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Friday, October 16, 2009

J Street is not the Israeli Left

Anshel Pfeffer takes Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren (pictured) to task for refusing to attend J Street's convention in Washington at the end of the month. In doing so, Pfeffer confuses J Street with the (sane) Israeli Left.
Is it legitimate for a Jewish organization to call upon the U.S. administration to apply pressure on Israel to force it to make concessions to advance the stalled peace process? Should American Jews be second-guessing the Israeli government when they are not the ones who will suffer the consequences? Do they represent a significant stream in American Jewry or are they just a group of defeatist self-hating do-gooders?

The facts are that while the Israeli left was decimated in this year's elections, J Street's views mirror those held by a portion of Israeli politics which is still part of the "legitimate" Zionist mainstream.

And during a period when interest among young American Jews in their Jewish identity, let alone in Middle East politics, is at an all-time low, this is one group which is bucking the trend and motivating thousands to get engaged with the fundamental questions concerning Israel's future.


Whatever one thinks of J Street's policies, at least they give a damn. The old guard of the Jewish "leadership" is now trying to delegitimize the lobby, but it is not their business to tell others how they should support Israel. And it certainly isn't for the Israeli ambassador to bestow or withhold his approval from Jewish organizations.

It is quite possible that Oren is simply caving in to pressure from the old Jewish establishment, threatened by the new kids on the street, but his refusal to meet J Street smacks of good old Israeli arrogance. What do these limp-wristed shtetl Jews who have never held an M-16 know about running a country?
J Street is not the Israeli Left. The Israeli Left does not include the likes of Trita Parsi (whose organization argues against any sanctions against Iran), Robert Malley (who claims that Ehud Barak was responsible for Camp David's failure) or the Muslim Public Affairs Council (which supports Muslim terror). In Israel, there is a wall-to-wall consensus - including from the sane Jewish Left - that all three of them (and many other people associated with J Street's leadership) don't 'give a damn' about Israel.

Sorry, but Oren is right on this one. Pfeffer and too many other people on Israel's Left cannot tell the difference between themselves and J Street. But there is a difference. J Street has earned the pariah status that it has in the established Jewish community, and no one connected with the government of Israel should release them from it.


At 5:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly. The sane Israeli Left advocates sanctions against Iran, believes a Palestinian state must be coupled with recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and Israel has the right to defend itself from its enemies. J-Street's positions are the exact reverse of the above. It consistently takes positions that defend the Iranian regime, rejects the need for the Palestinians to support a true two state solution and denounces Israeli self-defense as a matter of course.

Such an organization doesn't deserve to be made mainstream in the American Jewish Community.


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