J Street’s first major New York Times ad tweaks the Israel lobby for turning its back on promising new Israeli peace initiatives with its Arab neighbors:
When Israel Goes to War Supporters Rally…
When Israel Negotiates Why the Deafening Silence?
A new ceasefire has been brokered between Israel and Hamas. Israel and Syria are quietly resuming diplomatic contacts…And Israeli and Palestinian leaders are negotiating to establish two states living side by side…
If Israel had gone to war this week established pro-Israel organizations would have rallied to its side. There would have been ads, press releases, fundraising appeals and political speeches.
When Ariel Sharon planned the Gaza withdrawal, the Conference of Presidents actually opposed him until he put on a full court press and converted the group to at least tepidly supporting what was, after all, official Israeli government policy. The Israel lobby was also tepid in its support for the Annapolis peace conference. The same thing is happening now during what is arguably a more important period offering prospects for peace.
Why are AIPAC, the ADL, the AJC and President’s Conference AWOL when the prospect of peace looms? Because they’re opposed to any Israeli compromises for peace. And at the risk of repeating the obvious, they’re essentially Likudniks in their political orientation whether they admit it or not. Rather than compromise or negotiation, they’d prefer that the IDF invade Gaza to quell Hamas. Rather than negotiate with Lebanon or Syria, they’d rather that Israel would sit tight and wait till the Arabs sued for peace on Israel’s terms. Of course all of this is a delusion since this will never happen. Israel doesn’t have the luxury of waiting and time is not on its side. But don’t tell the Israel lobby that since their stock in trade involves promoting the notion of Israel triumphant, victorious and supreme.
If you have not already done so, I urge you to sign the ad, contribute and do what you can to support J Street. If the Israel lobby doesn’t speak for you–and their silence in the face of peace opportunities speaks volumes–then allow J Street to speak for you. It is that still, small voice our High Holiday liturgy speaks of–a voice of reason and conscience.