American law professor and prominent pro-Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz has accused the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” American lobby group J Street of “totally undercutting American policy toward Iran,” and of misrepresenting the views of prominent Israelis over thwarting Iran.
J Street, he charged, can no longer be considered a pro-Israel organization. He said it had shown itself to be “unilaterally opposed to keeping America’s military option on the table,” and that “You can’t call yourself pro-Israeli and not want the American military option kept open.”
J Street, in response, accused Dershowitz of “attacking positions we have not taken.”
In an interview with The Times of Israel, Dershowitz also said he recently met for 45 minutes one-on-one with US President Barack Obama to discuss Iran, and that the president was adamant about preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapons option. He said he was confident that Obama “means it when he says the military option is on the table,” that the president had asked him to communicate his position to Israel’s leaders, and that he had done so.
Dershowitz said his own views on Israeli settlement policy and on the two-state solution “are closer to J Street in many ways,” but that the lobby group’s position on Iran had taken it out of the pro-Israel camp.
‘The Iranians and others think that J Street speaks for Obama. This makes it look as though Obama speaks out of both sides of his mouth’
J Street “began as an organization to support President Obama’s views on Israel. Indeed, some people think it was created to give President Obama cover to be more critical of Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank,” Dershowitz told The Times of Israel in the telephone interview this week. “It has now continued on a path toward undercutting America’s and Israel’s policy on Iran.”
Elaborating, Dershowitz said J Street was “unique” among ostensibly pro-Israel Jewish organizations “in that it is unilaterally opposed to keeping America’s military option on the table, and that undercuts the entire American policy.”
Obama’s stated position, he noted, is that “it’s not the military option that is off the table, but containment that is off the table. J Street is undercutting this. And they totally misquote Israelis in support of their position.”
Dershowitz pointed to J Street’s website, which states, on a page headed “Iran,” that “like many American and Israeli security experts, we believe that a military strike against Iran would be ill advised… We therefore oppose legislation authorizing, encouraging, or in other ways laying the groundwork for the use of military force against Iran.”
The page links to a second J Street page, headed, “What The Experts Are Saying On Iran,” which quotes statements made, among others, by former Mossad chiefs Meir Dagan and Efraim Halevy, two figures who were selected, said Dershowitz, to create the impression that they believed the American military option should be off the table.
In fact, said Dershowitz, “I spoke personally to Efraim Halevy and he insists that the American military option must be left on the table. He opposes Israel going it alone.”
Read more at: THE TIMES OF ISRAEL