Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Checked Again: Still anti-J Street

A number of people, some quite thoughtful, disagreed with my position against J Street yesterday. Since I spent part of the day doing Pessach cleaning, I was able to listen to some of the sessions of the recent J Street conference. I heard Rabbi Saperstein, Jeremy Ben Ami, Peter Beinart, Bernard Avishai, Daniel Levy and Roger Cohen, and was also able to hear when the audience applauded for which statements.

Daniel Levy at one point made a statement about how if it were to be proven that the Arab world really isn't willing to live in peace alongside Israel "then Israel wasn't such a good idea, was it?" but then he went on to say that of course, the Arabs are willing. You'll pardon me if I don't feel compelled to regard Levy as a fellow Zionist in any form or way, even if he was once an aide to Yossie Beilin.

Apart from Levy, however, here's what I found.

These J Street speakers and guest speakers are more or less aligned with the positions of Meretz, perhaps a shade to its left. Meretz, of course, is a legitimate Zionist party, even though it has lost almost all its Israeli voters and hovers near extinction. Yet J Street isn't Meretz, it's something much more troubling, and worthy of our disdain.

First, Meretz positions sound different and more acceptable from Israelis. The reason the party has lost most of its voters is that we've empirically tested its proposals, and lots of people have died as a result - not once, but repeatedly, in 1993-6, in 2000 (twice, once in Lebanon and once with the Palestinians), in 2002, in 2005, and in 2006; arguably also in 2008. Having its basic assumptions serially disproved has discredited Meretz, but if after all that some Israelis still wish to hang on, that's their right; the rest of us don't take them seriously, and that's our right. It's actually surprising how very little animosity Meretz generates these days, especially when compared to their heyday. They're an oddity, and one doesn't get aggravated about oddities; one pities them, or suffers them for the color they add.

The J Street people seem not to have noticed any of this, which is either very peculiar or very disturbing. If they've simply not been watching, what gives them the right to have an opinion about life and death matters they can't make the effort to understand? If they've been watching and refuse to accept what is there to be seen, how exactly do they portray themselves as being on our side?

Second, there's a consistent tone of disdain of Israeli society coming from these people which I find arrogant and very distasteful. Americans left and right have lost their civility in political discourse; Israelis, admittedly, never had it. Yet there are codes in language, deeper than mere words, and the subtext of these J Street spokesmen when discussing Jews from Russia, religious Jews and centrist Jews, is ugly. I find no other word for it. Just as their compassion for Israel's Arabs (the citizens) is odd. There's a level of identification with them which is totally lacking when they talk about the majority of the Israeli Jews. I say this as someone who wishes only the best for Israel's Arabs.

Another widespread sentiment they've got about Israelis is moral superiority. We American Jews, we understand human rights, democracy, dignity and so on, not like our benighted Israeli cousins who need to learn from us because they've turned into an embarrassment. I"m not going to respond in detail to this, but it needs to be rejected vehemently. It's the opposite which is true. Israeli Jews, unlike American ones, live in a hard reality which beats down on those admirable human values and could easily smother them. Yet it doesn't. Israelis know more about raising children to be moral human beings at time of adversity, more about respecting one's enemy's dignity, more about respect for law under extreme duress, than most American Jews can even begin to imagine. How could they? When are they ever faced with true moral quandaries, or required to pay a price for preserving their values? Do Israelis sometimes fail? Of course. Are American Jews ever put in situations where they're ever even tried? Perhaps, but they don't spring to mind.

Then there's the matter of having enemies. Nothing I heard in all those speeches gave any cause to believe the speakers understand what an enemy is; they certainly can't imagine the Palestinians are such. To the best of my recollection, the word Hamas was never mentioned. The Palestinians, when they were talked about, are noble and suffering people who must be reached out to, must be embraced, must be comforted. I have Palestinian friends, and am seeking more of them; through them I try to understand how they see us and how they see themselves. Yet I never forget that so far, we're at war. I'm convinced the ones I know personally are all right, but there are many in their society who would gladly kill me, my family, and my society. There's a war on, it's not over, and it's not something that can be talked away with nice sentiments. War mean enemies: a concept - I repeat myself but it's a crucial distinction - the J-Street people seem quite oblivious of. So far as I can tell, they can't imagine an enemy, astonishing as that may sound.

All of this, serious as it is, perhaps still doesn't justify the distaste I have for these people. So they disagree with me and with most Israelis on many matters: so what? You know how many things there are I disagree on with various factions of Israelis? Heaps and heaps.

The difference between those disagreements and J Street is in the reason J Street exists: to put pressure on the American government. I'd add, to put pressure on the American government to harm Israel, but my Meretz friends will tell me it won't harm Israel. J Street isn't a talk club, it's a lobby, which intends to have an impact on policy.There's an extreme irony in this, since what J Street is essentially saying - quite openly and explicitly - is that the sovereign political decisions of the Jewish State need to be upended. True, the Jews didn't have the ability to make sovereign decisions until Zionism created Israel, but now that the Jews have Israel they're making the wrong decisions and need the outsiders to correct their mistakes for them. If this isn't anti-Zionism by Jews, I don't know what it would look like.

Finally, to sum it all up, there's the content of the pressure that needs to be put on Israel. All of the speakers I heard, and most of what I had previously heard and read about J Street, agree that the reason there's no peace between Israel and Palestinians is that Israel isn't interested, or isn't serious. At the moment they blame "Netanyahu and Lieberman", but Netanyahu and Lieberman were democratically elected (not by me - but they do represent a real majority). Should it be a different Israeli government, however, the J Streeters will say the same about them (since that government won't make any more peace than this one). So let me return to my paragraph yesterday about the Big Lie: I've marked the parts which the J Streeters clearly seem to accept, in bold; the parts in italics some of the J Streeters seem to accept.
The Big Lie of our day has a number or versions. The Jews are not a nation and deserve no state. The Jews have no historical rights to the land they call Israel, and even if they do, they're anachronistic and cannot justify harming the Palestinians. The Palestinians have been in their homeland for time immemorial, and were pushed out by the Jews. The Jews continue to aspire to ever more control of the land, and to ever more oppression of the Palestinians. The Jews' way in war is uniquely evil and cruel. The Palestinians yearn for peace, but the Israelis refuse to allow it, because they haven't finished taking Palestinian land, or because they don't recognize the Palestinians as equally human. The Jews protect their nefarious projects through sinister control of power-brokers, most importantly the United States.
I have no doubt many of the supporters of J Street mean well. Really and truly. But context is important, and when Jews say loudly that the Israelis are to blame for the lack of peace, or that they're immoral or becoming so, and that foreign powers must restrain them: well, that's anti Israel, and it plays into the lie of our day.

40 comments:

Saul Lieberman said...

“Pro Israel” Pop quiz.
Give 3 examples of J Street defending Israel against US criticism.
Give 3 examples of J Street criticizing the US for not providing sufficient support for Israel’s actions or policies.
Give 3 examples of J Street praising Israel for its actions or policies
Partial credit will be given.

Bryan said...

A brilliant post, Yaacov. You have articulated what many of us who have felt uncomfortable with J-Street from the beginning could not or have not.

Anonymous said...

I only listened to the first session. I was stunned by the arrogance of the speakers. They infantilize Israel.

Great essay, Yaacov.

Nycerbarb

Dimitri said...

Great post Yaacov. I'm going to send around to my friends

Carrie said...

Where are you getting the sessions from? Their website? I hate going there, but if I must...

The thing that annoys me, as an actual American Jew, is that J Street keeps claiming that they speak for the majority of American Jews. No, they do not. Sadly, most American Jews do not even think about Israel, and they very well know that.

Then there are those of us who love Israel, like myself, a "young" person who according to Beinart, (JStreet's hero)should be horribly ashamed of Israel. In fact, I don't know any Jews who hate Israel or feel ashamed and I know a hell of a lot of young Jews. It's anecdotal, but it's the truth.

Anyway, J Street is funded by an admitted anti-Zionist, Soros, and some random lady from Hong Kong which is probably some money-laundering scheme that the media refuses to investigate. Goldberg brought up this issue before, and now he's a fan again? He has not been consistent regarding JStreet.

So they had 2,000 people at their conference. So what? How many of them are Jews? They are just a reincarnation of the radical leftists who opposed the creation of Israel in the first place and their agenda will wind up exactly the same way as the latter- in the garbage can.

AKUS said...

"I have no doubt many of the supporters of J Street mean well"

Yakov, I doubt you could provide a single instance to back up your well-meaning statement.

They hate Israel and want it destroyed.

Anonymous said...

You have taken the words from my head and put it in print.

Perfect.

Asaf

Anonymous said...

Carrie -

The conference is at vimeo. Here is the link for the opening session.
http://vimeo.com/20480316

You can poke around and find other sessions.

Try not to throw up.

Nycerbarb

Rabbi Tony Jutner said...

There is no reason that J Street has to pretend to be a pro-israel organization. At the beginning, J Street was a mixture of pro-zionists and anti-zionists. I told J Street that they had to make a decision to become AIPAC Jr or to chart a bold new course behing the tenets of NewJudaism, which stresses Economic Justice, SOcial Justice, and the Right of Return of Endogenous Inhabitants, especially the Palestinians. FOrtunately, J Street has followed my advice and realized what an embarassment israel is to world Jewry. BDS is now an acceptable topic in J Street, and the presence of SOros financial muscle means that he can finance a reverse aliya from israel. The youth group, J Street U, has removed the pro-isral moniker from its pro-isral pro-Peace motto. Being pro-israel and pro-Peace makes as much sense as a pregnant virgin

Travelgirl said...

What a racist blog.

Barry Meislin said...

Thanks Rabbi for proving Yaacov's point.

If you hate Israel, then Israel has got to be a most worthwhile place.

QED

Barry Meislin said...

...the reason there's no peace between Israel and Palestinians is that Israel isn't interested, or isn't serious. At the moment they blame "Netanyahu and Lieberman"...

At the moment. And indeed they ought to---and perhaps they do---also blame Peres, Netanyahu, Barak, Sharon and Olmert (we'll give Rabin a pass)...

In fact, the entire Israeli political establishment, why not?

No peace?

Got to be Israel's fault. It's proven (see the names above).

Makes a world of sense to me. Besides, what other possible conclusion could one arrive at?

File under: GIGO, GIGO, it's off to work we go....

Silke said...

thanks Yaacov

for confirming that my hearing abilities are still up to the job.

and thanks for taking the trouble (the sacrifice in time and well-being) to pick up the gauntlet

and never again tell me that your writing and arguing is inferior to anybody's -

I claim to say that disregarding the fact that I agree with you. I could agree without having to praise your writing, couldn't I? I am very very glad that you have the gift and hope it will make you the powerful voice you should be.

RK said...

The J Street supporter who commented on your previous post was on to something when he or she called you center-right. If you want to know someone's position on the political spectrum, don't look at the propositions he professes; look at who he criticizes. For example, both you and I share the mainstream position that the peace process is dead, largely due to Palestinian intransigence. So do people who are considerably to your left, like Meretz USA-supporter Tom Mitchell. Meanwhile, people on the right like commenter Sylvia or Ben-Dror Yemini agree that the permanent continuation of the settlements is harmful. In an age in which everyone who matters agrees on the substance, political divisions are based on whether one chooses to rail at the Guardian or at Mike Huckabee.

Hence the meaninglessness of attacking J Street for criticizing the elected Israeli government. As Dan Fleshler points out, ZOA criticizes the government from the right all the time without becoming a target of Knesset hearings (or your blog). Maybe my attitude comes from living in a country where the government is regularly influenced by high-powered lobbyists for countries from Saudi Arabia to Ferdinand Marcos, but it's risible to suggest that these pressure groups undermine sovereignty. (Contrary to what many non-political scientists believe, other countries are often more adept at manipulating the US government than vice versa.)

Of course, what J Street mainly does is lobby its own government. The US is going to remain heavily involved with Israel for the foreseeable future, so the nature of that involvement is understandably going to be a topic of political interest here. Your criticism of J Street's lobbying activities is essentially a demand that Americans not try to influence their own government on a major political issue. (Unless it's to pressure the government to ratify whatever the Israeli government does -- which, again, is something many groups that are never mentioned on your blog do.)

There's often a noticeable self-centeredness exhibited by many Israeli writers who comment on America and American Jews. Reading your blog, we learn that intermarrying Reform American Jews are supremely arrogant, that their identity lacks durability and authenticity, that they're blissful decadents, free from Schmittian conflict. Just sometimes, it would be great to hear something nice, just as we (sometimes) say and do nice things for you.

RK said...

Would you mind taking my previous comment out of the spam filter, Yaacov?

Oh, and I listened to the same sessions as you, and I didn't get the impression that any of the speakers would endorse your bolded statements as written. Maybe it's because I'm blind or an idiot, but I prefer to think it's further evidence that you need specific statements and not broad characterizations if you want to convince someone who doesn't already share your presuppositions. For example, you say you got a lot of mail from J Street supporters. Maybe you could ask them what parts of that paragraph, if any, they agree with?

Yaacov said...

I fished it out, RK.

Back in 2001, when I first started writing on Israel, I had to make an interesting decision: were I to write in Hebrew, I'd be slanted leftwards. Writing in English, I'd slant rightwards. The suicide bombers were gearing up, the world was demanding we grovel before Arafat - so I naturally chose English. The rest is history, tho the dynamic is still the same: I don't blog in Hebrew, but I vote for center left and my positions are center left. In Hebrew.

There wasn't a single word about American Jewry in that rant against J Street.

I'm not going to re-phrase what I wrote. It's clear, and you're free to disagree.

Avram said...

Travelgirl said...

What a racist blog.

***

Please provide evidence of Yaakov making racist statements. If you can't, you've slandered him for what reason exactly?

Saul Lieberman said...

RK wrote: Your criticism of J Street's lobbying activities is essentially a demand that Americans not try to influence their own government on a major political issue.

No, the demand is that J Street not mislead the public by claiming to be "Pro Israel." (Sure, J Street's positions are highly problematic but that is not the impetus for the post.)

By the way, let me know how you do on my quiz in the first comment.

Silke said...

RK

how considerate of you to not mention the laughter and the applause the panel I listened to got. As best I remember the more alien to real life conditions the statement was the more enthusiastic the cheers were.

Also you don't mention the financing thingy.

That's the rhetoric by which you can promote everybody to sainthood.

Y. Ben-David said...

Yaacov-
You say you think and vote "center-Left" (I am going to guess you vote Kadimah) but everyone party in that bloc supports dividing Jerusalem? How do you reconcile that?

I have the feeling that deep down, the Left knows that Jerusalem can't be divided. The fact that hard-core Osloids like Yossi Beilin are now talking about an "interim agreement" leaving the hard issues like Jerusalem and the refugees to the last indicates to me that they really don't see how the city can be divided, yet they still talk about it so I think we have to act like they do want to destroy the city.

Y. Ben-David said...

Yaacov-
You say you think and vote "center-Left" (I am going to guess you vote Kadimah) but everyone party in that bloc supports dividing Jerusalem? How do you reconcile that?

I have the feeling that deep down, the Left knows that Jerusalem can't be divided. The fact that hard-core Osloids like Yossi Beilin are now talking about an "interim agreement" leaving the hard issues like Jerusalem and the refugees to the last indicates to me that they really don't see how the city can be divided, yet they still talk about it so I think we have to act like they do want to destroy the city.

Yaacov said...

Ben David -

Kadima, yes.

have you ever managed to vote for a party or candidate you agree with on all counts?

Me neither.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!

Y. Ben-David said...

Yaacov-
The future of Jerusalem is not a marginal issue for me and for many other Jews. The entire future of the country is directly connected to it. A party that is capable of doing that is not a Zionist party as I see it (recall Meir Shitrit proudly proclaiming that the party had no ideology-which only means they are also going to do the easiest thing). I could not vote for a party that threatened doing that even if I liked other things they were saying.

Anonymous said...

This was a disappointing response. The unresolved issues - in nature and tone most reminiscent to me of family disputes - between American and Israeli Jews are myriad. Mixing them so haphazardly into an argument about J Street is reckless and only serves to obscure the point.

J Street did not invent the concept of Diaspora Jews weighing in on Israel - as RK pointed out, quite a few groups to our right do so without any Knesset inquiries, or condemnations in this space. To suggest that American Jews somehow have no right to lobby their own government is so utterly disconnected from the reality of the American Jewish scene that it is almost sad to see it here.

Dan Fleshler offers a fuller argument: http://www.realisticdove.org/archives/471

"now that the Jews have Israel they're making the wrong decisions and need the outsiders to correct their mistakes for them." You could not have put your own problem more succinctly. We are not outsiders, Yaacov - we are Jews. Many of the panelists you spend time scolding in this post are not only Jews but Israeli Jews. You want to live in an Israel where there is not only no Meretz, but no one who thinks anything of Meretz - and you will elide any facts that inconvenience that false vision. How can you imagine that this would persuade anyone not already 100% with you? Perhaps that wasn't your aim.

You continue to avoid demonstrating an explicit connection between J Street the organization and your Big Lie. The closest you get is an extrapolation from the tone of conference speakers - the overwhelming majority of whom are not employed by J Street - and from crowd noise at the events. Crowd noise? What kind of serious scholar allows himself that kind of excess?

I cannot account for the totality of J Street as an organization. But I can tell you personally, as a J Street supporter, that I would never speak as disparagingly of Israelis as you do of American Jews here. I think you have revealed much more than you intended about your general opinion of non-Israeli Jews in this post.

I was looking forward to an intelligent argument, but this is not it. What a shame.

Max

Yaacov said...

Max,

I don't think you read what I said, rather what you expected me to say, or thought I would say, or whatever.

Your depiction of the kind of Israel I'd like is disconnected from who I am and everything I've ever said on the matter, including in this post.

Are you Jews, or outsiders? Both, actually, and that was one of the main points I was making. An overwhelming majority (more than 90%) of the Jews in Israel have been profoundly impacted by what we've seen around us these past 11 years (or more); the spokesmen at J Street (I didn't listen to the MKs) and the audience in its responses have not a single sincere word to address that reality, probably because they can't fathom it. As a lefty American Reform rabbi said to me this morning: every time I come to Israel (once a year) all my assumptions about the situation here get all jarred.

The connection with the Big Lie is crystal clear to my mind, and I've explained it twice in three days. When organized Jews say with all their might that Israel must be pressured to make peace, they are obviously also saying that Israel has the power to make peace but doesn't wish to, for whatever nefarious reasons. This is a central plank of the Big Lie.

Since one of the fronts in the war against Israel is that of ideas (to quote Mondoweiss, who is at the forefront of the enemy's attack), this pernicious lie is part of the campaign against us. Even so, however, read what I wrote and you'll see that I'm not advocating that J Street be cast into some metaphorical fire. I'm rejecting their claim to be pro-Israel, and I'm sharply disagreeing with them. As I said in my post, I disagree with all sorts of people (including many Israelis). So? The J Street people are full of disdain for our elected government (which I didn't vote for), and I'm being disdainful back. Nu?

Finally, apropos the Dan Flesher letter. Do you think he knows Schneller is a Kadima MK? Just curious. If the ZOA were doing the same as J Street, I'd be saying the same about them. But look at section three in his letter: it's exactly what I'm talking about. The moral preening, totally detached from the facts, by someone who hasn't been morally tested in his life. The J Street conference was full of that tone, according to everything I saw and heard.

Some of my American readers have been taking me to task for assuming that J street speaks for them, which, they assure me, it in no way does. (I posted on the matter today). So no, my post isn't revealing about my general opinion of non-Israeli Jews, it's about the ones who pretend the past decade never happened and berate us for insisting it did.

Yaacov

Draper said...

Rhetorical question: Why does there NOT exist a pro-Palestinian, pro-Peace "progressive" movement that openly condemns and criticizes Hamas and the PLO for its decisions? Oh - that's right, such an organization would be considered rightwing for daring to condemn and criticize extremely rightwing fascist movements like Hamas and the PLO.

Wrap your heads around that one.

How is it "progressive" to only bash, condemn, demonize, and dehumanize a liberal democracy while doing the bidding of a far rightwing, fascist (Palestinian) movement? It's not.

I'm not even calling for J-Street to do the same to the PLO/Hamas as they do to Israel. There's no reason to demonize and dehumanize Palestinian leadership b/c there's plenty to legitimately criticize. They can't even do that! WHY? If it's progressive to criticize Israel, it must be progressive to criticize the PLO/Hamas. Why not call them out for easy things like denying civil liberties, basic human rights of Palestinians? Or using human shields, inciting the population towards violence, hate, and antisemitism?

J-Street is not progressive or liberal, in any sense of the word. They're for ending the occupation/settlements but they're not pro-peace. If they were pro-peace, they'd condemn/criticize the PLO/Hamas and stand up for Palestinian commoners whose basic rights are violated daily by their leadership. J-Street should be pushing Palestinian leadership to be more liberal and democratic. Instead they do the bidding of Hamas/PLO.

Yaakov, great post! And FTR, you're a genuine liberal and not center right. The case can easily be made that J-Street is FAR to your right for advocating positions of the extreme 3rd world fascist Right.

Silke said...

Draper

just a thought - maybe they don't criticize Palestinians because they have high hopes for them to help them rein in those pesky women again - you know the ones who day in day out do not admire their natural superiority ;-))))))

Anonymous said...

Draper wrote:

"Why does there NOT exist a pro-Palestinian, pro-Peace "progressive" movement that openly condemns and criticizes Hamas and the PLO for its decisions?"

Because anyone who expressed such an opinion would be killed.

Your comment is spot on.

Nycerbarb

Lawrence W. White MD said...

Your article on J Street was one of the best I have read on the subject. I have been following the sorry history of this organization for the last three years (you can find one of my pieces on "Obamas Court Jews) on American Thinker.

My purpose in sending you this comment is to indicate that one American Jew (me) does not think you are critical of American Jews.

J Street speaks for only a small number of us (they greatly exaggerate their importance), and even President Obama is growing weary of their unrealistic approach to the Middle East.

Keep up your good work.

Lawrence W. White

Bryan said...

Speaking of self-important windbags who exaggerate their own importance, I attended an event with Philip Weiss and Lizzy Ratner, co-editors of the new Mondoweiss book on the Goldstone Report. It was pretty predictable: lots of blathering on about Israel with a token "but the report DID say Hamas committed war crimes" every 15 minutes, a lot of "as a Jew"-ing, and a lot of emotional heartstring-pulling about Goldstone's Zionism and his nightmares.

Despite all my cynicism, I actually was suprised when I asked Mr. Weiss and Ms. Ratner for their thoughts on how the discrepancy between UNHCR and UNRWA refugees (that is to say, that UNRWA status is inherited and that UNHCR status is not) affects the Arab-Israeli conflict, and they were both stunned. They replied that they had not known of any such discrepancy.

I was a little offended because I spend so much time and effort trying to prove the anti-Israel folks wrong, and those very people spend so little time educating themselves. The fact that anyone takes people who do not know such basic facts about the area seriously is mind-boggling.

Rabbi Tony Jutner said...

As leader of NewJudaism, the form of Judaism embraced by the vast majority of American Jews, we regard the existence of ziostan as an embarassment. Under the inspiration of NewJudaism, you will see tens of thousands of AMerican Jews board flotillas and storm the borders of Gaza as part of the ISM. Get behind the 800 lb gorilla of Social Justice, Economic Justice, and the Right of Return of the Palestinians

DRW said...

If J Streeters really love Israel as much as they claim, why don't they make aliyah en masse and revive Meretz? Or how about sending their children on gap years (not 2 week free birthright trips) to Israel in large numbers the way Modern Orthodox Americans do? Or how about volunteering for Zahal with the idea of reforming it from within? oh..i know why they don't: because they really don't love Israel or Israelis, rather they are embarrassed. I would love to see amount of money J Streeters actually fork over to progressive groups in Israel - I'll that's mostly foundation money and very little from individual contributions.

Anonymous said...

Bryan-

Wow! I am stunned they didn't know.

Good for you for asking.

Nycerbarb

Anonymous said...

To any of the J-Street supporters:

Will you answer some questions, please?

I listened to the session with Roger Cohen, Danny Levy and Bernard Avishai. I heard them say the US has to impose a solution on Israel. I never heard them say "on the Palestinians, too."

What is this solution JS supports? Based on what does JS believe it will work? What makes them believe the Palestinians will abide by a solution imposed by the US? How will it be guaranteed?

The peace between Egypt and Israel was guaranteed by the demilitarization of Sinai and US money pumped into Egypt.

What will guarantee this peace? Will there be demilitarization? US troops guarding the border. US troops are tied up in 3 other missions right now. UN troops? How well is that working out in Lebanon?

We all want the same thing - for the shooting to stop. But it seems to me the JS positions are not well thought out. JS seems to believe that moving out of the West Bank will magically create peace. I don't see JS presenting any evidence to support this. I see no plan B.

It is sort of like when Condoleeza Rice said "It is bad policy to speculate on what you'll do if the strategy you are working on doesn't work."

Nycerbarb

Barry Meislin said...

We are living in an age of extraordinary dishonesty.

J-Street is merely a manifestation.

Sylvia said...

Bryan

Kol haKavod!
Now, since you have been introduced, if you could just do a follow up and complete their refugee education regarding those who received neither UNRWA nor UNHCR status nor reparations of any kind. Send them a copy of the film "Forgotten Refugees"
http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/
http://blogs.jpost.com/content/how-win-friends-soas-apartheid-week

SabaShimon said...

Outstanding post!

Soovey said...

"I have no doubt many of the supporters of J Street mean well. Really and truly. "

Yes and you also know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Just a Thought said...

"There's an extreme irony in this, since what J Street is essentially saying - quite openly and explicitly - is that the sovereign political decisions of the Jewish State need to be upended."

Aye, there's the rub.

The core human principle of democratic process means decisions regarding the future of Israel should be made by the Israeli government in Jerusalem, in response to the wishes of the Israeli electorate - not by Europeans in Brussels, nor by the U.S. government in Washington, nor by U.S. Jews in New York.

Yet J-Street and its supporters and allies, having failed to convince the Israeli government and electorate of its views by the ordinary democratic process within Israel, are openly attempting to implement its agenda by encouraging the U.S.A. to intervene (not for the first time) in the governance of a sovereign, free, and democratic country, for the specific purpose of over-riding the decisions made by the Israeli electorate in free and proper practice of democracy.

J-Street's progressive base (if it has one) would claim to strongly oppose the immorality of neo-imperialism. So why do they now find neo-imperialism acceptable and even desirable when the victims are Jews?