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Jewish group hosts 'anti-Israel' J Street

JERUSALEM – A Jewish organization at the University of Pennsylvania that will host an event by J Street, a controversial lobby group accused of working against Israel, conceded it does not yet know J Street’s program even though the event will take place in its facilities.

“I don’t yet know the program, only who the main speaker is,” Jeremy Brochin, director of Penn Hillel, told WND yesterday.

Hillel promotes itself as the largest Jewish campus organization in the world and is known as the center of mainstream Jewish life on campuses across the U.S.

Howard Alpert, another director of Penn’s Hillel group, told WND earlier this week he agreed to rent space to J Street on the condition the group “does not advocate actions that will materially harm Israel or its representatives such as boycotts, sanctions or judicial action; and that they present their views with civility.”

Hillel’s Brochin, however, said his group did not yet receive J Street’s full program schedule.

After he realized he was being quoted by the media, Brochin changed his statement and said he “just doesn’t know who is introducing [J Street Executive Director] Jeremy Ben-Ami.”

However, WND also obtained an e-mail Brochin sent to an Israeli reporter yesterday stating of the J Street event at his group’s facilities next week: “I frankly do not know what the program is.”

J Street’s Feb. 4 event will be broadcast live from the university to 24 U.S. college campuses and other venues as part of an initiative to make the group better known locally.

The event host committee includes a professor who accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, a supporter of a recent U.N. report charging Israel with war crimes and a host of personalities involved with a “Fast for Gaza” initiative that demands Israel negotiate with the Hamas terrorist organization.

J Street brands itself as pro-Israel. It states on its website it seeks to “promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.”

But the group also supports talks with Hamas, a terrorist group whose charter seeks the destruction of Israel. The group opposes sanctions against Iran and is harshly critical of Israel’s anti-terror military offensives.

J Street is renting the space from the Hillel Jewish student organization at the University of Pennsylvania.

J Street’s event at Penn is being hosted by characters with controversial views on Israel, including:

‘Pro-Ishmael’

J Street’s event at the University of Pennsylvania is opposed by a new pro-Israel activist organization calling itself Z Street, which is planning a protest event to coincide with J Street’s outreach day.

“It is a shame that there will be any connection between Hillel and J Street,” Z Street co-founder Lori Lowenthal Marcus told WND. “J Street does not deserve to be considered a mainstream pro-Israel organization as it has demonstrated repeatedly that it is ‘pro-Ishmael’ and not ‘pro-Israel.'”

The Powerline blog previously documented how far-leftist Israelis are influential in J Street leadership, including former Knesset Speaker Avrum Burg, who generated controversy when he stated, “To define the state of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end.”

Another key J Street member, Mideast expert Henry Siegman, has compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.