The J Street aftermath

Perhaps J Street’s real position is revealed in a statement they released today, seemingly incapable of understanding the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza:

J Street supports passage of a resolution by the U.S. Congress calling for the United States to oppose and work actively to defeat one-sided and biased action in the United Nations when it comes to Israel and the Goldstone Report.

We are not urging members of Congress to oppose H. Res. 867.…  We are urging thoughtful amendment of the Resolution before passage to bring it in line with the principles we articulate in our statement on the legislation.

J Street would support and urges passage of a balanced, thoughtful Congressional resolution urging strong US opposition against biased, one-sided actions regarding the Goldstone Report and the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

J Street also echoes the call of many Israelis – including Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, MKs Nachman Shai and Michael Eitan, and others – for an independent Israeli investigation into the allegations in the Goldstone Report.…  Only by undertaking an independent and credible investigation can Israel ensure that these matters are not left in the hands of international bodies that have traditionally demonstrated their bias against Israel.

Sad, really. To rely on the Israeli government to investigate itself is utterly pointless. They won’t and they haven’t.

JJ Golberg, writing in the Forward, worries about the group (though he’s writing from a Zionist position):

J Street’s conference was an impressive feat, but it’s not quite the game-changer it’s been made out to be — at least, not yet. On examination, this shiny new vehicle turns out to have a few kinks built into its design. They’ll have to be addressed if the organization hopes to succeed.

The core problem is that J Street has two main stated goals, and they don’t really fit together. The first goal is to “broaden” the definition of what it means to be pro-Israel, to open up Jewish community discourse to a wider range of acceptable opinions. The second goal is to lobby for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that leads to a two-state solution. It became evident during the convention that you can’t do both.

By advertising itself as a forum for free and open discussion of Israel, warts and all, the conference predictably attracted a contingent of Jews who are ambivalent or hostile toward Israel. They weren’t on the program, but they spoke up in breakout sessions and gathered in clusters in the hallways. Some came to paint Israel as the guilty party and argue for sweeping Israeli concessions without regard for Israel’s security. Some opposed the very idea of Jewish statehood. Most came to Washington expecting to help shape J Street’s goals and gain political influence for their views.

Finally, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who likes to establish boundaries of acceptable Jewish debate, is posting many letters from concerned Jews, those who just can’t understand why J Street doesn’t support Israel unconditionally. Like this.