soldiers lock Palestinians prisoners in water-filled coffins for days, snatch 10-year-olds from their beds at night on phony terrorism charges, and regularly shoot activists in the head for no reason.
One of the members, Chen Alon, even equates the IDF to suicide bombers:
There is a common thought in Israeli society that Palestinian mothers care less about their children – and the proof is that Palestinian mothers send their children to commit suicide attacks. And yet Israeli mothers are willing to sacrifice their children in exactly the same way by sending their children into the army. The mindset is no different.
You cannot be pro-Israel without supporting the existence of the Israeli military. Period. As J Street struggles to recover from its numerous political and financial scandals, I suspect that its Jerusalem university chapter is going to continue to be a thorn in its side.