J Street Uses A Pro-Terrorist EU Bureaucrat To Malign Jewish Neighborhoods

J Street, in a mid-November email appeal, quoted an unnamed “top EU diplomat” in its tirade against an Israeli government call for bids for new homes in a nearly 30 year-old Jerusalem neighborhood where Ethiopian Jewish and Russian immigrants live. What’s more than J Street’s vitriol against the construction of Jewish homes is that the name of the EU functionary was intentionally left off of J Street’s rant because he is an anti-Israel extremist who earlier this year gave outright support for terrorists according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry when he stated that Palestinian Arabs affiliated with blacklisted groups remain eligible to participate in projects funded by the EU.

J Street is the controversial Washington, D.C., based Jewish pressure group that was created specifically, and almost exclusively, to lobby for an independent Palestinian state. J Street maintains, as a central theme of its propaganda, that Jews do not have a right to live wherever they choose and must be transferred out of their homes and neighborhoods in wide swaths of Judea-Samaria where Israeli citizens have lived for nearly fifty years.

The EU bureaucrat who opposes Jewish homes in Givat Hamatos, and was quoted by J Street, is a German named Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff.

von Burgsdorff previously was the head of the EU’s delegation to South Sudan and in a May 8, 2020 JTA article [https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/eu-may-fund-palestinian-supporters-of-terrorist-group-official-assures-aid-recipients] he was identified as heading the “EU mission to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

The Times of Israel news website reported on May 7, 2020 [https://www.timesofisrael.com/foreign-ministry-rebukes-eu-ambassador-over-support-for-terrorism/] that an Israeli Foreign Ministry official stated that the letter by “von Burgsdorff, constituted a ‘violation of all our agreements with the European Union’.”

The Times also reported that explicitly due to von Burgsdorff’s letter, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz harshly rebuked the EU saying “we demand that the EU immediately end all support, financial or otherwise, for any entities that support terrorism whether directly or indirectly.”
Debra Shushan, J Street’s Director of Government Affairs signed the email that was titled “BREAKING: Outrageous steps by Netanyahu to expand settlements.” In the email J Street made the wild claim that “this week the Netanyahu government announced it will begin the tender process for the major new settlement of Givat Hamatos — a move which a top EU diplomat branded a “de facto annexation attempt.” Construction in Givat Hamatos is part of a deliberate settlement movement strategy to cut off Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem from the West Bank Palestinian city of Bethlehem.”

The reason why J Street’s Shushan left out von Burgsdorff’s name should be clear: he has been widely discredited as a supporter of anti-Israel terrorism.

Another issue with J Street’s email that must be confronted is the use of a place named “East Jerusalem” when no such place has ever actually existed in history. The name “East Jerusalem” is an artificial construct that supporters of the Arab cause use in their propaganda in order to make it appear as if that part of the city is an intrinsically Arab area that Jews are illegally entering. In reality, there are Jewish neighborhoods throughout the eastern, western, northern, and southern parts of Jerusalem. It’s a shameful thing when Jewish organizations choose to use such geographically inaccurate, and politically loaded, language. At the time anti-Israel extremists created the name “East Jerusalem” it was for one reason: they sought to rip Israel’s capital apart in order to defeat Israel. “East Jerusalem” does not actually exist and what they are really saying is that Jerusalem’s Old City and its surrounding neighborhoods are not part of Israel or part of Israeli Jerusalem itself. The original and oldest parts of Jerusalem are what they falsely label “East Jerusalem.”

J Street needs to be honest with Americans. If it opposes Jews living in certain places because they are Jews then why obfuscate on this? If they want to quote an extremist diplomat J Street should at least name that diplomat and not hide his identity due to the fact that he has been accused of supporting terrorists.

The political climate of the Middle East has changed remarkably in the last several years and J Street doesn’t seem to like it at all. The United Arab Emirates has two synagogues and yet if J Street would get their way, synagogues in Judea and Samaria would be dismantled and the Jews in these neighborhoods would be forced from their homes. Haven’t we had enough of Jews being told where they can and cannot live? What was gained by the Israeli government destroying Jewish homes and synagogues in Gush Katif in Gaza in 2005 to hand over Israeli held land in the name of a “peace” that never came about? The Judean Hills, since the times of antiquity considered to be the heart of the Land of Israel, should, especially, be an area where Jewish families feel secure in the idea that their homes will never be destroyed.

For Gush Katif, a Memorial is all that Stands

It has been over ten years since the destruction and erasure of Gush Katif. Many of the families have moved on after years of homelessness.  Families have broken apart.  Kids have grown up with a distaste for the state. This should not be a surprise, after all their childhood was ruined by the very state sworn to protect them.

Ten years later and the government has finally given the people of Gush Katif something in return for their misery. Today a memorial statue has been placed in the Eastern entrance to the Knesset.

“It is only fitting that the Knesset, which decided [to evacuate the Gush Katif communities], will remember, and remind those who visit it of the communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria – the [building of settlements], the agriculture and the settlers themselves. I hope this work of art will generate interest among the visitors of the Knesset,” Yuli Edelstein, the Speaker of the Knesset said at an unveiling today for the memorial statue.

Gush Katif is but a memory.  The pioneers and young families will be a few sentences in the history books.  Kids will be taught that there was a time when the State’s leaders were really the warriors of old. However, as these leaders grew older they turned their backs on the very ideology and land that nurtured their development.

When the slogan Never Again was made about the Holocaust, the point is not about not letting another Holocaust take place.  This is obvious.  The means to prevent a repeat of history is to say Never Again to being an exile minded Jew. Israel is meant to be more than memorial statues.  It is meant to be an engine that builds our redemption.

No one lost their lives or sacrificed to settle barren dunes to be rewarded a memorial statue. That is what a nation who wants to sacrifice its future on the alter of world acceptance does. Israel is not about abandoning the past. It is about tying our covenant and the Land that was given to us by the Almighty together in order to give a full expression to our prophetic charge of being a light unto the nations.

One day the memorial statue will be taken down.  Not because we don’t want to remember, but because one day the people of Gush Katif will return and liberate their stolen land.  They will no longer be a mere memory for the youth, but once again Gush Katif will exist in the present.  The Land of Israel nurtures its children. We in turn must be strong enough in faith to see our part of the covenant through.