The disappointments mount. J Street believes in dissent, just not dissent that may upset conservative, hardline Zionists:
Five days ahead of the leftist pro-Israeli lobby J Street’s first National Conference in Washington, D.C., the controversies continue to mount. The Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren refuses to attend the conference, despite the open letter issued by the organization’s Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami; but over the weekend the lobby took one more step to appease critics.
The poetry session, featuring three artists – Kevin Coval, Tracy Soren and Josh Healey, scheduled as part of the “Culture as a Tool for Change” track, was canceled. Apparently, the event was nixed following a reminder by a conservative blogger that Healey, a Jewish activist and poet, compared Guantanamo prison to Auschwitz.
Healey told Haaretz:
And my solidarity is with the people of Israel – but also with the people of Palestine. And I believe in two state solution and peace and justice for all people. And if J-Street are not willing to have debate with people who believe in solidarity and humanity, I don’t know what legitimacy they want, because it’s not a moral legitimacy. I love my people, the Jewish people, and that’s why I’m critical – because it’s my people, my family that are silencing people the same way we were silenced and suppressed for centuries.