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Knesset committee to discuss J Street

JTA

March 10, 2011 | 11:45 am

An Israeli Knesset committee will hold a hearing on the activities of J Street.

The Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee said Wednesday that the hearing on J Street, which calls itself a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization, will be held as soon as next week.

Americans for Peace Now said it was outraged by the hearing.

“After aggressively attacking dissenting voices in Israel and trying to suppress diversity at home, some Israeli legislators are now extending their intimidation campaign across the ocean,” Americans for Peace Now CEO Debra DeLee said in a statement released Thursday. “The attempt to delegitimize an American organization that supports Israel and works tirelessly to engage tens of thousands of Americans in pro-Israel activity is bad for Israel.

“Israel needs all the support it can get from Americans of all political persuasions. It cannot afford to cast doubt on the love and devotion of hundreds of thousands of American friends, whose vision for Israel is deeply anchored in values of peace, justice, equality and democracy,”

The committee, chaired by Danny Danon of the Likud Party, will invite the Israeli lawmakers who attended J Street’s annual meeting last month to testify.

“I asked for the hearing not because of the content of J Street’s beliefs, but because I want to look into the commitment of Jewish love and support for Israel,” Kadima lawmaker Otniel Schneller told The Jerusalem Post. “If they don’t love and support Israel, then they should not present themselves as pro-Israel.”

Critics have rapped J Street for criticizing Israel’s policies in the West Bank and being pro-Palestinian.

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