Former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Israeli Consul General to New York Colette Avital issued the following statement today in response to an error-filled Washington Times report on J Street:
I am shocked and appalled to read the account in the Washington Times supposedly reporting on my role with J Street. I am not sure what has happened to the standards of journalism in the United States since the years when I proudly served the Government of Israel as Consul General in New York, but the article in Friday’s paper represents little more than the fabrication of the minds of writers with a political agenda
I spoke at length to two reporters from the Washington Times Thursday afternoon and told them in no uncertain terms that I did not resign from J Street. In fact, I will be speaking on the organization’s behalf in the coming weeks in the United States and remain proudly affiliated with the group in a consulting role.
Further, I made clear that I was and am completely unaware of any effort by J Street to facilitate visits by Judge Richard Goldstone to Capitol Hill.
I do not know how it is possible for a newspaper to run a story like this after I have specifically told them they have the story wrong.
In my role as a liaison for J Street in Israel, I discussed with J Street officials the deep feelings in Israel about the Goldstone Report. I recommended last November that the organization not have any relationship with the Judge and that they oppose the report. I told the Washington Times clearly yesterday that I knew that J Street had no role in arranging the Judge’s visit. I also made it clear that my role changed with J Street earlier this year because the organization had changing priorities – not because I left the organization, which I have not.
I personally am saddened that a newspaper would find it necessary to look for cheap scandals, which pale in importance to the real issues at stake at this moment. Their effort to divert attention from what’s happening on the ground in the Middle East and to delegitimize J Street will fail.
J Street is a valuable addition to the landscape of American Jewish advocacy – providing a voice for the large number of Jewish Americans that I met in my time in America who care deeply about the security and future of Israel and who believe that a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only way to reach those goals. It has such a valuable role to play at this moment because it is perhaps the only organization that can speak to critical progressive American Jewish audiences from a pro-Israel perspective.
I applaud their work and remain proudly associated with the organization.
This is a critical moment in the history of the State of Israel. Important decisions are to be made in the coming weeks and months that will determine the very future of my country. I am shocked to see the games and maneuvers that right-wing media are playing, who seem to be putting their own partisan agenda ahead of the interests of the state of Israel that they claim to support.