Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi & The Israel Project get it wrong on J Street, settlements

October 1, 2010

If Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi’s recent attack on J Street are so-called “facts” that her organization circulates in Washington, it’s no wonder why many pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans are frustrated with the state of pro-Israel advocacy.

J Street’s actual position on settlements appears to either be lost on Laszlo Mizrahi or intentionally ignored to score a political cheap shot.

To clarify, we do believe settlements are a serious obstacle to peace and continued construction is a moral, strategic, and security nightmare for Israel. And no, we do not believe that settlements absolve Palestinian and Arab leaders from living up to their own commitments and doing more to advance the cause of peace.

Furthermore, her statement raises serious questions about her own organization’s views about settlements.

1) Does Laszlo Mizrahi believe settlements even rise to the status of an obstacle to peace?

Would they even qualify as a mild annoyance? Her statement studiously avoids saying settlements are a problem at all. If she does believe that, she should say so.


2) Does Laszlo Mizrahi acknowledge that Israel faces an inevitable and terrifying choice between democracy and its Jewish character if there is not a negotiated two-state solution soon?

If not, does she then disagree with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and current Defense Minister Ehud Barack who made similar assessments? If she does agree with these Israeli leaders, then why is she so flip about the impact of settlements on the peace process and the death blow that continued settlement construction may very well deal to the two-state solution?

TIP’s strategy on settlements appears to be, both then and now, when they can’t win the argument, use white-hot rhetoric, distortions, and maybe even hint at the Holocaust to distract from the substance of the matter.

But if her organization is to truly spread the “facts” about the Middle East in Washington, it would behoove her to not just answer these questions directly, but also to tell the truth about settlements and about J Street. Israel and the cause of peace would the better for it.