The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy, today rejected as “compellingly dishonest” a letter purporting to be from 200 “young Jews deeply committed to our American Jewish community.” The letter, sent to the Chairman, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (COP) consists primarily of vitriolic attacks directed at the president of a COP constituent organization, attacks which the CJV dismissed as false and even bigoted.
Though no organizational memberships are listed, nine of the first ten signatories on the letter, and fully two-thirds of the first thirty, are publicly affiliated with J Street and its college division, J Street U. J Street’s application to join COP was rejected in 2014, for reasons including positions “out of sync with the Jewish mainstream” and aligned with those of anti-Israel groups.
“The letter is a classic example of hotza’as shem ra, baseless slander,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the CJV, “which is the antithesis of the Jewish values the signatories claim to endorse. And besides its libelous content, the letter dishonestly obscures the obvious collaboration of J Street U leaders behind it. This level of mendacity says a great deal about J Street overall, and its actual commitment to Jewish values and respectful dialogue.”
Though it claims to be concerned for civil rights and civil debate, J Street has an unfortunate history of false personal attacks against those in the Jewish community who reject its views. After its application to join COP was refused, news reports noted “public vitriol by J Street and its supporters,” aimed not only at COP but its Executive Vice Chairman individually – though those present at the vote rejecting J Street’s application stated that he “did not participate in the process at all.”
“The students behind the letter seem to confuse fear of racist, Antisemitic violence with racism itself,” Rabbi Lerner concluded. “But the letter’s dishonesty, and its inversion of hater and hated, seem merely consistent with the overall nature of J Street and its message. The Consul General of Israel in New York, Dani Dayan, called J Street’s behavior ‘un-Jewish’ in the past, and this letter seems to provide further evidence of how correct his assessment was.”