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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama administration throws J Street under the bus

Reporting from National Security Adviser James Jones' keynote address at the J Street conference, Michael Goldfarb gives several indications that the Obama administration is about to or has thrown J Street under the bus.
Genuine supporters of Israel would find little to object to in Jones's speech. There are two possible explanations for this. First, it may be that Jones's speech writer took J Street's claims to be pro-Israel at face value and calibrated for a pro-Israel audience. The other possibility is that the administration wanted to distance itself from J Street on some of the major issues -- Goldstone and Iran sanctions in particular -- that have been front and center during the J Street conference. An authoritative source tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the administration pushed J Street to have Rep. Robert Wexler introduce Jones -- at these kind of things, introductions are typically made by someone formally affiliated with the organization -- which suggests the second explanation may be the more likely one.

On Goldstone, Jones condemned the report without any serious qualification. J Street has refused either to condemn the report or embrace it. As J Street policy director Hadar Susskind told me yesterday when pressed to explain J Street's position on the report, "There's a lot of space between condemn and embrace."

On Iran, Jones did not mention sanctions specifically, but he did say "all options are on the table." This formulation is so routine, and so consistent with the rhetoric of the previous administration, that it hardly seems worth noting on its own. But in the context of the J Street conference, it was an exceptional statement. J Street opposes sanctions on Iran, let alone the threat of military action. J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami said yesterday that the "the possibility of military actions is probably the most counterproductive thing that could happen." Apparently the administration has a somewhat different view.
For more on the strange happenings at the J Street conference, read the whole thing.


At 1:09 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

As Barry Rubin pointed out, Obama is slowly coming to terms with reality. Combine that with domestic Democratic setbacks and the fact is America is still a center-right country. 40% of Americans are conservative, 20% are liberal and 35% are moderate. There is no support for Far Left policies here and J-Street, with its positions, is not only out of touch with the Obama Administration's new thinking, it is out of touch with the American mainstream.

So much for J-Street having the President's back.



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