Nick Kristof shills for J StreetNick Kristof doesn't write as often about Israel as do Thomas Friedman or Roger Cohen. But he's no less anti-Israel than they are. In the face of a 407-6 vote in the US House, urging the Obama administration to block the 'Palestinian' attempt at the UN next month to escape the negotiating table, Kristof is calling Congress 'obstructionist.' Instead, he urges Americans to join with the Saudis, the Iranians and George Soros to support J Street.
In the last few years, a former government official named Jeremy Ben-Ami has been trying to change the political dynamic in Washington with a new organization — J Street — that presses Congress and the White House to show more balance. Ben-Ami has just published a book, “A New Voice for Israel,” that is a clarion call for American reasonableness in the Middle East.In fact, not only has the 'two-state solution' already slipped through our fingers - it was never there. The proof is in Yasser Arafat's response to Ehud Barak's overly generous offer of statehood, and Mahmoud Abbas' response to Ehud Olmert's overly generous offer of statehood. Both offers and the responses to them prove that this conflict is not about land or occupation, but about Israel's very existence as a Jewish state in the Middle East.
“If things don’t change pretty soon, chances are that the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will slip through our fingers,” Ben-Ami writes. “As that happens, the dream of the Jewish people to be a free people in their own land also slowly disappears.”
The 'Palestinians' will not agree to the two most basic points necessary to resolve the conflict: waiver of the claimed right to flood any remaining Jewish state with Arab Muslims, and agreement that any settlement reached will constitute the end of the conflict. Without those two elements, there is nothing else that can be accomplished.
American Jews have long trended liberal, and President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008. Yet major Jewish organizations, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, embrace hawkish positions.AIPAC - to use Kristof's example - doesn't 'embrace hawkish positions.' It supports whatever positions are embraced by the Israeli government, which in a democracy ought to be the positions embraced by the voters. We Israelis live in a democracy, we live much closer to the conflict than Kristof does and we obviously see the conflict differently than he (and J Street, which has been castigated here in just about every possible public forum) does. Are we suddenly supposed to change into a dictatorship to adopt 'solutions' that we don't want because Kristof wants them? Are we supposed to risk our lives because yet another pompously detached writer for the New York Times thinks it's the right thing to do?
That’s because those Jews who vote and donate based on Israel are disproportionately conservative (the same is true of Christians who are most passionate about Israel issues). Ben-Ami argues that “the loudest eight percent” have hijacked Jewish groups to press for policies that represent neither the Jewish mainstream nor the best interests of Israel.No, if anything, AIPAC is taking the positions of the democratically elected government of Israel. And the loudest eight percent isn't the Jews who support Israel - it's the wealthy Reform and non-affiliated Jews who donate 60% of the budget of the Democratic party. Sadly, it's not the Jews who support Israel, it's the Christians (I wish the Jews did too).
In the case of Israel, American Jewish opinion isn’t the monolith that many assume. A 2008 survey by the American Jewish Committee asked Jews what issue they most wanted presidential candidates to discuss. Most cited the economy; only 3 percent said Israel.If anything, American Jewish opinion is a monolith - in favor of a 'Palestinian state.' That's because most American Jews don't understand that demand is a Trojan horse.
“What happens as Israel continues to become more religious and conservative, more isolated internationally and less democratic domestically?” Ben-Ami writes. “What happens to the relationship between American Jews and Israel as the face of Israel shifts from that of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres to that of the national religious settlers and the ultra-Orthodox rabbis?”Is Ben Ami suggesting that God forbid we kill all the religious Jews? That we not allow religious Jews to make aliya? If Ben Ami - who was born in Israel - truly cares about Israel - why did he leave? Why does he not return? Why should he have any voice in Israel? And by the way, in Yitzchak Rabin's last Knesset speech in 1995, he vowed there would be no 'Palestinian state.'
To put it another way: When Glenn Beck becomes the best friend of Israel’s government and is invited to speak to the Knesset, what do liberals do? Some withdraw. Others join leftist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports divestment campaigns against companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.That's pretty disingenuous. J Street supports boycotting the Jewish towns of Judea and Samaria too. They just don't support boycotting the entire country although they 'understand' people who do and feel that they are still 'pro-Israel.'
(Whenever I write about Israel, I get accused of double standards because I don’t spill as much ink denouncing worse abuses by, say, Syria. I plead guilty. I demand more of Israel partly because my tax dollars supply arms and aid to Israel. I hold democratic allies like Israel to a higher standard — just as I do the U.S.)Really, Nick? Do you make the same demands on Egypt? Lebanon? The 'Palestinians'? Name one other democratic ally that you hold to the same standards that you hold Israel. Name one Nick. You can't, can you?
I posted excerpts of Ben Ami's book with comments here. Please DON'T put money in his pocket by buying it.