J Street Hurts Israel

Israeli official lashes out at group for weakening Jewish state

May 11, 2012

Updated May 11, 2:20 p.m.:

Controversy has erupted over the remarks an Israeli consul general delivered during a highly politicized event organized by the fringe group J Street.

Sources on the ground in Philadelphia contacted the Free Beacon to dispute an account of Consul General Daniel Kutner’s remarks that were originally provided by a high-level embassy official.

Kutner, the embassy source had reported, chastised J Street for attaching his name to an official J Street communications that slammed conservative pro-Israel supporters.

Sources at the event dispute that claim, however, and say Kutner was non-confrontational and friendly to the group.

The conflicting accounts hint at internal disagreements over how Israeli officials should interact with J Street, which has faced criticism for advocating policies that could harm the Jewish state.

The embassy source who originally provided the Free Beacon with Kutner’s comments said that he fully stands behind their veracity.

"I must have been at a different event," said Scott Gould, 60, a Philadelphia resident who attended the J Street rally. "Your quote is from Mars and his is from Jupiter."

"There was nothing said about J Street hurting Israel," Gould added. "That was not said or implied at any time."

Gould further maintained that Kutner’s tone was non-confrontational and that he did not chastise the group at any point during his brief remarks.

"I must have been in a coma when he said it," Gould replied after reading the Free Beacon’s earlier report. "I suspect that was shampooed before it went out into the public. They didn’t want to send it out with dirty hair."

We will continue to update as the story warrants.


An Israeli official who was angered to discover his name attached to a highly politicized J Street event lashed out at the group Wednesday evening, accusing activists of harming the Jewish state with their partisan political attacks, according to a source at the Embassy of Israel.

J Street’s Philadelphia-based affiliate announced yesterday 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.

Materials promoting the event attacked conservative pro-Israel advocates, including Irving Moskowitz and William Kristol. 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."

Kutner expressed extreme disappointment in his remarks before the group of activists.

"I am extremely disappointed to see that an email sent by J Street leadership attacks, ad hominem, Jewish philanthropists, supporters of Israel," Kutner told J Street supporters, according to a read-out of his remarks provided by an Israeli Embassy source. "That doesn't make Israel or the Jewish community stronger, or helps the future of pro- Israel advocacy."

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 operated by the organization’s lobbying arm, which is registered as a 501(c)(4).

After chastising the group, Kutner discussed the future of pro-Israel advocacy, which was the topic organizers had originally asked him to discuss.

He told J Street’s supporters, who tend to criticize Israel while never praising the Jewish state, that their promotion of "policies that are incompatible with the positions of the Israeli elected government" puts the U.S.-Israel relationship in jeopardy and endangers the tiny Middle Eastern democracy.

"If you send conflicting messages on issues of critical importance, it may negatively affect Israel's standing" in a country whose friendship is critical to Israel's ability to confront its many enemies, Kutner told the crowd. "The final decision on matters of policy and on the security of Israel must finally reside in the hands of those living there, those that were elected … and represent the people in Israel."

Published under: Middle East