The lobby gets a refit

The recent launch of new Israel lobby in the US, J Street, is an encouraging sign. Its message is fairly conventional – two states for two peoples – but it’s far more moderate than the current loudest voices in the room, the hardline Zionist extremists (the situation in Australia is little different, hence the success of the initiative I co-founded, Independent Australian Jewish Voices.) A growing number of Jews around the world are sick and tired of being defined by policies that only speak of invasion, occupation and violence.

Co-founder of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, explains why his group is to important:

‚ÄúSome of the loudest voices that are beating the war drums are those of either neocons who happen to be Jewish, or established Jewish community leaders who happen to be neocons. This is very disturbing. And it applies not only to Israel but to the whole Middle East — whether it’s American policy towards Iran, or maybe it had some role in the leadup to the war in Iraq. And I think this has made people say, ‘Wait a minute, I may never have been interested in Israel, I may never have been interested in the Jewish community, but these folks are speaking in my name and driving us towards wars and policies that I don’t want to be responsible for.'”

Until the Jewish community accepts that a small group of unrepresentative band of Zionists led the US (and Australia and Britain) into a criminal and futile war against Iraq (and Muslims in general), nothing will change. Jewish blogger Phil Weiss writes:

This is yet another sign that some day soon, or not so soon, the Jewish community will search its soul on the responsibility of Jewish neocons for the greatest foreign-policy debacle of the new century, the responsibility of non-neocon Jewish intellectuals and journalists in giving the neocons cover, and the role of Zionism in Jewish ideas about American power.