J Street continues the criticism of The Israel Project


J Street has responded to The Israel Project’s criticism of it as too interested in attacking other Jewish organizations (see here) by continuing to attack The Israel Project.

In a statement on the group’s website, the group’s campaigns director, Isaac Luria continues to blast the group for using the term "ethnic cleansing" when talking about removal of settlements, while bringing up evangelical Christian leader John Hagee and charging the group with not helping the image of Israel:

It is time for The Israel Project and its supporters to consider whether the important effort they launched several years ago is actually advancing or undermining the purpose for which it was established – promoting and improving the image of the State of Israel. …

Does allying the pro-Israel community further with Pastor John Hagee by appearing at his conference hurt or help – even after he was seen in the last election cycle to be so far outside the mainstream of American politics that even the campaign of John McCain rejected his endorsement?

In fact, does the very concept of “Israel-right-or-wrong” advocacy really work on an issue and in a time when solving this problem requires recognition of complexity and nuance?

Meanwhile, Newsweek got a copy of the document that started this whole controversy, The Israel Project’s 116-page Global Language Dictionary. What is strange is that the magazine posted the document Thursday night without any accompanying story or comment –nothing about the "ethnic cleansing" controversy nor even any explanation of what The Israel Project does or what the "Global Language Dictionary" is. So anyone who just happened to surf across the page on the Newsweek website would have no idea what they were looking at and why. (Newsweek, you’re free to link to JTA if you want to provide some background to your readers.)

Interestingly, the portion of the document (which says no distribution or publication at the bottom of each page) on settlements uses the term "ethnic cleansing" at the very beginning of the chapter, in a sample monologue called "the best settlement argument." The remainder of the four-page chapter, with tips on how to talk and not talk about settlements, never uses the term again.

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