The Jewish Telegraphic Agency is a source of news on the Jewish world and Israel for all of the Jewish federations in America, and many Jews worldwide. Like most establishment Jewish organizations, its politics lean to the left.
Yesterday, in advance of the first national conference by J-Street, a lobbying group that calls itself pro-peace and pro-Israel (which in the latter case is certainly not true), JTA published an op-ed piece by Salam Al-Marayati, the co-founder and the executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Marayati has been invited to speak at the J-Street conference.
Obviously no one on the editorial staff at JTA thought this sentence in Marayati's op-ed problematic:
"I believe also that the injustices that the Palestinian people have endured for more than 60 years as a result of the ongoing occupation must be addressed and rectified through negotiation,not violence."
JTA is not good with numbers, or thinks it OK that Marayati is arguing that Israel has occupied Palestinian territory for more than 60 years. In other words, the occupation began with the creation of the state. Ergo,Israel has no legitimacy on any territory -- it is an occupier on every inch of its land. But hey, we can relax, since Marayati reassures us he believes in a two state solution.
Why would JTA devote valuable space on its pages to someone who believes Israel has no legitimacy and is an occupier everywhere? Is Marayati supposed to represent the new moderate Palestinian and Muslim thinking? Somehow, I doubt it. But to create the aura of J-Street bringing the two peoples together, JTA will do its part.