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Eli Yishai to Netanyahu: Boycott J Street (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 03/22/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=263042 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Shas chairman Eli Yishai wrote Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday urging them to reconsider the decision to send a senior diplomat to next week´s J Street conference in Washington.

In past years, official Israeli representatives in Washington boycotted events organized by the controversial lobby that bills itself as "pro-Israel and pro-peace." But this year Deputy Head of Mission Barukh Binah will attend and even speak at the conference.

Binah, who holds the title of ambassador, just finished a four-year stint and served as the Deputy Director General for North America and prior to that held the prestigious post of Israel´s Consul General to the Midwest in Chicago.

"I am asking you to intervene immediately and prevent the deputy mission head from participating in the J Street conference," Yishai wrote. "This organization is not pro-Israel. It is more similar to organizations that have a goal of harming the state. The organization is at the very least pro-Palestinian, acting systematically against the state of Israel, its army and its citizens."

Yishai noted that while the IDF was recently taking steps to protect Israel from terrorists´ rocket fire, a J Street press release expressed concern about "airstrikes on Gaza that have killed over a dozen Palestinian civilians."

Israeli officials have said that some 26 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during the operation and with the exception of between one and three civilians, all were terrorists launching attacks. When J-Street issued its statement, 16 terrorists and two civilians had been killed.

J Street subsequently revised the statement on their website by removing the reference to the "dozen Palestinian civilians." A spokeswoman for the organization expressed regret over the error and said J Street had misreported the number of civilian casualties "based on an unfounded report." She emphasized that the mistake was corrected "within a couple of hours of the publication of the original statement."

In his letter, Yishai made reference to controversial statements attributed to left-wing activists affiliated with the organization and steps taken by J Street that were seen as problematic by Israeli government officials.

Yishai said it was wrong to legitimize J Street by sending Binah to the conference. He said there should be no contact between Israel and the organization.

"J Street´s many actions against Israel compete with those taken by organizations that have an official goal of harming the state state of Israel in any way possible," Yishai wrote. "I was shocked to hear that an official representative of Israel would participate in the central conference of this damaging organization that has acted against Israel´s interests for years."

J Street declined to comment. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/22/12)

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