Israeli Official Meets with J St

Philadelphia affiliate meets with Consul General

May 10, 2012

A consul general of Israel is scheduled to participate in a political rally with the fringe group J Street, which has vowed to turn the 2012 election cycle into a referendum on what it views as "far right" views on Israel.

J Street’s Philadelphia-based affiliate announced today that Daniel Kutner, the Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States, would participate in a "Future of Pro Israel" rally in Philadelphia intended to foster support for J Street’s political agenda.

"This election year, we're not going to sit on the sidelines while those who claim to be pro-Israel advocate for policies that harm it. We're not going to watch as the window for a two-state solution closes," states the email announcing Kutner’s participation. "As one J Street leader in Chicago put it, we're going to go from ‘house to house, from synagogue to synagogue, from congressional district to congressional district and we're going to make our voices heard.’"

The event is scheduled to take place this evening at Philadelphia’s Jewish Community Services Building, though J Street noted that the city’s organized Jewish community did not explicitly endorse, sponsor, or support the event.

J Street chastises conservative pro-Israel advocates, including Irving Moskowitz and William Kristol, in promotions for the event. The group accuses such individuals of "turning Israel into a partisan wedge issue with no regard for the actual impact on the future peace and security of the country and its neighbors."

"We should all be deeply concerned that a handful of far-right funders and groups like Bill Kristol's Emergency Campaign for Israel [sic] are turning Israel into a partisan wedge issue with no regard for the actual impact on the future peace and security of the country and its neighbors," states another J Street email blast touting similar events to the one scheduled to take place in Philadelphia.

J Street’s Philadelphia affiliate bills itself as an explicitly political organization, raising questions about Kutner’s stance on the American elections. The event is billed under the guise of J Street’s "Future of Pro-Israel" movement, which is operated by the organization’s lobbying arm, which is registered as a 501(c)(4).

A spokesperson for the Embassy of Israel did not immediately return a request seeking clarification on Kutner’s participation.

However, an email obtained by the Free Beacon indicates that Kutner’s office sees nothing wrong with the event.

"After looking into this issue, the Consul General was invited to an advocacy event and not a political one," a spokesperson for Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon wrote to Lori Lowenthal Marcus, a pro-Israel advocate, when asked about the event. "There for [sic] he has received all the relevant approvals."

Published under: J Street , Middle East