Attack dog on J Street is– no surprise– a colonist on West Bank!

US Politics
on 9 Comments

MJ Rosenberg reports on Lenny Ben-David, who is leading the smear campaign against J Street, which is being sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America. Which is a big supporter of the illegal colonies in the West Bank. Rosenberg:

At AIPAC, Lenny was in charge of the AIPAC version of oppo research. Lenny compiled files on everyone who criticized Israeli policies in any way and used the material he gathered to destroy careers. Lenny loved his files. He loved sending college kids out to gather negative information about journalists, politicians, rabbis, whatever. I remember Lenny’s file on Washington Post columnist, Richard Cohen. You’d think Cohen was in charge of the Beer Hall putsch.

Lenny loved his files.  In fact, Lenny once complained to me that his successor at AIPAC didn’t maintain the files the way he would have. His successor was one Steve Rosen who, I am sure, kept the files beefed up quite nicely. (Steve really knows files).[good line]

Lenny now lives in Israel in the Efrat settlement. He’s been on the payroll of the governments of Turkey, Georgia, oil companies, whoever will pay. He also was a Netanyahu aide. He remains close to AIPAC and to Netanyahu, although, oddly, Lenny was never really that thrilled about Netanyahu.

I wonder who is paying for his current efforts. Someone is. The boy don’t work for nothing although smearing "leftists" (by which Lenny means Jews and others who don’t hate Arabs) is something he would do for fun.

Anyway, it’s nice to know that it’s Lenny, a feckless character if there ever was one, who is running the anti-J Street campaign. If it was Steve Rosen, I’d be worried.

Here is Spencer Ackerman’s expose of Ben-David’s racism. And here is Dan Luban’s analysis of J Street’s political positioning. Smart. Though god knows many of these folks supported the Iraq war and the Gaza slaughter too.

I have to imagine that these are exactly the battle lines that J Street’s leadership is hoping for. From the perspective of winning over the American Jewish community, they could not ask for more than to have their most prominent attacker be not merely an AIPACer and Likudnik, but a settler to boot. The campaign against J Street will only succeed if it can peel off the liberal center of US Jewry; for the battle to turn into liberals against neocons would be the best possible outcome for J Street, which has no aspirations to win over the Commentary crowd. So far, the group seems to have been successful at courting the liberal center — the likes of Martin Indyk, Eric Yoffie, and Jonathan Chait are all appearing at the conference.

9 Responses

  1. potsherd
    October 21, 2009, 10:35 am

    I wonder that Israel apologists don’t feel more shame that they are spouting the smears spread by someone called “the weasel.”

    If a cause can only be defended by smears, lies, innuendo, character assassination and wrecking reputations and careers, doesn’t it ever occur to the defenders that perhaps there is something wrong with that cause?

  2. former coMMenter
    October 21, 2009, 11:38 am

    Is J Street anything other than an attempt to repackage Zionism as a modern, 21st century, humane racism?

    • potsherd
      October 21, 2009, 12:08 pm

      I don’t think J Street yet knows what it is, and certainly not what it is becoming.

      • former coMMenter
        October 21, 2009, 1:46 pm

        On the contrary, the very name is a play-on-words suggesting an intimate familiarity with American pay-to-play “democracy.” What’s J Street’s end-game, U.S. congressmen taking junkets to Israel and adding a line about a Palestinian state to their speeches? Many already do. So what?

    • Taxi
      October 21, 2009, 12:48 pm

      A Palestinian will tell you that the only difference between the Israeli left and right, is that the left prefer their prison cells decorated with pictures of bucolic cows and clowns with daisies in their hats.

      • former coMMenter
        October 21, 2009, 1:43 pm

        Nice one, Taxi.

        But we’re not talking about Israelis. We’re talking about American Zionists. What’s the difference there–one side feels the need to pay lip service to a future (always future, and clearly inviable) Palestinian state?

        As much as Jews are helping to make the debate over Zionism possible in the U.S., J Street seems to me like an obvious attempt to ambush the dialogue with a slightly reformed, but no less reverent, devotion to ethnocratic Israel.

    • syvanen
      October 21, 2009, 5:24 pm

      The importance of J Street is the debate they have opened. What specific prescriptions they may have for a two state solution is secondary. The people I know going to the conference next week are very progressive and much more critical of Israel (in private) then anything J Street has said. They see this an opportunity to make a public statement critical of Israel, but under some political cover. Don’t let your dislike of anything to do with Israel lead you to miss this opportunity for opening a debate in the main political arenas on the ME that has been absent for decades.

  3. Chaos4700
    October 21, 2009, 9:36 pm

    Ohmigosh! Something must be wrong with Witty’s browser! Because he is completely absent from this discussion too. Fancy that.

  4. Kathleen
    October 21, 2009, 10:12 pm

    thanks for all you are doing. Thanks for working so hard for justice

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