4 thoughts on “Jewish Peace Groups Discuss Merger – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. In your previous thread, you present a poll that is supposed to show that the official Jewish establishment (i.e. AIPAC and the mainline American Jewish organizations) are badly out of step with American Jewish public opinion (I have already expressed my reservations about this poll). Yet, in this thread, you lament that the groups that supposedly voice these positions that the majority holds find it difficult to merge and to tap into new sources of money from the very Jews who are supposed to hold these positions. To what do you attribute these difficulties?

  2. You clearly have absolutely no fundraising experience in the Jewish community nor do you understand very well how power is utilized in the American Jewish community. I urge you once again to read Michael Massing’s dissection of the leadership structure of AIPAC to understand the tight circle of 4 wealthy individuals who hold the reins of power in that group. If you don’t read this piece then you will have little credibility in attempting to defend AIPAC here.

    In our community, money trumps the grassroots almost every time. AIPAC, even if you include all its volunteer leadership, is a very small, self-selected cross section of American Jewry. But at $60 million in annual budget it far surpasses any other member of the Israel lobby. The combined budget of the 3 peace groups is $5 million.

    Wealth is a top down phenomenon in the Jewish community. THere are a few who stand at the top & use their largess to fund conservative groups like AIPAC. The vast majority of the rest of Amer. Jews have nowhere near the wealth of the top echelon. They hold views far more liberal than those top tier, yet do not have the wherewithal to support those views financially.

    You don’t appear to realize how long it takes to build a strong non profit organization. AIPAC has existed since the 1950s. The oldest of the 3 peace groups has existed for around 10 years. These are growing pains. Even AIPAC has faced organizational & financial crises before.

  3. I think you missed the point I have been trying to make. You used this poll to claim that the large majority of American Jews do not generally support the Israeli government’s overall security and political platform…..i.e. the onus is on the Arabs to stop the violence (i.e. “occupation” is not an excuse for carrying out rocket attacks on Sederot, suicide bombings, etc), not on Israel, the HAMAS gov’t is illegtimate and should be boycotted, Israel is not obligated to withdraw to the pre-67 lines, Jerusalem should remain united under full Israeli rule and sovereignity, etc. You are deducing from the poll that the majority of American Jews think the US gov’t should use maximum pressure to get Israel to give up these basic positions in order to advance the peace process (e.g recognize the HAMAS govt’, stop targetted killings and other security operations,etc) , and this is something that the Bush Administration is not doing. You say that AIPAC more or less supports the Israeli gov’t position on the issues I outlined above. You say that by doing this, AIPAC is not representing mainstream American Jewish opinion. I maintain that the poll is not accurate and that AIPAC does, more or less, reflect mainline American Jewish opinion.
    I then asked, that if indeed, AIPAC was out of step with American Jewish opinion, why hasn’t the groups who oppose them been able to merge and get funding to create an alternative to AIPAC. You stated that the rich Jews (e.g. the “rich Hollywood Jews” who are supporting Obama, for example) who agree with your positions do not contribute money, and neither do the mainstream, which you claim opposes AIPAC’s positions. WHY NOT? If they felt it was important to mobilize the Administration to force Israel to do what you and other want, why are they not doing anything practical? These “rich Hollwood Jews” don’t have much sympathy for the Israeli gov’t position, so why don’t they contribute? The $60 Million a year you mentioned is small change for these people. Yet they don’t give. But, if you could get 1 million Reform and Conservative Jews to contribute $60 a year to the cause, that would also solve the problem. Yet, they don’t give , even though you say they definitely don’t view AIPAC as representing them. WHY NOT? To me this is proof that most American Jews DO view AIPAC as representing them, even if they don’t directly contribute to it. If they felt passionately the way you feel they would contribute. They don’t, so that says a lot, either that the don’t really think they way you claim they do, or even if they do, they don’t think it is important enough to take any positive action.

  4. Yet, they don’t give , even though you say they definitely don’t view AIPAC as representing them.

    My view is a little more nuanced & complicated than that. I’m saying that AIPAC’s hardline positions disagree w. the more liberal positions of American Jews on the I-P conflict. But some, perhaps many of these same Jews aren’t aware of AIPAC’s hardline positions. They view AIPAC much the way that some Jews view Chabad, as a frontline in preserving Jewish life & identity. Those same people who contribute to Chabad may not be aware of the hardline right wing views this group has about both religious & political issues. But because they think maintaining Jewish identity is important, they don’t look to hard into other more problemtic aspects of the group’s mission.

    My goal is to make American Jews aware of just how out of synch AIPAC is with their views. It isn’t that hard to do as AIPAC sails into ever more extreme political territory advocating military action against Iran and such.

    As for the issue of giving, funding for Jewish peace groups is increasing every yr. just as funding for AIPAC increases every yr. The longer history an effective organization has the more donors are drawn to funding it. So the $5 million raised by the 3 groups will keep increasing as they continue to have succeses fighting against AIPAC’s draconian message. I’m not arguing that they shouldn’t do a better job of fundraising & reaching out to those Jews who agree w. their views. This is imperative. But they’re in the midst of doing that & succeeding gradually.

    To me this is proof that most American Jews DO view AIPAC as representing them,

    That doesn’t make sense. If I’m in favor of abortion but don’t give to NARAL does that mean I support Right to Life? Of course not. It just means I’m lazy or not motivated enough to give to NARAL. It means that NARAL perhaps isn’t doing a good enough job of motivating people who shoud be supporting it. It has nothing to do with support for the other side of the debate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *