It was inevitable. Constantly under pressure from the Jewish center-right (Reform rabbis, for instance), J Street has thrown in the towel. Read its document of surrender.
In response to the letter from Christian denominations urging that aid to Israel be compliant with U.S. policy and law, J Street has joined Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation league and the half-million dollar a year hacks that run the other Jewish organizations to blast the Christians. (See Foxman letter). J Street’s endorsement of the right-wing position is interestingly framed. It asserts that the Jewish community brouhaha about the letter is much ado about little. It says that Jews should be more concerned about achieving peace than attacking every call for it. It puts forth its own tired support for Mahmoud Abbas and the PA (without mentioning that it urged the US to veto the Palestinian statehood resolution which represented Abbas’s one big effort to avoid irrelevancy).
And then it covers its bases by asserting that it agrees with ADL and the others that aid to Israel is an entitlement. It must never be questioned unless you also add “criticism of Israel’s behavior with appropriate criticism of, for instance, rocket fire from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas.” You must also ”put the present situation into a historical or political context that might provide a fuller appreciation for the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over many decades. “
Blah, blah, AIPAC, blah. The church letter is about the $2.5 billion aid package to Israel. As far as I know, the U.S. does not provide the rockets fired from Gaza. As for putting the current situation in a context that “might provide a fuller appreciation for the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over many decades,” I say tell that to the people of Gaza, including the 1400 Palestinians killed during the 2009 Israeli onslaught (including 700 civilians and 250 kids under 16). What’s that context again?
I have no doubt that the people who run J Street fought the rabbis and donors to avoid having to put out this statement. They always fight. (The fought against having to oppose Palestinian statehood at the UN). They always give in.
I hear that Rabbi David Saperstein of the Reform movement threatens to pull “my rabbis” out if J Street strays too far from AIPAC. He’s the lobby’s enforcer, a great progressive on all matters NOT related to Israel and the Palestinians because he too is intimidated by his donors.
So I feel sorry for J Street. But I do not see any reason to support it. It is, at the end of the day — in fact, long before the end of the day — just another Jewish organization that lacks the courage of its supposed convictions.
If Israel attacks Iran, I am sure Saperstein will demand that J Street go along with that too. And J Street will. It is terrified not to be part of the organizational consensus, terrified that the Israeli ambassador will be angry with them, terrified at being outsiders like, you know, the Biblical Jewish prophets. It wants to be part of an amoral and immoral consensus and, guess what, it is.
J Street: Epic Fail.