Netanyahu Attacks 'Radical Left' J Street; Organization Slams Damage to U.S.-Israel Relations

Netanyahu targets J Street in Facebook post, claiming the organization is glad to see him out of office due to their support for the Iran nuclear deal. J Street: Hopefully next PM will repair relationship with Dems and U.S. Jews

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens to Secretary of State Antony Blinken after their meeting at the Prime Minister's office, last month in Jerusalem, Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens to Secretary of State Antony Blinken after their meeting at the Prime Minister's office, last month in Jerusalem, IsraelCredit: Alex Brandon,AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Washington

WASHINGTON - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday attacked J Street, claiming that the "radical leftist U.S. organization," is rooting for his ouster due to its support for the Iran nuclear deal.

"Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of the radical leftist J Street organization in the U.S. that emphatically supported the dangerous nuclear agreement, explains why he is happy about Netanyahu's removal," Netanyahu wrote on a post sharing Ben-Ami's image.

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"'Netanyahu had the status and self-confidence to publicly confront the president of the United States on his home turf, and to oppose the president's will regarding Iran'," the prime minister quoted Ben-Ami as saying. "Ben-Ami added that unlike Netanyahu, the new prime ministers of Israel will not actively work in America to thwart the nuclear deal with Iran," the prime minister wrote.

In response to Netanyahu's post, Ben-Ami said, "it's too bad that outgoing Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn't understand that damaging the U.S.-Israel relationship in the way he has is not something to boast about. Driving a partisan wedge into U.S.-Israel relations is an accomplishment he should be ashamed not proud of." 

He added that "hopefully, the next government will understand the importance of a stable US-Israel relationship and will aim to repair relations with Democrats and liberal Jews rather than drive them away."

Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of J Street, 2015.Credit: J Street

Netanyahu has ramped up attacked against his opponents in recent days, tweeting in English that Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid are turning Israel into a country reminiscent of North Korea or Iran.

He has described the new coalition government as an attack on Israeli democracy itself, saying Israelis were “witnessing the biggest election fraud in the history of the country, in my opinion in the history of democracy.”

Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman has warned that increasingly harsh rhetoric against members of the incoming unity government could lead to someone being physically harmed. 

A State Department spokesperson told Haaretz when asked about the incitement: "While we generally do not comment on domestic political issues, threats of violence are unacceptable and must be rejected."

A National Security Council spokesperson echoed this when asked about both the incitement and the pending flag march in Jerusalem: “We believe it’s essential to refrain from steps that exacerbate tensions.”

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