אם אין אני לי מי לי
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14
In weeks leading up to the 8th anniversary of 9/11, I had the misfortune of coming across J Street's absurdly titled Obama Smear Busters campaign. Specifically, a friend of mine forwarded to me their impassioned defense of his speech in Cairo...any criticism of which is regarded by them as a "smear". Of course this is ridiculous because his speech itself was more a smear of Israel than any criticism of it. But more on that later. First, a short background of who "J Street" is.
From J Street's website:
J Street was founded to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. We support a new direction for American policy in the Middle East and a broad public and policy debate about the U.S. role in the region.
Awesome...hope and change for the Middle East. This is gonna be great!
J Street supports diplomatic solutions over military ones, including in Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialogue over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors when conflicts do arise.
And of course we all know that negotiating with totalitarian dictatorships never fails...
But hey, if it worked at Model UN club it HAS to work in real life! Right?
J Street brings together Americans who seek a new direction for American policy in the Middle East and broader public and policy debate in the U.S. about ways to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.
So these are American Jews, trying to dictate to Israeli Jews how to run their country. Excellent.
A negotiated end to the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts serves both U.S. and Israeli strategic and security interests. Achieving it must be a priority for the current U.S. administration;
Why does the solution have to "serve" US interests? And what if it doesn't? What if Israel, a sovereign nation finds a solution that serves its own interests? Should Israel be concerned with whether or not building a border fence between Texas and Mexico serves its strategic interests? It's not ACTUALLY the 51st state you know.
What to do about Iran’s nuclear program and support for terror against Israel and elsewhere in the region remains one of the most hotly-debated foreign policy issues of our time
Really? Is it as "hotly-debated" as Kanye West crashing the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards?? Ridiculous!
Way to reduce the gravest threat to the Jewish people in decades to buzz-words normally used when discussing the latest absurd celebrity scandal.
This however, is where things stop being polite...and start gettin' real.
The future Palestinian state will require unprecedented levels of international economic and political support to succeed, including a resolution of the refugee issue within the new Palestinian state and in current host countries
Excuse me? What do you mean by "resolution" of the Palestinian refugee issue?
A comprehensive regional peace that builds on the Arab Initiative
Oh I see. The same initiative that heavily favors a Palestinian right of return that would effectively end the Jewish State. Great pro-Israel advocacy there guys! Really stellar! By the way, any word on the JEWISH refugees that were ACTUALLY thrown out of Arab countries in 1948? Oh no, of course not - because they don't count for anything, do they J Street?
Israel's settlements in the occupied territories have, for over forty years, been an obstacle to peace. They have drained Israel's economy, military, and democracy and eroded the country's ability to uphold the rule of law.
Well this just isn't true. And it's disgraceful to feed the other side's propaganda machines with this kind of misinformation. Keep in mind that they're not even talking about illegal settlement outposts, they're talking about ALL settlements. ALL of them are an impediment.
The arrangements that have been made for the benefit of settlers and for security – checkpoints, settler-only roads, the route of the security barrier* – have all made daily life more difficult for Palestinians, deepening hostility and increasing the odds of violence and conflict.
NO. This is INCORRECT. Checkpoints and security fences are not "for the benefit of the settlers" they're for the security of innocent Israeli civilians. And the "settler-only roads" are not for the "benefit of the settlers" it's to KEEP THEM ALIVE after the numerous Arab shooting attacks on them over the years. They're also to protect Palestinians from Israeli military operations that defend these innocent civilians from their unprovoked attacks. As always, Israeli policies are designed to protect Israeli civilians (be they Jewish OR Muslim) while minimizing Palestinian casualties. Anything suggesting otherwise is a FALSE STATEMENT that feeds the terrorists' propaganda narrative.
In advance of negotiations, all sides should refrain from unilateral actions – including new construction of Jewish housing in the eastern part of the city, evictions, and demolitions – that will make the ultimate resolution of this issue even more difficult.
Why only Jewish housing in the eastern part of the city? What about Arab housing in the western part of the city? Why does East Jerusalem need to be Judenrein, but West Jerusalem can be crawling with Palestinians? Do the Arabs do anything wrong at all? Or is it all just a Jew-bashing-fest here?
American elected officials should respect the decisions of the parties on this issue and refrain from steps, rhetorical or practical, that inflame an already tense situation – for instance, moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem.
Unbelievable. They're against moving the American embassy to the capital. What other country is expected to accept this kind of treatment from its closest allies? Imagine we demanded that Britain move their only embassy from Washington to New York City? Ridiculous! What other country would be expected to operate under these conditions? And these are the people that purport to represent the pro-Israel camp? This is disgusting.
At least there's no partisan agenda here, though. There's certainly no ulterior motive to all this because as their site says on the bottom:
J Street and the Jewish Alliance for Change are 501(c)(4) organizations that primarily focus on nonpartisan education and advocacy on important national issues.
Oh thank God! I was worried for a minute there that there might be an agenda here beyond just a terrible excuse for Israel advocacy.
More from J Street:
J Street in general is supportive of President Obama’s effort to engage Iran diplomatically.
Barack Obama is most likely the last American President who will have the opportunity to lead the way toward a two-state solution
Providing President Obama with support as he pursues the two-state solution will be J Street’s number one priority in 2009 and 2010.
J Street supports President Obama’s call for an immediate and total freeze of settlement construction.
WOW! How incredibly unpartisan! Incredible! Suddenly it all becomes clear. These guys are part of the Obama "here's-a-bunch-of-sellout-Jews-who-support-me-so-you-don't-have-to-feel-guilty-that-I-conned-you-into-voting-for-me-and-will-ensure-you-vote-for-me-again-in-2012" strategy that you're all falling for again. Which is why he surprisingly invited their (for the most part previously unknown) representatives to a meeting in which the "mainstream" pro-Israel groups...
...told Obama that “public disharmony between Israel and the U.S. is beneficial to neither” and that differences “should be dealt with directly by the parties.” The president, according to Hoenlein, leaned back in his chair and said: “I disagree. We had eight years of no daylight” — between George W. Bush and successive Israeli governments — “and no progress.”
So clearly there is some distance between Mr. Obama and the representatives of the pro-Israel lobby that have successfully generated support for Israel over several decades. Indeed, as we told you, "change" for America and America's foreign policy also meant a change in Israel's standing with the president. Enter J Street, a perfect alternative to the "politics of the past" that have produced the close bond between Israel and the United States. Bonds by the way, that are based on mutually beneficial conditions. Nevermind the fact that as we established, J Street isn't actually concerned with improving Israel's situation.
All the Israel stuff is just a front. And for what?
Report a smear, huh? I guess the "report-a-dissident" email campaign is still alive and well. It's all very disturbing...and even more disturbing that a supposed pro-Israel group has attached itself so strongly to a political party and president. It's as if they're saying "whatever Obama says, is the right thing to do" - historically this attitude has brought nothing but disaster for the Jewish people. While it is absolutely imperative for Israel and the United States to continue their mutually beneficial alliance, acting as if Israel is subservient to the United States is a major violation of sovereignty. And the key word here is "mutually beneficial" - America's actions have not always been beneficial to Israeli interests and vice versa. Both nations must continue to pursue their own often (but not always) overlapping goals.
The whole point of founding a Jewish state was the notion that no one can look out for me the way I can and will. If I am not for myself, who will be? Forcing Jerusalem to take orders from Washington is a major violation of this principle and is a surefire path to the bad old days when Jews were enslaved by their host countries' mood of the day. And we all know, more often than not, how wonderfully that has turned out for us.
Like other ignorant or even outright anti-Israel Jews, J Street most absolutely does NOT speak for me. At best they are a distraction from reality - at worst (and in all likelihood) they are actually counterproductive to the cause they purport to advance. These guys are a very poor excuse for pro-Israel advocacy and frankly embarrass the real Zionists with every factual error they publish and every pathetic capitulation they support.
J Street most certainly is NOT the "political voice of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement". To qualify for that honor you must actually be PRO-Israel. Nor is J Street the "new address for Middle East peace and security". Again, to qualify for that you must ACTUALLY be PRO-SECURITY. After all, peace without security, is not peace.
Next time, we'll look at the actual Obama speech that J Street so vigorously defends and why it was bad for Israel, the Jews and the civilized world in general.
Vote for this post on BloggersBase