Skip to comments.J Street board member, initial founder meets with Hamas
Posted on 11/22/2011 4:21:01 PM PST by SJackson
With Middle East peace talks all but stalled, one of J Street's top board members took it upon herself to meet with Hamas earlier this month.
That J Street board member is Kathleen Peratis (also an initial founder of the group), a partner at the New York law firm of Outten & Golden LLP. She also co-chairs the Middle East and North Africa Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch.
Peratis recounted her time exploring Gaza's illicit smuggling operation in a recent article for The Forward.
While Peratis was not in the Gaza Strip at J Street's behest, I can't help but wonder why a prominent member of the American Jewish community was canoodling with Hamas - a known terrorist group that you might recognize from its previous appearances in "The Bombing of Israeli Citizens" and "The Violent Kidnapping of an Israeli solider." (J Street did not officially sponsor Peratis' trip, but it was happy to circulate her article to members of the J Street family -- as well as reporters and others -- via the group's daily news round-up.)
Asked what to make of Peratis' eyebrow-raising article, a J Street official said that Peratis does not speak for the group on this issue.
J Street spokesperson Jessica Rosenblum, in fact, went on the record to say that "J Street believes that Hamas' consistent opposition to the peace process, its support for terror against Israeli civilians, its use of violence for political purposes and its denial of the Holocaust are reprehensible."
Peratis, however, recounts her experience as a fun-filled joy fest spent with friends. She quotes one smuggler as saying: "Please tell your friends that Hamas people are ordinary people. We are not barbarians."
Right. "Ordinary people" who routinely murder innocent men, women, and children -- and assassinate their own political adversaries. (Though not every resident of Gaza, of course, is a terrorist. Far from it.)
Nearly everyone I spoke to - mostly Hamas officials, but also others - seemed to feel a great sense of pride in what he or she had survived, and confidence in the future. They all believe that Hamas triumphed in the prisoner-exchange deal with Israel, that despite international condemnation and punishment they are thriving, and that cutting all ties with Israel has been to Gaza's benefit. Many seem to think that reconciliation with Fatah is probable, and with it, national elections. They see the Americans engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and think that Hamas - and its further prosperity and legitimacy - may not be far behind. As one Gazan put it, "Time is on our side." Peratis also writes about how she and a reporter explored the illegal tunnels that run beneath the Gaza Strip -- and which are routinely used to smuggle guns, drugs and even people.
We persuaded a reluctant taxi driver to take us to a gate at the site, where a guard asked us for identification. Soon, five big men with very big guns gathered, examining and passing around my passport. At that point I got spooked, but before I could figure out how to flee, one of the men told us we could enter; accompanied by all five, including Muhammad, we did. ... The mood was almost convivial, and they, I think, were delighted by the rare presence of an American. I was no longer terrified, but I was very much aware of who had the guns. And I kept remembering the Italian journalist who was killed in Gaza last year. This is not only frightening, but perplexing. Why would a American Jewish woman intentionally place herself in such a potentially life-threatening situation? Furthermore, why would she do it twice?
That right. Peratis met with Hamas for the first time in May, according to an article she wrote for The Nation, in which she referred to Gaza as "scary and exotic." She also describes her entrance to the forbidden land as "exactly like entering a prison."
To me, these article romanticize Hamas in a way that's simply unwarranted and dishonest. There's no criticism of the group, no mention that it's committed to the destruction of Israel and no sense of what Hamas represents as a whole.
Peratis' articles also seem to be at odds with J Street's actual position on the issue.
"J Street wouldn't oppose a decision by the Israeli government or the United States or other countries to find unofficial, indirect ways to engage Hamas in order to advance U.S. and Israeli interests," Rosenblum told me. "It's important to remember that this Israeli government and ones before it have engaged indirectly with Hamas to bring Gilad Shalit home and to achieve cease fires that temporarily halted rocket attacks against Israel."
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
I wonder what kind of attention you get from Homeland Security and the FBI when you meet with designated terrorist groups. Do you get a pass if you're with an Obama supporting Soros group?
J Street did not officially sponsor [Kathleen] Peratis' trip, but it was happy to circulate her article to members of the J Street family -- as well as reporters and others -- via the group's daily news round-up.
I doubt very much that she is.
I doubt very much that she is.
If she’s Jewish, she’s pretending that that means something to her for strictly propaganda purposes.
I doubt that she is Jewish - she sounds like a lefty troll.
The contradiction being?
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