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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

J Street abandoning the Left

J Street, the 'pro-Israel,' 'pro-peace,' 'pro-Palestinian' organization has apparently now decided that it is lonely on the left and that they are tired of being called anti-Israel. And so, they are moving in the same direction as their logo: to the right. They are morphing into... the American Friends of Kadima.
But throughout the multi-day convention, J Street officials emphasized support and love of Israel, described the lobby as embodying the American and Israeli mainstream and otherwise sought to reduce the voltage of its lightening-rod image.

Some participants, though, warned that J Street risked losing the large base of support on the left of the spectrum as well as the enthusiasm that prompted more than 1,500 activists to show up, among them 500 last-minute participants who jammed hallways and caused panel sessions to overflow.

But Ben-Ami stressed that "our worldview is going to be out of touch with some of the Left" and predicted left-wing outrage as a result, some of which has already surfaced on liberal blogs during the conference.

"It's going to come because we are pro-Israel, while there are many on the Left in this country at this point who believe in a one-state [solution]," Ben-Ami said.

"We don't want to be defined as a left-wing organization," David Avital, a member of J Street's advisory council, explained.

Pointing to support in America and Israel for a two-state solution, he continued, "In reality, we represent the majority views of the Jewish community."

"I think the J Street conference, the platform of J Street, the concept of J Street, of building a two-state solution now, that's Kadima's agenda," maintained Kadima MK Shlomo Molla, who flew to Washington for the convention.
As it happens, Molla is under investigation for taking money donated to the Ethiopian Jewish community for his own account and for lying about having a college degree. So he may not be a Kadima MK for much longer. On the other hand, Meir Sheetrit, also a Kadima MK, is more equivocal about J Street:
"We believe in peace as well. We believe in two states," he said.

"They are more left than Kadima, but on this main issue, which is peace, I think we agree."

He took issue with the group for not supporting an immediate ratcheting up of strong sanctions against Iran and called its perspective "a little naïve" in blaming Israel for not achieving peace after decades of effort.

Still, Sheetrit noted that he came in order to find out whether J Street indeed backs Israel.

"My impression is that they're supporting Israel, not supporting everything Israel says," he said. "I don't support a lot of things that the government is doing."
And Meretz MK Avshalom Villan believes J Street is more like his party (he's probably right).

Prediction: Within 15 months (the midterm elections will play a role in this), J Street will either be an openly anti-Israel organization or it will disappear from the political map altogether.


At 1:02 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'd put my money on the former because of Soros' deep pockets - and J-Street simply cannot survive without the sustained backing of the Left (whatever Ben Ami's promises to the contrary) and it cannot compete with AIPAC for the support of the Israeli government. So it will have to move in a direction hostile to Israel, if it isn't happening already.


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