In 2007, for example, he helped close loopholes exploited by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to give financial and other assistance to the Hamas-controlled Islamic University in Gaza, among other terror-tied entities. But he didn’t stop there. His efforts ultimately led to the creation of the Partner Vetting System, which finally forced State and other agencies to screen foreign aid recipients against terrorist watch lists.
In other words, J-Street picked the wrong guy with whom to fight. (J-Street refused comment for this story.)
Urging Congressmen not to sign the Rothman-Austria letter, a J-Street memo circulated on March 18 claimed that it was “beneath reasonable standards of accuracy and objectivity” because it failed to talk about Israel’s misdeeds and all the positive actions from the PA. That mentality is what defines J-Street: Israel’s negatives must always be highlighted, while the PA should be put in the best possible light.
While J-Street complained that the letter didn’t give credit to the PA for increasing security cooperation with Israel, the “pro-peace” outfit neglected the repeated instances captured by Palestinian Media Watch of Abbas and his officials—including “man of peace” Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad—honoring and glorifying “martyrs.”
Perhaps the most baffling attack J-Street leveled against the Rothman-Austria letter, though, was that it didn’t mention that Abbas “has twice attempted to renew the activity of the Israeli-Palestinian-American committee for preventing incitement created at the Wye conference.” Since when does a government leader need an international conference to have the people on his payroll stop encouraging children to kill their neighbors?
Then again, it’s difficult to single out any one part of what was a deeply misguided endeavor that, in essence, provided cover for incitement to violence. It’s a tactical blunder that likely will haunt them long into the future, as it removes from J-Street any notion that it is “pro-Israel.”
A Democratic staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, summed up nicely the general attitude of many offices that joined the letter with the obvious question: “At the end of the day, what possible justification could there be for not telling the PA to end incitement?”
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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