Sunday, July 4, 2010

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

I guess this is what J Street means when it asks for (and receives) "Presidential leadership" in the Middle East:

Nudge on Arms Further Divides the U.S. and Israel (front page article, New York Times, 4 July 2010)

The article discusses how the the Obama administration has bowed to pressure that the final version of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty push Israel to sign the document — a way of pressuring the Jewish state. In doing so, the U.S. is essentially tossing out its longstanding policy of ambiguity regarding Israel’s presumed nuclear stockpile.

Says the Times:

The United States, recognizing that the document would upset the Israelis, sought to distance itself even as it signed it.
In a statement released after the conference ended, the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, said, “The United States deplores the decision to single out Israel in the Middle East section of the NPT document.” He said it was “equally deplorable” that the document did not single out Iran for its nuclear ambitions. . . .

"Deplorable," perhaps, but not so much so that the current administration won't throw Israel under the bus yet again.

Link to full article here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ye Gads! J Street, Have You No Shame!?!

Even I am shocked when a J Street position is so far left that it makes the New York Times come across like Fox News.

At least the Times (in this case) takes a stab at balanced reporting, pointing out that the founder of the Free Gaza Movement, one of the Turkish organizations behind the attempted run through the Israeli blockade of Gaza, "does not accept Israel as a Jewish state."

( article here)

And rather than mourning the loss of their supporters, a leader of the other organization involved exults "We become famous . . . . We are very thankful to the Israeli authorities."

And what does J Street do? Fall all over themselves via email, crassly turning this situation into yet another opportunity to urge supporters to "demand Presidential leadership now" -- code, it seems, for the legitimization and escalation of the current administration's pressure on Israel.

Wrong-headed. Unwarranted. Counterproductive.

Does J Street leadership truly believe at this point that, if the Obama administration forces a two-state solution down Israel's throat, organizations such as these will suddenly be placated?


Monday, May 17, 2010

J Street and the Orwellian Importance of Framing and Semantics

From the first time I encountered J Street, I have been fascinated by their use of the Orwellian phrase “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” Though I may strongly disagree with the organization’s politics, I have a tremendous (though grudging) respect for any group crafty enough to conjure up such a positioning statement, and then to repeat it with such mind-numbing frequency that one almost begins to believe.

Let’s look at this a bit closer, shall we?

J Street will tell you (over and over and over) that they’re “pro-Israel.” Well then it must be a fine organization! I mean, you’d have to be a pretty mean-spirited (dare I say “self hating”) Jew not to be “pro-Israel,” right?

J Street will also tell you they’re “pro-peace.” Again, don’t we all long for peace? Don’t we all want Israel to live in security with its neighbors? For all peoples of the region to have the opportunity to better themselves, and to provide a safe environment for their children and their children’s children?

Well, upon reflection, if I’m “pro-Israel, and pro-peace,” then I must be pro J Street, since that’s their motto, after all. Not like those Other Guys. Those Old School, Reflexive Supporters of Israel. And since they’re not J Street, they must not be pro-Israel (not really), or not pro-peace, or both! (Darn them to heck!)

Holy cow. J Street seems to believe if you say something enough, it becomes true.

Thus the organization bashes the Jewish State (for its own good, of course), and criticizes the likes of Dershowitz and Koch and Wiesel, all the while chanting “pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-Israel, pro-peace,” over and over and over.

In conclusion, then, and in the interest of truth, I would like to suggest alternatives to J Street’s snappy-sounding-but-let’s-face-it-somewhat-inaccurate positioning statement.

I’d propose:





Tuesday, May 4, 2010

J Street vs. Elie Wiesel

J Street, directly or via proxy, seems to have had no compunction in castigating Ed Koch and Alan Dershowitz regarding their staunch support of Israel and their public rejection of US / Obama pressure to push for a premature two-state "solution." But even J Street seems to have no stomach to take on Holocaust Survivor, author, Nobel laureate, general giant and living legend Elie Wiesel.

President Obama spoke with Wiesel on Tuesday, May 4th, with the meeting between the two coming about "after Wiesel published a full page ad in the Washington Post last month, criticizing recent American pressure on Israel and claiming that it would not produce a solution to the issue of Jerusalem." (

Nothing from J Street or their supporters, that I have seen, along the lines of their criticism of Koch and Dershowitz.

A recent email sent by J Street's Isaac Luria exhorts recipients to contact their representatives to support a letter circulating right now for signatories on Capitol Hill, led by Reps. Ron Kind (WI-3), Bill Delahunt (MA-10), David Price (NC-4), and Vic Snyder (AR-2). This letter "supports the President in his efforts to achieve a two-state solution because it is in the vital national security interests of both the United States and Israel." ("Tell your Rep: Support two states in Congress," sent 4 May 2010)

The email also tells supporters that “. . . we're going to need to ratchet up our campaign to the next level."

Hmmmmmm. J Street vs. Elie Wiesel -- who are you going to believe?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Well, J Street was Certainly Right About ONE Thing . . .

From the outset, J Street has purported to be a new type of organization in American politics, claiming to give voice to those who previously had no representation. Even their name refers to a Washington street that does not exist. As Jeremy Ben-Ami told the New York Times in September, 2009, "We’re trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel. You don’t have to be noncritical. You don’t have to adopt the party line. It’s not, ‘Israel, right or wrong.’”

Well, I (and no doubt many others) can certainly understand the frustration that results when an organization that claims to speak for you in fact has no right to make such a claim. And in this case I am speaking TO J Street -- you do not represent me!

"Maybe you’re tired of the voices that claim to speak for you when it comes to Israel," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, at the launch of J Street Local on February 4th, 2010. Yes, I am. And I would therefore ask that J Street stop claiming to speak for me, and for what I believe to be a significant portion (dare I say a majority?) of American Jews.

I don't live on J Street.