J Street, ZOA campaign against fellow Jewish groups

Two Jewish groups are waging campaigns against other major Jewish organizations, based on their reactions — or lack of reactions — to last week’s rioting of Jewish settlers in Hebron.

First, there’s J Street, which wants to send a message to Malcolm Hoenlein — and is vowing to make American support for Jewish settlers a major issue in the coming year.

The new liberal pro-israel group, whose PAC raised more than a half million dollars for congressional candidates this year, sent out an e-mail Monday asking its members to sign a letter urging the Conference of Presidents to Major American Jewish Organizations to condemn the recent rioting of Jewish settlers in Hebron, as many other American Jewish groups did last week:

While many American Jewish organizations denounced the extremist settlers’ actions – there was one notable omission: the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the self-proclaimed "central coordinating body for American Jewry. Despite public calls for a statement on the settlers’ actions, the Conference, and its leader Malcolm Hoenlein, have refused,"It’s time to make our voices heard, particularly with other provocative settler actions and marches in the works.

The e-mail from J Street online director Isaac Luria adds: "Too often, the American Jewish community turns a blind eye to the damage being done with funds and support raised here that propel the settlers and their destructive agenda." According to Luria, the lesson is:

Grassroots pressure works – and that’s why we want to turn up the heat.  J Street is going to be very focused in 2009 on ensuring that the broader American Jewish community is mobilized to stop support from the United States for the settlers.  We’ll also be pressing the leading voices of our community to speak out far more boldly and urgently about this threat to Israel’s security and survival.

Meanwhile, the Zionist Organization of America is calling on six Jewish organizations — including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Commitee, the American Jewish Congress and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism — to "rescind" statements it made in support of the eviction of the Jewish settlers. The organization said the statements were erroneous because they claimed that the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the evictions,when in fact the court only permitted them to do so and left the actual decision in the hands of the government, according to two letters which were each signed by more than four dozen Knesset members.

The ZOA is respectfully requesting that the organizations that issued these statements rescind their support for the evictions that they made on the groundless basis that the Israel Supreme Court had ordered these evictions — a groundless claim that has already been exposed by nearly half the Knesset.

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