By Janet Tassel
A film is coming your way called The J Street Challenge. If you don't see it coming your way, say or do something menacing to your pastor, rabbi, or librarian to insist that it be shown.
A production of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, with APT's Charles Jacobs as special consultant; produced, directed and written by Avi Goldwasser and Ilya Feoktistov, The J Street Challenge lines up a phalanx of illustrious academics and activists to expose the deception, the lies, and the anti-Israel animus behind J Street. But the film is not a snooze-parade of talking heads; ideas—important ideas—are supplemented with illustrations, maps, videos, and images both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
The film opens with shots of terrorism against Israel, and then, a veritable deus ex machina, breaking through the tumult, from on-high comes the voice of Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, crying, "We want this conflict to end!"
Well, that certainly gets your attention. Who doesn't want the conflict to end? But Ben-Ami knows the way. Ben-Ami and others, including George Soros, founded J Street in 2008, to (according to their website) "provide a home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who believe that a 'two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential to Israel's survival as the national home of the Jewish people and as a vibrant democracy.'"
"The majority of the people on all sides," he says in the film, "share a desire for a peaceful world for their kids and their grandchildren. They want to figure out how to compromise in order to live together in peace."
He's slick, no doubt about it; but can he really be preaching to the Jewish people about peace? Harvard professor Ruth Wisse retorts, "One of the most seductive messages to the Jewish people, for the last two centuries at least, has been the message of peace." And she puts "the conflict" in perspective:
There is no such thing as an Arab-Israeli conflict. There is an Arab war against Israel. There is an Arab war against the Jewish people's right to a state. It is the conflict of over twenty countries, with an enormity of land, more land than they know what to do with, that refuse to allow one people its sliver of land.
Ben-Ami, however, wants a slice of that sliver. A piece for a peace. "Israel's long-term security depends on fulfilling the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a two-state solution," he says. And further: