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Monday, June 02, 2008

Truth in advertising?

Powerline rips the mask off J Street, the leftist 'pro-Israel' lobbying group backed by Avram Burg and others. The premise behind J Street is that AIPAC, which has been the pro-Israel lobby for as long as I can remember, is 'too right wing' and out-of-touch with the American Jewish mainstream. As Paul Mirengoff shows in this post, it's not AIPAC that's out-of-touch. It's J Street.
AIPAC’s skepticism about a negotiated Middle East settlement in the near future is consistent with American Jewish thinking. Thus, nearly three-quarters of American Jews do not believe that Israel can "achieve peace with a Hamas-led, Palestinian government." Indeed, 55 percent believe that even negotiations between Olmert and Abbas "cannot lead to peace in the foreseeable future." And 82 percent agree that "the goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel."

Moreover, AIPAC is not dominated by political conservatives. Steve Grossman, AIPAC's president from 1992 to 1996 and later the chairman of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, told Kirchick that the notion that AIPAC is a right-wing organization strikes him as ridiculous.

In reality, it is J Street, not AIPAC, that’s out of step, to the point that it can fairly be characterized as a fringe group (the fact that even Barack Obama won’t advocate negotiating with Hamas is a give-away). Kirchick notes that one of the most prominent Israelis involved with the group, Avrum Burg former speaker of the Knesset, has said that "to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end." He has also compared contemporary Israel to pre-Nazi Germany. Another key J Street member, Henry Siegman, has compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, accused Israeli leaders of having the U.S. government "in their pockets," and claimed that the 2000 intifada "was not planned by Arafat, but a spontaneous eruption of Palestinian anger." It’s enough to make you wonder whether the “J” in “J Street” stands for Jimmy Carter.

There’s nothing wrong, of course, with Carteresque Jews forming a lobbying group. But it would be nice to see a little bit of truth in their advertising.

They don't want truth. They want change.

More on J Street here.


At 2:15 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Avrum Burg and Henry Siegman are outside the Israeli-American Jewish mainstream. Few Israelis and American Jews accept the notion Israel is so morally compromised she has to commit national suicide to get a clean bill of health in the rest of the world's eyes. The "J Street" are little different in their anti-Israel extremism as the "Naturei Karta" and they carry little weight with most Jews. Let's hope that it stays that way.

At 3:39 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Unfortunately Henry Siegman, via the CFR, has had very great and terrible influence on foreign policy towards Israel. Your post is correct, but as bad as J Street is, it doesn't mean I like AIPAC either, they gave their stamp of approval on the Road Map that's now become so entrenched by both parties that all of the top 3 candidates adhere to it.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


AIPAC supports the policies of whatever Israeli government happens to be in power. They are a true lobbyist and attempt to place whatever the current Israeli policy is in the best light. They don't make policy. Their support for the 'road map' is just a reflection of Israeli government policy and not an independent opinion.

I agree that the Israeli government policy is wrong. But AIPAC isn't the address to criticize it.


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