‘J Street’ Begins Right Where It Should, By Attacking Neocons

US Politics
on 11 Comments

I’ve long contended that a war between the neocons and the progressives inside the Jewish community is necessary for American Jewry to recover from Iraq–to understand the ways that neoconservative support for Israel led to planning what (predictably) turned out to be the greatest foreign policy debacle of the last generation. Jews owe this soul-searching to America, a country that has given us such freedom, and where the neocons successfully created what Jacob Heilbrunn called "a parallel establishment."

Well, the leaders of J Street, the new lobby, have specifically attacked neoconservative Jews in announcing the new lobby.

For too long, the primary … voices policy makers and politicians
have heard regarding American policy toward Israel and the Middle East
have been those of a vocal minority at the far-right of American
society. … Neoconservative, right-wing Jewish leaders and radical
Christian Zionists have turned their definition of ‘pro-Israel’ into a
driving force in the American political process.

No they don’t go nearly as far as I do; but they understand that the neoconservative agenda, of abandoning the peace process and trying to realign the Middle East so that people would forget about the Palestinians, was pure madness.

11 Responses

  1. Jim Haygood
    April 15, 2008, 9:54 pm


    "… the best interests of the US and Israel, including a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the 1967 borders with agreed reciprocal land swaps."

    Oh, my. For all of its self-congratulatory liberalism and open-mindedness, isn't it incredibly presumptuous for a group of mostly American Jews to dictate what the solution is going to be: the 1967 borders, plus reciprocal land swaps?

    Bluntly, "reciprocal land swaps" means that Israel gets to keep big chunks of settlements in the West Bank. In return, they imagine — they fantasize — swapping away some "Arab spots" within Israel to the Palestianian statelet.

    Isn't that magnanimous? No, actually, it suits zionist preoccupations to a tee. Zionism views every Arab within Israel as a "demographic time bomb." Every Arab that can be redlined out of Israel increases the all-important Jewish supermajority, so that Israel can "exist as a Jewish state" (the non-negotiable bottom line, to which J Street hews just as surely as AIPAC does).

    Israeli Arabs have already sniffed out that they're going to be denationalized, stripped of their citizenship, for the greater glory of the Jewish state — and they're having none of it. Quite properly, they simply want equal rights within the state they live in now.

    At worst, J Street may be a "zionist lite" marketing front for a younger, less Israeli-centric Jewish generation … and for gullible gentiles, who are getting a little restless with Israel's steady slaughter in its occupied Arab Sim Cities. J Street's notion that they can simply "redline the Arabs out of Israel" by making their villages into little Palestinian Indian reservations inside Israel, is despotic and misanthropic. Will they wall in those villages, too? Hello, Warsaw ghetto!

    It's all still self-serving, tribal thinking at the service of an ill-concealed zionist agenda, and it ain't gonna fly. Zionism is the problem, and post-zionism is the solution. The 'J' is supposed to make you think of Judaism, but it may end up standing for "jackboot" or "Judas." Call me when you get some Israeli Arabs and Palestinians on board, ya hear?

  2. Todd
    April 15, 2008, 10:31 pm

    Let me guess, the whole battle will eventually boil down to a bogus left v. right mudfest, and everything else will be forgotten. Besides, who really accepts the neocons in the right, anyway?

  3. MM
    April 15, 2008, 11:00 pm

    Has Zogby ever asked Americans and American Jews a question like this:

    Should the United States support the right of return to all those displaced during Israel's 1948 War for Independence?

    I wonder about what those results would say about "Americans' support for Israel"…

    A 'new Israel' lobby could throw zionism's whole legitimacy into question and provoke a necessary discussion on the crisis precipitated by zionism and American interventionism in the Middle East that could greatly shake the American approach to Israel, setting in motion real changes leading to a political transformation in Israel/Palestine…

    Or just defend zionism, and make the courageous demand that 22% be given for sovereign statelets, and not bring up the whole water issue.

  4. bondo
    April 15, 2008, 11:55 pm

    zionist progressive/light is same as plutonium light. aim is to kill but in a quieter manner. so i think.

  5. cogit8
    April 16, 2008, 12:36 am

    "Self-help for self-haters"
    Zionists have managed to unforgivably drag their religion's name through the mud for more than 60 years.

    link to commentisfree.guardian.co.uk

  6. sword of gideon
    April 16, 2008, 3:16 am

    Good to know that your concerned about our soul. Because nothing bad ever happened to us before the establishment of Israel. It was all peaches and cream. A little trouble in Europe between 1933-45 but what the hell. What's Babi Yar and Treblinka compared to the nakba. Which was of course the worst thing to befall anybody anywhere at any point in history.

  7. Rowan Berkeley
    April 16, 2008, 3:20 am

    I wouldn't trust seth freedman any further than I could throw him – which is probably not far, since I expect he revels in krav maga with the lads.

  8. hlmeankin
    April 16, 2008, 4:31 am

    the comments by Haygood and MM are excellent.
    Let me add that the line in the sand (sic)
    is defined here:
    link to palestineonlinestore.com

  9. Jim Haygood
    April 16, 2008, 7:02 am


    Very interesting essay by Seth Freedman in the Guardian, cogit8; thanks. Excerpt:

    "Islamic radicals and fundamentalists are highly adept at conflating the Zionist philosophy with the Jewish faith, and Israel's hiding behind a façade of acting on behalf of World Jewry only plays into their hands. Which is why it's essential that those Jews who recoil at the criminal actions of the Israeli government make it quite clear that this is not being done in their names. The dominant form of Zionism might be a racist, supremacist ideology – but Judaism is most definitely not."

    Never mind individual Jews saying "not in my name" — when is any branch of organized Judaism going to speak up?

    Judaism has become complacent about the prominence of the Holocaust narrative in the postwar era — nazism is universally discredited as illegitimate and genocidal.

    Woe to Judaism, if the Nakba becomes the dominant narrative of what happened in Palestine. Judaism will be as tainted as the German völkisch movement, for having provided the quasi-theological underpinnings for a murderous nationalist, ethnic-supremacist ideology.

    It doesn't have to go down that way. But time is getting short. And "J Street" provides yet another convenient diversionary whitewash for those who want to reinvent zionism in their own minds, into a settler movement with a kinder, gentler machine-gun hand. Who knew that Poppy Bush's "thousand points of light" were actually muzzle flashes?

  10. LeaNder
    April 16, 2008, 7:10 am

    Admittedly the passage that Jim cites caught my attention too, and yes water is an issue closely related to the settlement.

    But what is much more important now is that someone challenges the anti Obama or anti-Obama-substitute propaganda:

    link to israpundit.com

    The best argument for Obama is a negative one. Just watch the resistance and the diligent collection of anti-arguments.

    Even on the popular conspiracy front:
    link to amazon.com

    From the review:
    "The real kicker, the "truth-teller" that persuades me this author is on to a very important potential nightmare scenario for the USA, is the role of Zbigniew Brzezinski as the top foreign policy advisor and indeed the "maker" of both Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama."

    Steel of course ranks high in the Amazon review universe:

    link to amazon.com
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Much work. Here e.g. a counter review would be needed. This could be a field were "J Street" could even – in spite of differences – need people like Philip Weiss.

    I think it is better to assume that the counter voices are funded, and not all of them act out of political consternation.

  11. LeaNder
    April 16, 2008, 7:40 am

    "But time is getting short."

    Time no doubt is getting short. But the question is what is better. One step at a time, or the dangers of the circular movement of utopia/dystopia that accompany the abrupt change.

    J Street should have been there in 2002 already (or in 2004) and it is far better than nothing at all. You can't form a larger group without compromise.

    I think that you are one of the most interesting voices writing comments here, but strictly this is a strange statement:

    "Judaism will be as tainted as the German völkisch movement"

    First Judaism cannot be reduced to Zionism or Zionism as a whole to Israeli politics, second Israel cannot be compared to the scale of the Nazi terror state. There are vague ironical parallels no doubt. But the have nothing to do with the similarity of Israel and the Nazis but with repression and human nature, I think.

    I once read somewhere ages ago as a juvenile: "Hate may turn you into what you hate." I forget who wrote it.

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