J Street’s opposition to a military strike on Iran’s nuclear sites is less a matter of conviction than a concern of fundraising, according to Harvard law professor and pro-Israel author Alan Dershowitz, who lambasted the liberal fringe group as "the least transparent lobby in Washington" during a Friday interview with the Free Beacon.
The Free Beacon revealed in February that J Street was awarded $25,000 by the progressive anti-nuke group Ploughshares with the explicit purpose of supporting "congressional advocacy and education against the use of a military resolution to the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program."
Soon after receiving the grant, J Street released a web video and policy campaign that advocated against using military force against Iran. The group continues to push a vehemently anti-war agenda that places it at odds with the Obama administration, the general public, and most members of Congress.
"It makes a lot of sense" that J Street would be pushing such an agenda, Dershowitz said. "J Street seems beholden to its contributors, whether they be [the liberal billionaire] George Soros or Ploughshares, and they go out of their way to hide their supporters."
J Street is "the least transparent lobby in Washington and a lot of people support them without knowing," Dershowitz said. "There should be pressure on J Street to disclose its funders and show why they take these absurd positions."
Dershowitz, a centrist Democrat and supporter of President Obama, recently took to the pages of the Jerusalem Post to accuse J Street of "undercutting" Obama’s work to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
"J Street is a lobby in Washington that advertises itself as ‘pro-Israel and pro-peace,’ he wrote. "But its policy with regard to Iran is neither pro-Israel nor pro-peace. It is categorically opposed to any ‘military strike against Iran.’ It is also opposed to maintaining any credible military threat against Iran, through ‘legislation, authorizing, encouraging or in other ways laying the ground work for the use of military force against Iran.’"
Such a policy, Dershowitz wrote, undercuts "the policy of the Obama administration. It is sending a message to both Iran and Israel that there is no credible military threat, and that if Iran is prepared to withstand sanctions and diplomacy, it will have nothing further to worry about if it moves forward with its nuclear weapons program."
J Street’s fringe positions "undercut both American and Israeli security," Dershowitz told the Free Beacon. "They won’t do anything to alienate the hard left. They want to keep the extremists."
Soros, for instance, has donated great sums to J Street.
"What is wrong with that picture?" Dershowitz asked. "J Street’s more interested in keeping [prominent Israel critic] Zbigniew Brzezinski on their side than me. They are not interested in centrists. They’re more interested in the radicals and they can’t have it both ways."
J Street did not return requests for comment.