12 thoughts on “Brad Burston: Jews of the Gate (JVP) vs. Jews of the Wall (Stand With Us) – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I don’t know if Bradley supports disruption as optimal form of dissent.

    I’m glad that you appreciated his reluctance to relate to you defensively.

  2. You are right for now about J Street, but I think that organization’s focus will have to change. Until now its star has been hitched to the Obama administration’s luke-warm, neoliberal Israel-Palestine peace policy efforts (as in “we’ve got your back, Mr. President”). Many who are natural allies of J Street have been disappointed by some of its stances (Goldstone, Iron Dome, etc.). Recently the Magnes Zionist ran an interesting piece about its student wing, J Street U. Hopefully in the next year we will see J Street kissing and making up with the rest of the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” movement and accepting the reality that it cannot succeed as AIPAC-Lite.


  3. In what important or effective or substantial ways is J-Street different from AIPAC and the old guard? I have always assumed that J-Street is a new wrapper for the old toothpaste, put in place (apart from vanity of its founder) to create a feel-good place for Jews who cannot abide AIPAC but don’t really have any different opinions; in short more or less a fraud (in saying it is different).

    Will someone enlighten me?

    1. You have to understand that the politics in the Jewish community is just like the politics in any ethnic or religious community. THere are nuances among groups. Aipac is NOT J St. The latter may not satisfy my own progressive values, but it ain’t Aipac & it ain’t even Aipac lite & many lefties like to claim. I find J St. deeply disappointing in many ways. But it just ain’t Aipac.

      The best way I can describe J St. is an Barack Obama’s Middle East cheering section. Aipac is outright hostile to Obama’s Middle East policy. So that is a major diff. right there. NOw, you & I may not like Obama’s policy, but I for one see a major diff. bet. Aipac’s Likudist approach & Obama’s.

  4. FWIW, I’ve seen at least a couple of articles in Ha’aretz in the past few months that could at least be described as sympathetic, if not outright favorable, toward the JVP (coverage of JVP’s organization of American entertainer support of the Ariel actors’ boycott, and the inclusion of JVP in the Anti-Defamation League’s list of anti-Israel groups).

    I thought this was a good article by Bradley. It made me immediately think of the Peter Beinart article this spring on the failure of the American Jewish establishment, and thought Burston gave voice to a counterweight to the earlier article’s pessimism.

  5. Two years ago there was one protester; this year there 5 or 6 and they were met with real anger and at least some violence. Two years from now if (when) nothing changes there will be 15 or 20 protesters and the true believers at the GA will do them real bodily harm.

  6. interestingly, when UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine tried to pass a pretty mild divestment bill earlier this year, against two American arms manufacturers, Burston came out strongly against us. He claimed that “From Britain to Berkeley to Toronto, the only actual consequence of the BDS movement has been to dramatically inflate the importance of its proponents in their own eyes,” and advised us instead to ” organize and hold a demonstration,” “contact public officials directly,” or “take your case to the media.”

    I was quite surprised at the time at the naivety of these suggestions, as if no one had ever taken such actions before. And now, several months later, he seems to be changing his tune.

    1. A local JVP member who heard him speak when he addressed the Bay Area said he even called the Berkeley BDS movement “Stalinist,” which is rich if he did indeed say that. It’s actually the anti divestment forces who usually engage in Stalinist tactics of the sort Burston himself notes in his column.

      Personally, I think J Street’s anti BDS position made it difficult for Brad to do anything but speak against BDS. He couldn’t exactly bite the hand, you know. I would like to have a really freewheeling discussion some time w him in public or private on these & other subjects (& wrote him to that effect).

      I think the commenter who wrote earlier that this column reminded him of Peter Beinart is right. Both Beinart & Burston are on the cusp of transition or change among the liberal Zionist movement. Either they will help set in motion the change that needs to happen or else they will be too late. I know which option I prefer.

  7. I’m not sure if Burston is trying to use reverse psychology or if he really believes what he’s saying. If it’s the latter then he’s delusional, as are most Jews who believe that good will enventually triumph because really the majority wants it to. If it’s the former; then he’s using the wrong strategy. At the end of this I have a suggestion for the strategy he should be using. The problem is that it’s NOT the majority.

    No, the majority doesn’t want a Palestinian state, a 2-state solution and especially equal rights or any kind of rights for Palestinians because if this were the case it would already be a FAIT ACCOMPLI! The majority in Israel votes centre all the way to radical right, and centre in Israel is right everywhere else.

    If the MAJORITY in Israel and the MAJORITY of Jews in America wanted the above, they’d be marching in Manhattan, New Jersey, L.A. and Tel Aviv. in the thousands to demand an end to the occupation like Americans marched in the Civil Rights Movement and to end the Vietnam War. Instead 5 brave souls are subjected to ridicule by hundreds. A a group of 50 or 70 confront the Hebron Fund.

    So let’s be realistic, he has it in reverse. The majority are the Jews of the Wall and the minority are the Jews of the Gate.

    And you know, I’m not buying all that mushy stuff about the majority which he defines as Jews of the Gate. Maybe he’s trying to pull at the heartstrings of the majority which he clearly knows to be the Jews of the Wall, trying to make them feel guilty for not living up to this image he creates of them, so pure, so moral and good. Puh-leeez.

    Anyway, when Israelis stop lolling around on the beach, sipping their lattes in Tel Aviv cafés, and carrying on in a bubble like nothing’s happening next door; and start marching with Palestinians in droves and breaking down the door of the Knesset to demand an end to the occupation and VOTING left (not that there is a real Left choice) and voting Arab if they have to, to get the message across, then I’ll start hoping again.

    But unlike Burston, I’m not naive. I look at reality head on. I doubt he’ll make much headway with this “mollycoddling”; the U.S. certainly hasn’t and its been mollycoddling Israel for decades now.

    In his place, I would do and say this (it’s a movie scene I love):


  8. RE: “So like Orwell said about democracy: two and half cheers (well, maybe even two and three-quarters) for Brad Burston!” – R.S.

    …So it was with a certain relish that I approached the cover story of a recent issue of Commentary, “The Deadly Price of Pursuing Peace,” written as it was by a talented colleague and friend, Evelyn Gordon.
    The thrust of the piece, which Commentary Editor John Podhoretz understandably calls “groundbreaking,” is that Israel’s international standing has plummeted to an unprecedented low – and the number of Palestinians killed by Israel has concurrently soared – specifically because of Israel’s having done much too much for peace.
    “The answer is unpleasant to contemplate, but the mounting evidence makes it inescapable,” she writes. “It was Israel’s very willingness to make concessions for the sake of peace that has produced its current near-pariah status.”
    The essay has the seamless, compellingly elegant, hyper-lucid, parallel universe logic of a hallucination – or a settlement rooted in the craw of the West Bank. Until I read it, it was difficult for me to comprehend the current runaway-freight recklessness of Israeli authorities and a certain segment of the hard right, bolstered by shady funding from abroad…
    ENTIRE COMMENTARY (but apparently notA Special Place in Hell) – http://www.haaretz.com/news/fear-of-peace-will-be-the-death-of-israel-1.262696

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