News and Commentary

J Street Conference Speaker Compares Benjamin Netanyahu To Louis Farrakhan
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - SEPTEMBER 18: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Likud Party after vote event on September 18, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. All TV exit polls see no clear winner in Isreal's elections.
Amir Levy/Getty Images

J Street has long been one of the most pernicious anti-Israel groups operating in the open. Untold amounts of ink have been spilled revealing the self-described “political home of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans” for the highly biased, anti-Israel, Palestinian-Arab apologist organization that it is.

For years following its 2007 founding by leftist activist Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street operated on the outermost fringes of the institutional pro-Israel and Jewish communities. But the years-long success of the insidious “Open Hillel” movement helped to ingratiate J Street, which routinely assails Israeli governmental policy and never seems to find any fault with Islamist terror acts committed against the Jewish state, within some more mainstream elements of the American Jewish community. And as Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro recently wrote, the modern Democratic Party feels more at home within the J Street fold than it does within the ambit of the moderate pro-Israel group AIPAC:

[T]he heart of the Democratic Party has moved against Israel. … So the Democrats built up and gave credence to J Street, a Trojan horse group dedicated to undermining American support for Israel and justifying left-wing hatred of the Jewish state. J Street was founded by Clinton operative Jeremy Ben-Ami and Israeli far-left political figure Daniel Levy in late 2007. One of its chief sources of funding — a source obscured in the early years by its founders — was anti-Israel radical George Soros.

Accordingly, four candidates for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination — South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rep. Julian Castro (D-TX), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — spoke last month at the J Street National Conference. By contrast, not a single 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate spoke at the AIPAC Policy Conference last spring.

Now, the indispensable Legal Insurrection website has highlighted a particularly vile and irksome exchange that emanated from the bowels of the conference. It appears that April Baskin, who has the titles of “Racial Justice Director, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable” and “Founder/Principal, Joyous Justice Consulting,” defended noted anti-Semite Tamika Mallory and expressly compared infamous anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to longtime Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Per Legal Insurrection:

[P]anelist April Baskin said that white supremacy is “woven into Jewish life in America.” She also said there are things she “hates” about the Jewish community — including her belief that Jews have a “propensity” to “complain.” …

Later in the session, Baskin declared her support for the disgraced Tamika Mallory. Mallory’s downfall culminated in early 2019 when when it emerged that she maintained a close relationship with the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist and Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. Mallory, the ex-Women’s March leader, refused to condemn Farrakhan and even posted a picture calling the anti-Semite “the GOAT (greatest of all time).”

Perhaps most egregiously of all, Baskin compared infamous Jew-hater Farrakhan to Netanyahu: “Tamika Mallory being pictured with with Louis Farrakhan, honestly, isn’t that different to me than my former boss, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, being seated with prime minister NetanyahuIn both cases, they both largely don’t agree with their politics, but in both cases, those are leaders who are connected to a large body of people.”

As of publication time, it seems that none of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who spoke at last month’s J Street National Conference have condemned Baskin’s vicious smear. Surprise, surprise.