Just months before being hired by J Street in 2012, the author of the tirade discussed below, Alan Elsner, was arguing that Israel "spurred terrorism" by withdrawing from Gaza and "quite properly refuses to accept preconditions" for peace talks. Wonder what changed his mind?
PHILADELPHIA – April 25, 2017 – J Street has honored the Middle East Forum by calling our work "truly terrifying" and "medieval."
Coming from this wild-eyed far-left, anti-Israel precinct, we can't think of finer praise for our efforts to find a path to Israeli-Palestinian peace.
J Street's April 19th screed, ponderously titled "Congressmen Team With 'Anti-Muslim Extremist' to Launch 'Defeat Palestinians' Caucus," attacks ideas behind the recently-formed Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC). The caucus is chaired by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), with support from the Middle East Forum.
Responding to some of J Street's specific points:
J Street: The new approach pushes the "myth that Israel can end the conflict by using brute force and repression."
Middle East Forum: Talk of "brute force" and "repression" is the product of J-Street's feverish imagination. None of us call for "brute force." Indeed, we oppose this concept. We call for smart tactics which convey that Israel is permanent, that efforts to eliminate it have failed, and that the rejectionist gig is up. One great way Washington can signal this is moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem – not exactly a matter of force. What do you say to that, J Street?
As for "repression," it is the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – both non-democratic, non-law-abiding tyrannies – that engage in wholesale repression of the Palestinian people, not Israel.
J Street: The new approach seeks to "make the Palestinians accept their eternal statelessness."
MEF: We do not oppose an eventual two-state solution to the conflict. We reject this at present, however, given the intractable aggressiveness of the PA and Hamas alike. Once Palestinians no longer seek to eliminate the Jewish state, let's talk.
J Street: The new approach holds that "Israel can only make peace by defeating the Palestinians and breaking their will to resist."
MEF: Ok, you got us on this one. Wars end when one side gives up. Which side do you want to win, J Street? The Palestinian?
J Street: "The Southern Poverty Law Center has called [Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes] an 'anti-Muslim extremist'."
MEF: Sure, one discredited far-left organization cites another in a little bubble of radicalism. Mr. Pipes has sounded the alarm about the Islamist threat for over three decades, while always distinguishing between Islamism – a political ideology – and the Islamic faith. In his much-repeated phrase, "radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution."
Far from being anti-Muslim, challenging Islamism means standing by the majority of Muslims who do not subscribe to this creed. The Forum not only expresses support for reformist Muslims but provides financial backing to some of them from its own resources.
J Street: "[B]acking the new caucus is the Christians United for Israel Action Fund, the legislative arm of Christians United for Israel – a fundamentalist group well known for funding Israeli settlements."
MEF: The Middle East Forum is delighted by CUFI's support for the caucus. As for Jewish residences in the West Bank, we take no position on this matter and CIVC supporters have varied views on it.
Israeli governments have tried the golden rule and diplomacy since 1989; sadly, their good-will efforts have led to more hostility. Palestinians won't accept that their efforts to eradicate the Jewish state have failed until the world – including the muddle-headed do-gooders at J Street – firmly tells them to give up this goal. That's our core message.
The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, is dedicated to defining American interests in the Middle East and protecting America from Islamist threats. It achieves its goals through intellectual, activist, and philanthropic efforts.
For more information, contact: