Getting yourself on the cover of the NY Times Magazine can create enemies. You know J Street is striking a nerve when the Israel lobby goes to such lengths to smear it that it creates a website specifically devoted to the group and debunking it. Thanks to Rainer Waldman-Adkins for pointing out the emergence of a slick new hasbara site, JStreet Jive (Tracking Israel’s Jewish Defamers), written by an ironically and pseudonymously named Parhessia (“public” in Talmudic Aramaic). Isn’t it ridiculous for the lobby to create such a site and refuse to acknowledge who’s behind it and then call the author “Public?”
Here’s the alleged mission of the smearsheet:
While the majority of J Street grass roots supporters are indeed “Pro-Israel” in the sense that they believe in the Jewish people’s need for and the right to its historic and sovereign homeland, J Street’s leadership has demonstrated a cavalier attitude towards existential threats to Israel, a hyper-critical record against Israel and a virtually uncritical policy vis a vis Palestinians and Arab states.
Accuracy and accountability will be the watchwords of JStreetJive.
…If we all want peace and security in the region, let our words reflect a commitment to the truth.
The hasbara hacks are attempting to drive a wedge between J Streets “grassroots supporters” who are supposedly innocent dupes and its leaders who are in league with the Evil One. It’s a pathetic and quite transparent ploy. I almost gagged on my lunch when I read the last two lines claiming the site would be accurate and truthful. Those are in terribly short supply in rightist, pro-Israel sites like this one. They’re often collateral damage in the quest for the perfect smear.
I’ll give a big shout out at the J Street conference to anyone who can expose any information about who might be behind the site. Looking over the writing and production values it would appear to me this comes from a high-class operation, which leaves out most of the Israel lobby groups (whose websites are anything but that), including folks like David Horowitz and likely Daniel Pipes. I had a thought that it might be Pajamas Media since they are both sophisticated (at least in terms of their graphics, if not their substance). Also, the writing isn’t as typically mendacious as many of the loopy right-wing pro-Israel sites, which indicates either a real journalist involved or someone who knows how to present an argument (which is better than most of the wingnutty sites). I’d also include Michael Goldfarb and Commentary’s Noah Pollak in that category of possible suspects. And what about Marty Peretz, though perhaps even this might be beneath him (am I giving him too much credit?) .
Zvi Solow writes an interesting analysis which takes the possible source back to the Israeli hasbara apparatus:
It shows that the J street convention has got someone(s) in the Bibibarak government nervous.
It may be my Israeli paranoia but given Bibi’s US background, his sensitivity to the US media and the makeup of his intimate group of advisers – ex-US olim, religious (i.e., Orthodox), & mitnahalim or their supporters, I’d look for traces of Mike Oren’s friends (the prominence of his persona in the blog is telling), and the neo-con financial supporters of Merkaz Shalem, Israel Hayom etc.
That last reference was to the Shalem Center and Shelly Adelson’s Israel HaYom. Adelson and people associated with Oren would be an interesting guess.
I’m pleased that this site’s Alexa rating is north of 14-million. No one’s reading them, as well they shouldn’t. And even if a few of my readers do click the link above their ranking will remain well above that number. But please don’t click more than once.