The Zionist Organization of America’s director in Israel invited J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami to witness the Arab violence on the Mount of Olives, but has yet to hear back.
Pro-Israel groups, such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), are deeply troubled by the increased incidence of Arab violence and desecration in and around the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
These “encroachments are integral to the larger Palestinian-Arab campaign to undermine Israeli sovereignty in all of Jerusalem,” says Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Israel Director Jeff Daube, who maintains that J Street, which defines itself as pro-Israel, “should condemn antisemitic violence on the Mount of Olives.”
Daube, who has been outspoken on the issue of anti-Israel incitement in Jerusalem neighborhoods and on the Mount of Olives in particular, recently invited Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, to join him on-site for a briefing on the deteriorating security situation and to add his name to the condemnations.
Daube first made his public offer in the Times of Israel, prompted by Ben-Ami’s May 13 article in the same publication. The J Street head, trying to reverse how his organization (which claims on its website to be the “political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans fighting for the future of Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people”) is negatively perceived, had begun by informing readers that his Zionist parents and ancestors going back generations are buried on the Mount of Olives.
Expressing mock puzzlement, Daube spotlighted the obvious contradiction: Proud son Ben-Ami, claiming that his “love and concern for Israel” is unassailable given his family attachment to the most venerated of Jewish cemeteries of all time, which Ben-Ami acknowledges is a “national heritage” symbol, contrasted with J Street leader Ben-Ami, persistently turning a blind eye to the worsening Arab attacks and highly destructive vandalism in that very location.
Further explaining his purpose in reaching out to Ben-Ami, Daube said:
“The routine abuse of the 150,000 Jewish souls who rest there, sadly in less than peace, first of all begs for condemnation by anyone respecting the right of mourners and pilgrims to honor the dead. But as the burial ground of ancient and modern Israel’s greatest leaders, prophets, sages, poets and fighters, the loss of this national treasure by dint of that alone would be a national tragedy. It is not unreasonable to expect that a Jewish group purporting to be pro-Israel and pro-peace should be speaking out for safeguarding the Mount of Olives.”
The ZOA admittedly is not hopeful that Ben-Ami, even as he is looking to burnish his pro-Israel bona fides, would vigorously condemn the Arab stonings and near-lynchings of Jewish mourners and the non-stop Palestinian incitement that is egging on the perpetrators.
“To date J Street has never denounced the Mount of Olives violence,” said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, “likely because the anti-Jewish hatred and designs on Jerusalem, both manifest in the attacks, do not comport with the J Street lie — that Israel has a Palestinian partner with which it can pursue peace currently.”
Written by: United with Israel Staff