J Street is hitting its stride as a significant factor in Jewish political activism. Last week, it spearheaded the campaign against Sarah Palin’s invitation to hijack the Jewish unity rally against Iran at the UN. For this, it’s earned the ire of the Jewish right-wing political machine, not to mention the McCain campaign itself.
Here are a few of the efforts to hit back against J Street for its chutzpah in attempting to insert a progressive perspective into American Jewish politics. Caroline Glick, the doyenne of the wild-eyed pro-Israel right, has weighed in with her typical propaganda, labelling the group “pro-Palestinian.” Which is interesting since J Street’s entire political agenda is deliberately framed in a context that largely, and carefully avoids directly addressing the Palestinian issue or Occupation (a strategy I don’t necessarily approve of but certainly understand given attacks like hers). Is that typical or what?
The executive director of the militantly hawkish Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs weighed in with this drivel:
“The accuracy of J Street’s claim that Americans, whether Jewish or not, support negotiations with Iran is tendentious at best,” said Neumann. “These groups have forfeited their right to speak for the American Jewish community by their shameful actions and public distortions. The Soviets favored a term for this type of organizational behavior: ‘useful idiots.'”
I’d mistakenly thought that JINSA’s rhetoric might be at least one step out of the miasmic swamp from David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes and Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs). But clearly I was mistaken.
By the way, JINSA’s claim that J Street misrepresents American Jewish opinion regarding Iran negotiations is just that–a misrepresentation (others might call it a lie). A J Street poll which no one on the right has successfully discredited, found that 69% of respondents favored negotiations with Iran over military action. I’d say that perhaps someone is being an idiot here but it isn’t J Street. I’d add that JINSA doesn’t even deserve the preceding “useful” in the phrase.
A local AIPAC activist here in Seattle warned Congressional candidate Darcy Burner against accepting funding from J Street. Sam Bennett, running in Pennsylvania, was attacked at a Jewish community forum (pdf) for doing the same. Though Aipac denies that as a group it approves of this sort of behavior, clearly local leaders of the group haven’t accepted their marching orders.
J Street now has a 70,000 strong mailing list and they’ve done all this in just five months!
They are in the process of raising funds to support progressive candidates who will advance a pro-peace agenda regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I urge you to donate what you can.