Eli Yishai to Netanyahu: Boycott J Street

Interior minister calls on Netanyahu, Liberman to prevent senior official from participating in left-wing group’s conference.

Binyamin Netanyahu and Eli Yisahi 390 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Binyamin Netanyahu and Eli Yisahi 390
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday urging them to reconsider the decision to send a senior diplomat to next week’s J Street conference in Washington.
In years past, official Israeli representatives in Washington boycotted events organized by the lobby that bills itself as “pro-Israel and pro-peace.”
But this year, the deputy head of the mission, Barukh Binah, will attend and even speak at the conference.
Binah, who holds the title of ambassador, just finished a four-year stint as the deputy director-general for North America and before 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 “air strikes on Gaza that have killed over a dozen Palestinian civilians.”
Israeli officials have said that approximately 26 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during the operation and all were terrorists launching attacks, except for two or three. When J Street issued its statement, 16 terrorists and two civilians had been killed.
J Street subsequently revised the statement on its 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 government officials.
Yishai said it was wrong to legitimize J Street by sending Binah to the conference, and said that there should be no contact between Israel and the organization.
J Street declined to comment.