Eli Yishai to Netanyahu: Boycott J Street (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 03/22/12)
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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
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
"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
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