Squaring the circle and erasing the margins

I’ve finally reemerged from J Street. Although I intended to be posting throughout the conference, I never found the time. It was a packed few days, with energy bursting at the seams. Although usually subdued and rehearsed from the podium, the crowd was brimming with questions, challenges and a rebellious spirit.

My very initial impression was that If AIPAC feels like going to the Jewish Oscars, then J Street felt like a really fancy bar mitzvah. It was large and impressive, but did not have the ostentatious sense of stage production and drama that AIPAC displays, and I guess that’s to be expected. I don’t think it’s only a matter of resources (which I’m sure play a part), but also of mission. The AIPAC conference seems to say – sit and let us overwhelm you, with facts, with fear, with theater – while J Street was conscious from the beginning that it was more self-reflexive and open. AIPAC was focused of handing out marching orders, and J Street has taken on a more vexing, complicated and perhaps self-defeating mission – to be a vehicle for both social change and political change inside the American Jewish community.

This dual mission was seen from the very first event, a town hall-style plenary session called "Israel and 21st Century American Jewry." Jeremy Ben-Ami explained that this was to be "more than a policy conference," it was also part of breaking the isolation people felt in their communities. And it’s clear that breaking this isolation is what drew many people to the conference. As Phil pointed out earlier there was excessive handwringing across the three days of the conference as Jews struggled with breaking the vice grip of a pro-Israel orthodoxy in their community which says you must support Israeli expansionism and apartheid at all costs. The real energy at this conference came from the vast majority of the 1,500 attendees who said "no more!", and this was Ben-Ami’s most effective rallying cry. J Street is playing a tricky game at trying to harness the dissatisfaction and anger in the Jewish community towards its traditional gatekeepers without letting that energy run wild beyond its control. It’s telling that the only person booed at the conference, as far as I know, was Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the most representative member of that orthodoxy to address the conference. It seemed to be a slightly embarrassing moment for J Street as its conference goers where rebuking an honored guest, but after two days of being revved by talk of opening the debate and hearing all voices – what did they expect? Rabbi Brant Rosen, who I had the honor of finally meeting in person, observed that J Street has opened a Pandora’s box in promoting dissent while trying to manage it. He doubted it could be controlled once the box was opened.

This energy and questioning sprit (to borrow Dana Goldstein’s term) was seen in every single panel I attended. Although speakers presented dry presentations on the the two-state solution or the current debate in Washington, questions from the audience would inevitably veer off the map towards questions of historical justice for the Palestinians and the viability and desirably of a Jewish state. Several questioners made clear their discomfort trying to justify the contradiction between advocating for the Jewish-defined state in Israel/Palestine while enjoying the privileges of a minority in a multicultural democracy here in the United States. This was usually met with a response along the line of "there has always been a tension between universalism and particularism in Jewish life" or something like that, but the dodge wasn’t lost on anyone. The questions bubbling up in the Jewish community were beyond the pale for J Street, and for an organization that is supposed to represent a new discussion about the Middle East in Washington and the Jewish community, it already seemed woefully behind the times.

Jeremy Ben-Ami has said it himself that he sees the organization as a US equivalent of the Israeli Kadima party. J Street is looking to advance the two-state solution, and although there was plenty of sympathy, and perhaps empathy, for the Palestinian people, the motivating factor in building a Palestinian state is to protect a Jewish-majority state in Israel. This was said repeatedly by both Israeli and American Jewish speakers. For a liberal group there was a disturbing amount of time given to talking about "demographic threats" and head counts of Jews versus Palestinians in Israel/Palestine. It is a conversation that many there would denounce as racist if it were to happen here in the US regarding Latino or African-American US citizens, and I would say that there was ambivalent support for the conversation at J Street. If AIPAC attempts to motivate their base through the perennial fear of an impending holocaust, then J Street’s fear mongering takes a more ethno-nationalist approach that seems more in line with Lou Dobbs than the liberal heros that J Street attendees most likely adore. There were murmurs of dissatisfaction in the crowd over this, but I could see this discomfort growing by leaps and bounds in the months and years to come.

And this is in part the dilemma that J Street finds itself in. At its heart J Street is a Washington DC political organization that is trying to harness the power of social change in the Jewish community towards rather conservative political ends. Boxed into Washington’s language on the conflict (willingly), the organization seems in danger of alienating an activist base who increasingly understands this discourse to be irrelevant. One questioner in a panel called "What does it mean to be Pro-Israel" said he wants to go home to Santa Fe and help build J Street, but he knows their "Pro-Israel" moniker will alienate people. How long will J Street supporters flock to an organization that demands the debate be opened – but only so much? Several speakers reinforced that it was fine to criticize Israel, as long as it’s from a place of love. One questioner responded, "But what if instead I love justice?," to some firm applause. In the end I imagine J Street will continue to evade this question as it looks to build power in a city where calls for justice routinely go unanswered.

Finally, there is a more fundamental question as J Street tries to square the circle between harnessing the social change within the Jewish community to promote political change in Washington – where does this leave other Americans concerned with its country’s foreign policy? And more importantly where does it leave Palestinians? The mission to move US policy through reforming the Jewish community’s debate over Israel/Palestine has clear political implications. Ben-Ami ended the opening evening by saying the movement J Street is a part of is a "movement rooted in love of Israel," and while all are welcomed to join J Street in its work, "the heart of this movement has to be in the Jewish community." From this perspective, it was telling that Gaza was not mentioned once the entire evening (except by Rabbi Andy Bachman who said it was no longer occupied). There was only one panel during the entire conference dedicated to "Palestinian perspectives," and even the closing panel called "Why Two States? Why Now?" only included speakers to explain Israeli interests and American interests in promoting two states. Two of the most moving parts of the conference for me was hearing Laila El-Haddad, from the Gaza Mom blog, describe life in still occupied Gaza on the unofficial blogger’s panel. She told a story about how her family was almost unable to leave Gaza to visit her in the US and she is totally unable to enter her homeland. Later, Bassim Khoury, the ex-Minister of National Economy for the Palestinian Authority who recently quit in protest to their reaction to the Goldstone report, demonstrated "Israeli apartheid" in Jerusalem through a power point presentation outlining the gross discrepancies in municipal funding between Jews and Palestinians in the city. Both presentation injected an intense dose of reality into a proceeding that seems to be chugging along more on vision and hope.

J Street represents a very important rupture and opportunity in the supposed American Jewish consensus over Israel/Palestine which should be celebrated. Pushing this wedge into the heart of the community could only be a good thing. But, the tenor and message of the J Street conference would seem to indicate that the struggle to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be lead by Jews, after we conquer our own internal issues to reform our community, and on our agenda. Meanwhile, Palestinians will have to continue to catch the brunt of the Israel everyone loves so much.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 177 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Nolan says:

    Well, if J street don’t hurry, there will be nothing left to resolve.

    link to original.antiwar.com

  2. Citizen says:

    Two good questions:

    “…where does this leave other Americans concerned with its country’s foreign policy?

    Yeah. We’re only 98% of the population; so I wish Phil would’ve pursued this more–perhaps he will in a follow-up article?

    “And more importantly where does it leave Palestinians?”

    Why yes, Palestininians are suffering more than Americans from the current US foreign policy; however, Americans are not reaping net benefits from our foreign policy since JFK was murdered; if Iran is the next target, they will be reaping that much less, and suffering that much more.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      If Iran is the next target, Citizen, it isn’t going to be a question of the American public reaping much less, but — and not to be overly dramatic — picking up the pieces of our country after it shatters around us, economically. I don’t think Americans realize how brittle we’ve become, as a nation — or at least, those Americans who have seen it the worst have been left jobless, homeless and largely without a voice in the modern discourse.

      We cannot afford another war in purely economic terms, even (loathe as I am to do it even for the sake of argument) putting aside the moral implications.

      • I’m not sure this is any better than Sy Hersh over the last couple of years, but for your consideration:

        US-Israeli Missile Defense War Game Signals Israeli Attack on Iran
        By Paul Craig Roberts

        link to opednews.com

      • Dan Kelly says:

        But here is an AP piece prominently quoting a realist American general and an Iranian human rights activist, both making the (correct) case that a nuclear Iran isn’t a threat:

        “Extended deterrence would be meant to protect friends and allies in the Mideast and Europe from the threat of an Iranian nuclear attack — not unlike the security umbrella the U.S. provided for Germany during the Cold War, when the central threat was seen as either a Soviet land assault or a nuclear attack.

        Some question whether such an argument can dissuade Iran, but retired Gen. John Abizaid, who oversaw U.S. military operations in the Mideast from 2003-07, says he thinks that a nuclear-armed Iran would make rational judgments.

        “The historical evidence would suggest that Iran is not a suicide state,” he told a University of Virginia conference Oct. 5. “So it’s my military belief that Iran can be deterred.”

        Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in an AP interview that Washington is mistaken in insisting that it would be intolerable for Iran to have nuclear weapons.

        “Just as the world tolerates North Korea and Pakistan it would have to tolerate Iran as well,” she said.

        link to google.com

        I don’t think the U.S. or Israel will bomb Iran. Aside from the economic impact, Iran can fight back. When is the last time the U.S. or Israel attacked someone who could fight back?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        For Israel? Lebanon in 2006. And the Taliban are actually doing a reasonable job of wearing us down in Afghanistan, actually. They live there — all they really need to accomplish is holding on and we’ll ultimately destroy ourselves. It’s the life cycle of any army that invades Afghanistan.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        And kind of answering in reverse order (sorry about that), AF, that article does make me leery. It doesn’t follow that Israel must be planning an attack on Iran, but that’s one pretty big piece of circumstantial evidence… that sits rather nicely in the shadow of overt “We will attack Iran if you don’t!” rhetoric coming out of the Israeli government.

        You know what’s going to destroy Israel faster than anything else? The shocking realization that the missile defense system is actually an overpriced piece of junk. Missile defense has been one of the biggest boondoggles of the American military-industrial complex. When it fails to catch all of the incoming missiles (and from what I’ve read up on, I wouldn’t even expect it to successfully intercept half) you better believe that sensible Israelis are going to be fleeing as fast as their dual citizenships can get them out of the firing line. It isn’t so much fun when the 21st century military armaments are landing on your side of the border, after all.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        Yes, and Hezbollah and the Taliban don’t have the arsenal that Iran has. Afghanistan is a completely different animal, and even Lebanon is not exactly the same as Iran, although Hezbollah has certainly grown from a small militia to a major player. I wonder if Israel knew how dominant Hezbollah was when it attacked? It certianly found out.

        I just can’t see the U.S. attacking Iran – I think the realists are starting to assert themselves. Israel – who knows what the hell they’ll do. For all the rhetoric, I just don’t see it happening. Not that I would be surprised if it did.

        I’ve made a personal commitment to myself that if the U.S. attacks Iran I’m moving out of the country. I won’t be associated with the madness anymore.

      • potsherd says:

        Rational people know that Iran isn’t a threat, but Israel isn’t a rational player, it’s sunk deep in paranoia as a way of life.

        If Iran were a threat, if it were capable of damaging Israel, then there wouldn’t be all this talk of attacking it.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        If Iran were a threat, if it were capable of damaging Israel, then there wouldn’t be all this talk of attacking it.

        That’s an excellent point. I would still argue that although Iran isn’t a nuclear threat, so there isn’t a stalemate situation, it nevertheless is significantly more powerful than Hezbollah or the Taliban. The talk may be to soften public opinion for a strike, or it may merely be an attempt to intimidate Iran. I think it’s more of the latter, although obviously there are plenty of armchair warriors who would gladly go ahead and attack Iran.

      • potsherd says:

        The stubborn insistence on keeping Iran as an enemy has been one of the primary reason for the failure of the US campaign in Afghanistan. Iran presented itself as a potential ally against the Taliban, at which it would have played an invaluable role, but no, George W Bush had to make his Axis of Evil speech instead.

        If Americans are dying in Afghanistan, they are falling for an Israeli cause.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Thank you, potsherd, for bringing up an important piece of recent history that has fallen down the memory hole (or as I’ve taken to calling it, the MEMRI hole). Anyone else remember the elections that put Ahmedinejad into power? He was pitted against a serious reform candidate. Because, in some major part I think, of Bush’s hate speech toward Iran as well as our deliberate, overt hostile physical threat to Iran — we now occupy countries on two of their borders! — Iranians voted for the hard-liner instead.

        Maybe there are no pro-American candidates in Iran, but you know what? Who cares. It’s not like there are any pro-Iran candidates in the US. That’s not the point of democracy — the point is that an electorate vote for those who are in their interests, or perceived to be, at the time. And so, the perceptions of ourselves that we present to electorates like that in Iran matters.

        I do think that President Bush and his neocon/big business/Zionist conglomerate weren’t just the worst thing to happen to the United States, it’s been the worst thing to happen to global human society as a whole. The damage that has been done to post-Cold War progress (not to mention post-WW2, really) has been incalculable and it is still adding up.

        And we can see that damage to the political process in practical terms here at home, too. Back in the pre-Reagan era, a Democratic President plus a Democratic Congress in the midst of the health care crisis we have now would have equaled “Medicare for all.” Nowadays? All of the decision power ends up in the a single baton that keeps getting passed around between individual non-Democratic Senators like Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman. The public option is essentially dead in the water.

    • Mooser says:

      “the motivating factor in building a Palestinian state is to protect a Jewish-majority state in Israel.”

      I have a feeling you are right, the participants are way ahead of the leaders at J-Street.
      Was the idea that what Israel does might have negative effects for American Jews ever discussed? Or love for America vs. love for Israel? If not, not good.
      So they are discussing something they won’t have any effect on (Israeli intransigence) and not discussing the reality of what Israel and Zionism does to the Jews in America?
      In that case, take it away, America First, it’s all yours, with my blessing.

      “can only be lead by Jews, after we conquer our own internal issues to reform our community, and on our agenda.” Exactly! Until then, America First, it’s all yours.

      • DG says:

        Mooser wrote: ““can only be lead by Jews, after we conquer our own internal issues to reform our community, and on our agenda.” Exactly! “

        I think you may be missing Adam’s intended irony. Whereas you I believe are happiest treating this all as a “Jewish” discussion, Phil and Adam have been trying to make it more inclusive.

      • deb83 says:

        I’ve made a personal commitment to myself that if the U.S. attacks Iran I’m moving out of the country. I won’t be associated with the madness anymore.

        Dan Kelly don’t go!!! Seriously, can’t we all commit to fighting a little harder this madness. I was at the Gaza Freedom Rally last night and Jeff Halper was speaking about “Global Gaza.” The concept being that Gaza was and is an experiment in controlling unwanted populations that our country and others are most interested in. As the global economy worsens some of these tactics might be useful in other places in the world, even the U.S. He was encouraging in that he saw Israel as a house of cards that could come tumbling down. Probably not from U.S. gov’t pressure though. Also, he said the BDS movement is being really effective in other parts of the world. Let’s really decide to fight this monster with all we have. What say you???

      • MRW says:

        WJ: “But regarding Congress, your dollars are just as green as Zionist dollars.”

        Absolutely correct. As long as you’re talking about color. The difference is that Congressional representatives are guardians of the majority taxpayers’ money, which is pre-paid and whose usage is subject to laws in the best interest of that majority; the operative word being representative. All other dough, whether that’s from the NRA, AARP, NAACP, AIPAC, or AMA is, essentially, a bribe, or a crap shoot. Throw enough on it and see what you win.

    • Raising questions of justice are valid, but raising questions about “where does this leave other Americans concerned with is country’s foreign policy” are not. Who’s stopping that 98% from organizing their own lobbies? Answer: nobody. So start your own frigging lobby.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        Can we have our own media outlets and major newspaper and publishing houses to dictate the narrative?

      • Citizen says:

        Try reading Walt & Mearsheimer, including the footnotes, and go wandering from there WJ.
        Also we can’t real campign finance reform, all we got was McCain-Feingold, which made matters worse; further, only a small amount of incumbent seats are ever up for grabs on either side of the aisle, and incumbents won’t reform what favors them. Also, review Dan Kelly’s response. Your comment suggests you never absorbed all the information on these issues covered,and recovered, time and time again on this blog.

      • marc b. says:

        Who’s stopping that 98% from organizing their own lobbies? Answer: nobody. So start your own frigging lobby.

        What a supremely stupid comment, indicative of the utter contempt that you have for pluralism and democratic principles. I am wondering, would you be so arrogant and sarcastic if, let’s say, the Christian Identity movement organizes a lobbying network as successful as the AIPAC/ADL monstrosity? Or would you decompensate into a pants-wetting, whining infant? My guess is that it will be the latter.

      • potsherd says:

        And you’d immediately call it the Anti-Semitic Lobby.

        Which just might be what’s been stopping it, ya think?

      • Mooser says:

        So start your own frigging lobby

        Be careful what you ask for, big shot.

      • MRW says:

        Wandering Jew: We have our own Lobby. It’s called Congress. And we pay for them with our tax dollars. COngress is even so well organized that someone in Podunk, Iowa doesn’t have to go to Washington, our ‘lobbyist’ comes to something called a district and says, Hey! What can I do for you?

        But then our lobbyist goes back to DC and acts in the interest of the smaller group showering him with immediate money because our lobbyist likes this DC stuff – the power, the pomp – and gets waylaid. And frequently Waaaaay Laid.

      • “But, the tenor and message of the J Street conference would seem to indicate that the struggle to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be lead (sp?) by Jews, after we conquer our own internal issues to reform our community, and on our agenda.”

        Thus spake Adam Horowitz.

        “…where does this leave other Americans concerned with its country’s foreign policy?

        Yeah. We’re only 98% of the population;

        Thus echoes citizen.

        You are correct regarding getting the anti Zionist narrative into the media.

        But regarding Congress, your dollars are just as green as Zionist dollars. And guess what? The oil of Chavez and Iran and Saudi Arabia should be able to buy a lot of congressmen and women.

      • And if your new lobby is stupid enough to include half of the rhetoric on this site, it will be called antisemitic. Better hide that jew hating stuff under your hats when you start your new lobby. And don’t invite pat buchanan. just some good advice.

      • MRW says:

        WJ: Whoops, I answered this under the wrong thread. See #17.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        “The oil of Chavez and Iran and Saudi Arabia should be able to buy a lot of congressmen and women.”

        So why doesn’t it? How come Venezuely and Iran are demonized and under constant threat of sanction and “regime change” by the US? How come Saudi Arabia is the whipping boy whenever the media and politicians need an exaggerated example of “scary, scary Islam!”

        Your argument disproves itself, WJ, as a matter of reality.

      • mrw- I believe that more democracy and more education is the cure for most of America’s ills. Thus I disdain a Congress that is up for sale. (How to reconcile freedom of speech and a Congress that is not up for sale may be a tricky balancing act) but essentially Congress is out of touch with their constituents and overly influenced by money and their next campaign.

        (Actually democracy is a lousy form of government. The only problem is that all the others are worse. Democracy will not get it right much of the time. And it is also true that a little learning can be a dangerous thing. Nonetheless, the cure for bad democracy is more democracy and the cure for bad education is more education.)

      • chaos- You’re right. An anti Israel, pro Palestinian campaign will not be easy given the prejudices of American society against Arabs and Muslims.

        I think I read somewhere when the question is posed: Who are you for: the Arabs or the Israelis, people chose the Israelis. But when the question was posed: Who are you for: the Palestinians or the Israelis, the choice was still the Israelis but by a narrower margin because of the underdog factor.

        I think the suicide bombing campaign was a disaster for the Palestinians, from a P.R. point of view. I think Arafat was a disaster for the Palestinians from a P.R. point of view. I think shelling Sderot was stupid from a P.R. point of view. I think 9/11 was a disaster for the Palestinians from a P.R. point of view.

        I think advocacy of a one state solution might play well on college campuses, but not in Middle America.

      • “And if your new lobby is stupid enough to include half of the rhetoric on this site, it will be called antisemitic. Better hide that jew hating stuff under your hats when you start your new lobby.”

        OK, Wondering Jew, give us your definition of antisemitism. Then provide examples from the rhetoric on this site. Where have you seen “Jew hating”?

        My definition: a general antipathy toward Jews as individuals or as a “people”. In months of visiting this site regularly, I have seen no evidence of that. Anything beyond this common-sense definition of antisemitism is nothing more than blather, an attempt to suppress legitimate discussion of relevant political and social issues.

        BTW, the ADL, which provides a ludicrously broad interpretation of this serious subject, is a self-interested party grinding a political ax, incapable of properly adjudicating questions of antisemitism.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        You know what your problem is, Wondering Jew? You don’t care about people. Human beings. You just care about PR.

        This is why Zionism is such a horrible subversion of Judaism.

        And if you hadn’t noticed? Middle America is rapidly disappearing.

      • CMI – certainly the number of Jew hating comments are more like a sprinkling rather than half.

        On this thread the shooting today at the Los Angeles synagogue is greeted by Todd with the comment, Let the fun begin. On another thread I recall someone advising people to turn off their Talmud televisions. I think the constant comparisons of Israel or Israel supporters to Nazis might not qualify strictly speaking as Jew hating, but if you are serious about starting an American lobby regarding the middle east, I would advise avoiding rhetoric of that sort. I am not providing a definition at this point and I know that’s unfair, but if you’re serious about avoiding antisemitism, I would try to avoid referring to Kevin MacDonald’s writings in a favorable way. I think if you express a wish to institute quotas to keep the number of Jews down in universities, this may or may not be antisemitism, but it would be something as the organizer of this new lobby that you wouldn’t want to expose to the light of day. If you wish to compare the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis to other genocides, you should be specific and not make general comments like “It wasn’t even unique at the time.” Not that it’s necessarily Jew hating but it would certainly open you up to such accusations. Those are a few examples.

      • Donald says:

        WJ–

        I agree with much or most of what you say–in particular, Nazi comparisons are something that people should only rarely use. If one wants historical analogies there are plenty of others that seem more accurate to me. It just seems like baiting to do this. In general, excessively harsh rhetoric actually weakens one’s case. I don’t mean this in some Witty-like way, because I don’t think people should pull punches describing the crimes committed in the name of Zionism. Certainly people in the US don’t hesitate to denounce Arab crimes or Arab antisemitism, so this frankness should work both ways. But there’s no reason to bring in the Nazi comparisons–it’s over-the-top.

  3. It sounds like the conference was very stimulating and informative.

    From your comments, I think J Street is clearly on the right track.

    If the comments your reported are representative of the liberal Jewish dissenting community, then your and Phil’s interpretations of the significance of events is NOT representative. Walt/Mearsheimer is less important than Dan Fleshler. Finkelstein is utterly unimportant.

    The interpretation of dissent that “Zionism is racism” is off the table. The suggestion of a single-state is off the table. Punitive oriented BDS is off the table.

    Dissent oriented to reform is on the table, and productively critical journalism is on the table.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      So, Witty, while you’re on a screed defining what constitutes effective “dissent,” would you mind commenting on this? I mean, with respect to your claim that the only recourse Palestinians have against Israel is nonviolent protest.

      link to original.antiwar.com

      Not really going to let you run from that one so easily.

    • MRW says:

      The interpretation of dissent that “Zionism is racism” is off the table. The suggestion of a single-state is off the table. Punitive oriented BDS is off the table.

      Off whose table? I can guarantee you this: if Israel bombs Iran, or seeks in any way to disrupt the balance of power in the ME to the point where 98% of Americans suffer any more financial hardship (price of gas, food), endure real terrorism on these shores as a result (proxy blame), or see their security threatened by Israel’s constant, unrestrained political immaturity, and medieval sense of nationalism, punitive BDS will be least of Israel’s worries. Not only that, American Jews will have to choose sides: what are they first?

      Dissent oriented to reform is on the table, and productively critical journalism is on the table.

      This has been on the table for decades: meaningless. We’ve destroyed entire forests with reams of “productively critical journalism.” BFD. The Boys of Bialystock fan their faces with our and their ‘dissent’. The only thing Israel understands is money and guns. Take away the US money and military aid, then you’re got something ‘on the table’ they will pay attention to.

      And many of the 98% of Americans dissed as unimportant and inconsequential at this ground-breaking circle jerk are beginning to perceive, or actually know, it. BDS is the way to go.

      • MRW says:

        The beauty of the BDS movement is that it doesn’t involve US foreign policy, or its Zionist mandarins. It needs no one’s permission or vote. And it’s a nascent movement in 100 countries right now.

      • Mooser says:

        MRW, you can’t explain that to a guy who thinks that America exists to serve Israel. A guy who thinks America is happy to exist to serve Israel. So there’s just no point.

      • MRW says:

        Yeah, I know. But the button said “Reply.” :-)

  4. Sin Nombre says:

    Adam wrote:

    “J Street is playing a tricky game at trying to harness the dissatisfaction and anger in the Jewish community towards its traditional gatekeepers without letting that energy run wild beyond its control.”

    Right, the fear of the Gorbachov perestroika/glasnost/”reform” phenomenon leading to Yeltsin and then meltdown. But there’s just no way U.S. jewish energy is going to come anywhere close to approving of meltdown. If any “running wild” occurs it will be due to J-Street’s “giving cover” to non-jewish objectors to the policy of the U.S. towards the I/P issue. (Which cover will be given unintentionally, which is why Ben-Ami is trying to forestall same by saying, as per Adam, that “the heart of this movement has to be in the Jewish community.”

    Ironic then; while so much of this conference, as per the reports of Phil and Adam here, seems to have been taken up with jewish introspection, it’s real potential significance is what effect it might have on non-jewish Americans.

  5. Dan Kelly says:

    Adam linked to a JTA article about the booing of Rabbi Yoffie. This is an excerpt from the article:

    “…he (Ben-Ami) differed with Yoffie on the Reform leader’s defense of Israel’s actions during the Gaza war (Yoffie’s blast last winter at J Street for its criticism of Israel’s conduct is what led to Monday’s encounter); Israel had the natural right to defend itself against rocket attacks. Ben-Ami agreed, but said it was not wrong to criticize Israel’s response as disproportionate:

    The fallout from the Goldstone report is exactly the kind of reason why (Israel’s bombardment of Gaza) is not wise.

    The fallout is why the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians isn’t wise. Not the killing itself.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Yep. Kind of sickening, isn’t it? That’s why I get so enraged at people like Witty — because to them it’s not, “Oh my God… they killed three hundred children!” it’s “Oh… well, that was a bad PR move for us.”

      • Citizen says:

        Well, give Witty credit, his position as you well define it, is supported by certain
        “ethical” threads in the Talmud. Of course the those old writer-debaters didn’t use the acronym PR but they do spell it out clearly.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        I’m going to have to ask you to maybe back that up or back off, Citizen. Because, I’m not even Jewish and that actually did sound rather anti-Semitic to me. It’s my understanding that the core teachings of Judaism don’t qualify “thou shallt not kill” with “because the media spin is a big pain in the ass.”

      • Mooser says:

        Chaos, the Jewish religion is just like any other, pretty much. You can find whatever you want in the writings, whatever you want.
        And yeah, it was a hell of a remark, about par for the course for him. And he’s got a Jewish wife. I hope he keeps a close eye on her, you never know when she might pull an excuse to strangle you out of the Talmud, Citizen. You know, Citizen, to quote you, that “lame Jewish culture.

      • Citizen says:

        Mooser, what you say about all religions is true. And it’s also true of the Talmud
        itself of course, which is why I wrote “certain” threads in it. OTH, I’ve never said Jewish culture is lame. You didn’t quote me at all, but simply made up that lie. Lastly, I suggest you and Chaos4700 (and anyone else interested) read this discussion to better grasp what I was talking about and whether or not there
        was substance there:

        link to failedmessiah.typepad.com

    • Donald says:

      “The fallout from the Goldstone report is exactly the kind of reason why (Israel’s bombardment of Gaza) is not wise.”

      “The fallout is why the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians isn’t wise. Not the killing itself.”

      That’s pretty normal thinking in American foreign policy circles as well. Killing civilians is a horror when some enemy does it–when we or one of our allies does it people take this antiseptic analytic tone and discuss it in terms of its PR impact. It’s how you distinguish betweenforeign policy pundits (they’re the antiseptic ones) who are taken seriously by the MSM and those who are not.

      No snark intended. That really is one of the most defining characteristics of a Serious Person (to use Glenn Greenwald’s mocking term).

      • Dan Kelly says:

        That’s pretty normal thinking in American foreign policy circles as well. Killing civilians is a horror when some enemy does it–when we or one of our allies does it people take this antiseptic analytic tone and discuss it in terms of its PR impact.

        Yep. Noam Chomksy introduced this to me years ago. I’ve never read a newspaper report or viewed pundits in the same light since.

      • marc b. says:

        Noam Chomksy introduced this to me years ago. I’ve never read a newspaper report or viewed pundits in the same light since.

        That really is the greatest service Chomsky has performed, in my estimation: teaching one how to read the papers critically. And, I mean that sincerely.

      • Citizen says:

        Similarly, Hitler kept his mitts of the Pope; Stalin, when losing his tukas to Adolph, suddenly brought the Orthodox Church leaders into his ranks. Politics makes odd bed fellows–and also decides which civilians to be helped or saved at any given time.

      • Citizen says:

        Similarly, Hitler kept his mitts of the Pope; Stalin, when losing his tukas to Adolph, suddenly brought the Orthodox Church leaders into his ranks. Politics makes odd bed fellows–and also decides which civilians to be helped or saved at any given time.

  6. Mooser says:

    Are American Jews really capable of excising the Zionism from their Judaism? It would be a hell of a thing if about a million or so American Jews re-affirmed their Judaism by opposing Zionism! Or, re-affirmed their Judaism only to oppose Zionism!
    Actually, I don’t see that, it put one in a sort of ridiculous position.
    Well, I better go read the next post.

    • potsherd says:

      Judaism survived for almost 2000 years without Zionism.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      It’s… a hard scenario to envision at this point, perhaps, Mooser, but don’t give up on it. Most of all, it will take people like you at least talking about it in those terms for it to even have a chance of becoming reality.

    • Mooser says:

      Well, I hope the participants are way, way, way ahead of the leaders, cause if not…
      So there isn’t a single goddamed Jew left in this country who will take an unmitigated stand against colonialism and racism? Jeez, what the hell is the good of being accused of inventing socialism and communism if you can’t even do that!

      Okay, okay, it’s the first conference, these are preliminary (though pretty damned incisive) reports.

      Anyway, I hope Phil and Adam handed out business cards or whatever it is you hand out (printed condoms? Custom-printed matchbooks? Pens with Hula Dancers and the URL? Ties with your URL that glow in low light and say “Will You Kiss Me in the Dark, Baby?) to gain an expanded readership. Advertising pays, you know.

  7. MRW says:

    This just leapt out at me:

    Several speakers reinforced that it was fine to criticize Israel, as long as it’s from a place of love. One questioner responded, “But what if instead I love justice?,” to some firm applause.

    Not to be mean, but “the place of love” pre-condition sounds like Witty, and the riposte sounds as if it could be written by others here, myself included. Points out the difference between the political realities of the two cultures. Israel with its Hatikvah emotion justifying political action, policy, and exceptionalism; and America rooted in non-religious constitutional law. Or more simply, Israel is a nation of men; our founders had the wisdom and insight to insist on a nation of laws to ensure justice and equality, no matter how uneven it has been to make small-minded citizens see the light of that wisdom.

    • tree says:

      Yes, this proscription for only criticizing Israel from a “place of love” is really a demand for Jews to all be “loyal” to Israel, lest they not be taken seriously, or worse yet, be considered “self-haters” or “anti-semitic”. It is an attempt to enforce conformity on American Jews, by major American Jewish leaders. and Israel, with a major negative stereotype about Jews. Its as if some the most significant anti-semites are the Jewish enforcers of “love of Israel”. When Zionism has past the pages of time, it will be looked back on as one of the major purveyors of anti-semitism.

      • Citizen says:

        Reminds me of the little usa flag pin even Obama had to pin on; the Repubs have always wrapped themselves in the flag; but, my god, every time Pelosi makes a public speech these days she has dozens of usa flags at her back. Remember how people were called unAmerican after 9/11 of they dared to criticize the Bush-necon agenda?

  8. Dan Kelly says:

    More thoughts on the conference from Sydney Levy:

    “The most difficult moment for me at the J Street came this morning. I was listening to a panel called Messaging Pro-Israel Pro-Peace…

    The question on the table, Is there a demographic threat?

    The good news, says Dr. Goldscheider, is that in the context of the State of Israel, Arab minorities present no demographic threat unless we include the occupied territories and give the inhabitants there equal rights. Inclusion without equal rights leads to the end of democracy. Inclusion with equal rights leads to the end of the Jewish majority in the state. And that is why a two-state solution is a must: to preserve Jewish democracy.

    The Palestinians are of course non-players in this Jewish democratic drama. At most, they are a threat just for being there. At best, they are a minority that we must keep under demographic control.

    Oh, but the Palestinians are playing their part well. You see, in the 1960’s Palestinians had an average of nine children per family. Now they only have four. (Phew).

    Four children is a lot, but nine is a lot more, explains the kind demographer in case we cold not do the math. Audience laughs.

    Now, I am Jewish and I am also a Latino man living in California–a state where we have a pluralistic demographic composition: not one group, not even non-Latino whites, amount to 50% of the population. If I were to hear white people bemoaning the demographic threat that the rise of people of color in the state represents, I would call it like it is, and that is racism, pure and simple. I have no use for the phrase demographic threat. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a sharp pain in my gut.

    What we say matters a lot; that’s what we were told in this workshop. If we need to use racism to message ourselves as Pro-Israel pro-peace, there is something very wrong here.

    Is this the best J Street can come up with?

    link to muzzlewatch.com

    • Mooser says:

      My frickin God! They said “Demographic threat” and these people sat still for it?
      Not one of them stood up and said, “You know, it was just a few years ago that we, Jews, were the “demographic threat”? That “demographic threat ia an old anti-…

      Oh never mind.

      The entitlement on exhibit at the conference by implication (hah!) is stunning!

    • MRW says:

      Yeah, Adam nabbed it: Lou Dobbism.

    • MRW says:

      Levy says at the end:

      Were I to be in Israel this very week, I would be furiously fighting against a bill advancing in the Knesset that would bar the Israeli government from providing funding to activities that deny Israel’s definition as a Jewish or democratic state.

      “As a Jewish or democratic state.” Democratic state. Priceless.

      • potsherd says:

        More PR, more surface over substance.

        Not – what can we do to actually make the state more democratic, but what can we do to keep people from calling out the state as the undemocratic racist nation it is.

    • tree says:

      Great articulation of the point, and I would say that this summed it up succinctly:

      I am talking about understanding fully and completely that you cannot save Israel’s democracy one bit when you celebrate the fact that 20% of its citizens has an increasingly lower birth rate (yeay!) so that their proportion in the population will not grow (double yeay!). If this is what you believe, don’t waste your time on avoiding the threat; you’ve lost the democratic values a long time ago..

      (italics mine)

  9. GalenSword says:

    J-Street is not a new phenomenon is Jewish-Zionist political history.

    Shalom Achshav and American Friends of Peace Now very quickly became adjuncts of the Israeli Labor Party.

    J-Street and AFPN make sure that Jewish Zionists control discourse when the current Zionist orthodoxy loses its hold.

    J-Street is just as much a part of the Israel Lobby as the American Friends of Peace Now.

    There really is no concern for justice or for Palestinians.

    Heaven forfend that there should ever be a discussion of the damage that the Israel Lobby including J-Street, fellow travelers, and useful idiots do to America: Scaremongering Muslim Interns, Undermining Democracy.

    • MRW says:

      You’re right, GalenSword. They’ve just added another ball to the juggling act; it’s shiny and new, and it will distract for a year or two.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Maybe that is the intent of J-Street’s leadership, but if we’re lucky, they’re opening a Pandora’s box they won’t be able to close. We’ll see.

  10. olive says:

    I agree with Mr. Horowitz’s analysis. We should not expect much from J Street because the fundemental ideological values that J Street and AIPAC hold are the same.

    In my opinion, the solution lies in the armies of the Muslim world, not in Washington D.C. lobbies.

    • “the solution lies in the armies of the Muslim world”

      Yeah, good luck with that meme. Most of the ‘armies of the Muslim world’ wouldn’t last a week against the US or Israel.

      The only Muslim country with an army capable of Western style destruction is Pakistan. And you might have noticed that they’re currently juggling four fronts: India, Afghanistan, hicks from their own provinces and, of course, US political meddling.

      Funny, for all of the talk of Iran and Afghanistan, Pakistan is the latest winner of the US intervention lottery.

  11. MRW says:

    BTW, Adam, thanks for the report. I really appreciated it. However, if this is the case…

    But, the tenor and message of the J Street conference would seem to indicate that the struggle to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be lead by Jews, after we conquer our own internal issues to reform our community, and on our agenda. [Emphasis mine.] Meanwhile, Palestinians will have to continue to catch the brunt of the Israel everyone loves so much.

    then American Jews better hope that Israel doesn’t bomb Iran, because they wont have the luxury of conquering their internal demons on their own time, according to their agenda.

    • Dan Kelly says:

      There has been much talk here the last few days of a simmering anger towards Israel and its supporters among much of America that is just waiting to explode if we bomb Iran. It’s even been suggested that wholesale antisemitism may arise.

      I don’t see it. I don’t think enough Americans know that these wars (Iraq and potentially Iran, Afghanistan to a lesser, but still notable, extent) are fought primarily in Israel’s interest. I think the propaganda that “they are a threat to us and the world” is embedded in enough of the populace to override any suggestions that Israel and its supporters are the culprits.

      • Mooser says:

        “It’s even been suggested that wholesale antisemitism may arise.”

        It would not take “wholesale anti-semitism” to make life very unpleasant for a big slice of American Jews. A simple increase in social anti-Semitism creating a threatening atmosphere, coupled with job discrimination as a result of it would be no fun, for instance.

      • Mooser says:

        Isn’t it wonderful? I should sleep safe and happy, because I know that any anti-Semitism in America is always exceeded by mis-information and prejudice towards Muslims. Look how far we have come.

      • MRW says:

        I dont agree, and I’ll tell you why. You are absolutely correct, I think, about Americans not knowing enough about the genesis of the current wars, and thinking “they are a threat to us and the world.” But that’s because gas isn’t $5-$10/gal. And the cost of food doesn’t reflect the fuel transportation cost of getting meat and milk and potatoes across America. Not to mention, the cost of getting to work.

        Should Israel bomb Iran, that changes. Quite apart from the fact that we will have violated our golden military rule of not fighting more than two major wars at a time, the spontaneous groups that sprang up threatening the lives of AIG execs and the bankers will go into overdrive, and policy be damned. Families will not be able to feed their kids adequately, or afford to drive to work or school. The ME can sell their oil to China, Europe, Latin America, and survive. They will cut offour supply. And our supply will be going to pay the $400/gal “fully burdened” cost of fuel needed for the military in Afghanistan, which uses 800,000 gal/day. [Google it; think Bloomberg reported it.] Iraq will become a powder keg threatening our troops there. The Iranian army/airforce and Revolutionary guards are a highly disciplined military force with full knowledge of how to fight in their own mountainous backyard that we can only reach by going halfway in-country. Israel’s gangster-style military has no — zilch — experience fighting anything it can’t control or dominate, or doesn;t live next0-door. If Israel uses nukes, then the worse happens, and as Scott Ritter said recently: Pick your American city. Which one to do want to go? Houston? New York? Chicago? Miami? Because one will be wiped off the face of the earth.

        Now, to address your point that American ignorance of the global landscape will stave off knee-jerk reactions, and anti-semitism, against Israel. Not when people are starving, their lives threatened, and WWIII either looms or results. It is just a short hop and a skip from “bankers” causing the economic meltdown to a full-out assault on a perceived cause, labels be damned. All it takes is one match to light it … especially if ordinary folk can identify with Palestinians having bombs and whatever rain down on them. Kaboom.

        “No man can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach” – Woodrow Wilson.

      • DG says:

        Dan wrote: “I think the propaganda that “they are a threat to us and the world” is embedded in enough of the populace to override any suggestions that Israel and its supporters are the culprits.”

        Exactly. That’s why the Iraq invasion was so important to them. Reducing a rival regional power to fragmented impotence was nice. Getting our troops in position over there was nice. But most important of all was getting Americans to start thinking like Israelis think. When you’ve just snuffed out a million lives, you have to convince yourself that it was all their fault, or you wouldn’t be able to face yourself in the mirror.

        Who was it who said, “We’re all Israelis now?”

      • MRW says:

        Sorry for the typos above. I have one of those auto-correct programs on my computer, and sometimes it makes words up or screws with my spelling.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        Mooser, this is a personal demon that has arisen within me of late. I want so badly for as many people as possible to know about Israel and Zionism, but I obviously don’t want the backlash of which you speak.

        Is it possible to educate on the difference between Zionism and Judaism while simultaneously educating on the danger of Zionism and Israel?

        I fear that the latter is going to make itself known, and not in a peaceful manner, before the former is properly understood.

      • MRW says:

        Dan and D.., I dont think it will be an anti-semitism that arises like a hatred of Jews in particular. But it will be something that starts like “those fucking Jews” just as the current culprits are “fucking Wall Street” or “fucking bankers.” If you think for one moment someone is going to get all PC about the distinction of saying Israelis vs. Jews when Netanyahu beat his chest that Israel is a Jewish state at the UN, you’ve got another thing coming.

        I’ve met people who refer to “the Jews” all the time, and they are not anti-semitic. They use words like “nigger” and “fags” because it’s entertaining to their ear, they’re not educated, and that’s what they’ve said forever. They dont give a shit about the word, it’s the action that counts. But that will open the door to all the other snakes in the grass to come out with their venom. In this country.

        Other countries are not so restricted. When people refer to “the Jews” with distaste in their political at-home or private discussions, they are specifically referring to the Israelis. It’s really shocking to an American ear to hear highly educated and extremely prosperous and intelligent foreigners speak bluntly in their home countries of the I/P situation and the mess in the ME, and any attempt to recast the terminology is met with utter derision. Israel does not have a lot of support around the world, from the Pacific Rim to Latin America to Australia and Europe. And it’s not because of “Jews,” it’s because of Israel’s actions. Their leaders are unsophisticated about what it takes to be a country.

      • MRW says:

        Moose, great observation.

        I should sleep safe and happy, because I know that any anti-Semitism in America is always exceeded by mis-information and prejudice towards Muslims. Look how far we have come.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        I think so, Dan. It was a lesson I was able to learn, and there are plenty of Jewish Americans — Noam Chomsky, Medea Benjamin, Norman Finkelstein, to name a few, and organizations like Jews for Justice — who are already teaching it.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        I’ve met people who refer to “the Jews” all the time, and they are not anti-semitic. They use words like “nigger” and “fags” because it’s entertaining to their ear, they’re not educated, and that’s what they’ve said forever. They dont give a shit about the word, it’s the action that counts.

        I know educated people who do the same. Yes, some I call friends. I am grateful for the way you described it, because I have often searched for a way to describe the manner with which they use the derogatory terms. They don’t use them in a hateful manner, rather because “it’s entertaining to their ear,” as you so aptly said.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        Oops. The second paragraph was not supposed to be in italics.

      • Dan Kelly says:

        Do you think Noam Chomsky is teaching it, Chaos? I don’t read much Chomsky anymore, but I used to read him religiously, and he rarely ever mentioned Zionism, apart from assuring his audience that he was a “labor Zionist” as a youth.

        I would mention names such as Gilad Atzmon and Jeffrey Blankfort, and Uri Avnery, though he doesn’t describe himself as anti-Zionist (maybe post-Zionist?)

      • Chaos4700 says:

        With regards to the first part, Dan: there is actually a very specific part of the brain where “forbidden” words are stored. A word that’s classified as taboo isn’t treated the same way as the vast majority of words, by the human brain. That’s what gives curse words — and racial epithets — that power. There is literally a fundamentally different neurological reaction when you hear (or use) such words.

        With regards to the second: Noam Chomsky has been much more outspoken about Israel nowadays… and as a result, perhaps naturally given the structure of American politics and society, he has lately been pushed to the margins.

      • Citizen says:

        Dan Kelly: “Now, I am Jewish and I am also a Latino man living in California–a state where we have a pluralistic demographic composition: not one group, not even non-Latino whites, amount to 50% of the population.”

        Dan Kelly: “It’s even been suggested that wholesale antisemitism may arise.
        I don’t see it. I don’t think enough Americans know that these wars (Iraq and potentially Iran, Afghanistan to a lesser, but still notable, extent) are fought primarily in Israel’s interest. I think the propaganda that “they are a threat to us and the world” is embedded in enough of the populace to override any suggestions that Israel and its supporters are the culprits.”

        My son lives and works in LA–His students and best friends are nearly all Latinos; he lives in a neighborhood where the local cops stop you in your car if you look white. What are you doing here? So I get regular feed back from him. Further, I will add that just as I learned in law school, as a practical matter , in terms of evolving domestic law, California is the bell-weather state, I would add now, so too, California is a bell-weather economic state. Tale a look at it. Given all that , my question to Dan Kelly is: Is your conclusion (by implication) that most Americans are manipulated by the MSM and stink tanks, and by our whore main political party leaders, to believe in conflation of USA and Israel interests–is that good for the USA as a whole? Is it good for Israel? Is it good for the world? Personally, I think not.

      • Mooser says:

        “I’ve met people who refer to “the Jews” all the time, and they are not anti-semitic. They use words like “nigger” and “fags” because it’s entertaining to their ear, they’re not educated, and that’s what they’ve said forever. They dont give a shit about the word, it’s the action that counts.”

        You got that backwards. Anotherwords, the entire sacrifice they have to make to participate in civil rights, to help equal rights, is simply to mopdify their language a little and they can’t even do that? Screw that, and screw them.

      • Mooser says:

        “Is it possible to educate on the difference between Zionism and Judaism while simultaneously educating on the danger of Zionism and Israel?”

        Depends on who you are talking to, doesn’t it? If a person doesn’t think that colonialism, exploitation, racism and racist societies and legal systems are wrong, then the only thing wrong with Zionism is that the Jews are doing it.

      • MRW says:

        Mooser,

        “You got that backwards. Anotherwords, the entire sacrifice they have to make to participate in civil rights, to help equal rights, is simply to mopdify their language a little and they can’t even do that? Screw that, and screw them.”

        That’s your urbane, sensitized self talking, hip to civil rights participation, which the people I am talking about did not engage in. I said they were uneducated. Maybe “entertaining to the ear” jarred you, as if they were redneck comics playing to the crowd. That’s not what I meant, and I certainly did not mean a jejune and blanket whitewash of the usage. I said: I’ve met people whose usage of those terms did not portend what more sophisticated listeners would take away. I’ve heard genuine outrage expressed against the harm done people because they were minorities, even with these epithets. I’ve got a good ear for intolerance, especially lethal prejudicial intolerance, lurking under the surface of words, whether that comes wrapped in the language of a Harvard cap and gown, or is carelessly tossed on under a pair of overalls.

      • Mooser says:

        “If a person doesn’t think that colonialism, exploitation, racism and racist societies and legal systems are wrong, then the only thing wrong with Zionism is that the Jews are doing it. ”

        Actually, sir, there are a whole lot of (non-Jewish) people in the US who do think that colonialism, exploitation, racism and racist societies and legal systems are wrong and that the only thing right with Zionism is that the Jews are doing it. I know more than a few of these people.

      • MRW says:

        “I’ve met people whose usage of those terms did not portend what more sophisticated listeners would take away.”

        MRW is right; prohibited “slur” words in the speech of the uneducated don’t mean much in themselves. One has to listen with a good ear to the context. Of course, a sophisticated person like Mooser, who has spent no time with them, could not be expected to know this. But it’s a good thing to keep in mind when trying to gauge the extent of prejudice.

  12. MRW says:

    I’m going to be out of radio contact for a while, but I am dying to read Shmuel’s take on all this.

    • Shmuel says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, MRW. I’m also going to be out of touch for a while – at least until tomorrow afternoon (CET). Are you referring to Adam’s post or the comment thread?

      • MRW says:

        I was referring to Adam’s post but the comments might amplify parts of it. I just wanted your take on it. Same old same old? Or not?

  13. Pingback: Zionist myths spread wide at J Street | Antony Loewenstein

  14. bigbill says:

    Gentlemen, it’s not that anti-Semites are going to come out of the woodwork in America, it is that they and a hundred million other Americans are going to realize that extinction is their future unless they start acting like Israelis, Chinese, Indians and Mexicans in pushing for their own race and nation. They will look to Jewish actions in Judea and Samaria for effective ways to purify and cleanse Postville, Iowa. And why shouldn’t they? Shouldn’t we white folks follow the example of our Jewish, Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters in their own homelands?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Maybe because technically, we white folks aren’t technically in our homelands, per se? I’d kind of like to give you the benefit of the doubt and presume that you were taking poetic license here, but the fact that I can’t be sure makes my skin crawl.

      • potsherd says:

        Adjust the irony detector, Chaos.

      • Citizen says:

        I am guessing that bigbill is voicing concern that although many Americans have
        learned from the lessons of the Civil
        War (where how many whites died?), and the lessons of Reconstruction, and the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement, and the current PC culture, all those lessons
        may be cast aside due to a double standard that actually does have impact on real lives–his concern is not so different than the content inherent in the question,
        does “never again!” refer to all humans, or only select humans? He refers to
        Postville, Iowa. That situation is worthy of analysis itself, never pursued on this blog, and I dare say, it has overtones with the Israeli settlers. It’s not all poetry–
        so, I guess, Chaos, what precisely is it that makes your skin crawl?

    • marc b. says:

      BB, surely you are trying to be ironic? If not, piss off. The ideal of racial or genetic purity is the excuse for mass murder. We Americans have already had our grand cleansing. And as a great civilization, you only get one genocide per foundational endeavor. That is what the Israelis are kvetching on about: “We are a great civilization! Really, we are! We invented humous and baklava. We deserve, no, we demand our genocide.” If the concept is so appealing, you can emigrate to the Chosen Land. Word on the street is that they are not as discriminating as they used to be, what with the demographic crisis and all.

    • MRW says:

      Bigbill,

      I’ll grant the irony underneath your comments because in times of national peril (or pride) since WWII, Americans have never divided or united under color or nationality. Never. The Korean war, Kruschchev banging his shoe, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the death of Kennedy, the death of Robert F. Kennedy, the landing on the moon, the Nixon resignation, the Vietnam War, the economic crisis in 1982, the Begin/Sadat/Carter agreement, the shooting of Ronald Reagan (and the attempt against Ford before him), the Challenger disaster, Black Monday, the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, 9/11, the Bush wars, Katrina, the Tsunami, etc etc.

      In times of national peril, we have always circled the wagons around the perimeter of the country, and everyone is an American, just like our most religious national holiday: Thanksgiving. [Blame on the part of our leaders comes later.] 9/11, in particular, ought to underscore that. You couldn’t even whisper a perceived anti-American thought without the national knives coming out. And the genius of people like Pipes and Kagan and Ledeen and Kristol was to siphon off some of that political yum-yum for their cause by inventing Islamofascism and a history for it. Had there been WMD and aluminum tubes and proof of a looming mushroom cloud in the sky, it would have stuck.

      So if a foreign country that we’ve supported financially for 60 years takes a pre-emptive nuclear action that will benefit it alone, but harm us, and seriously endanger the financial and national security of 98% 0f the citizens of this country, the wagons will circle again. I dont give a shit if that country is France, South Africa, Indonesia, or Israel. Look what we did to our language with French Fries when France didn’t support our Iraq War foray, when France sneered at us. [While I thought Freedom Fries was stupid, it happened. I also thought it stupid that Bill Maher lost his job for daring to suggest that perhaps we brought this on ourselves.] Americans get jingoistic under siege. All I’m saying is that the terms ‘Jew’ and ‘Israeli’ will be interchangeable with all the consequences that will entail for those who are here. And there just aren’t enough Jews in the USA, rich or not, powerful or not, to stem that tide.

      • Citizen says:

        MRW, bigbill said nothing inconsistent with your response that I can see. He foretold you conclusion, or at least warned of it.

      • MRW says:

        Addendum.

        Spare me the Nomi-like argument that Israelis get just as jingoistic when they are under siege from Palestinian rockets into Sderot. That’s bitching about inch 10 on a 12-inch ruler of the history of the occupation and strife. You can’t carve it out that way. You can’t roll up with arguments that 3 Israelis died from a bomb pitched into a disco in 2003, and ‘who can be expected to live like that’.

        The point is we have 300+ million people, all nationalities, all religions, and our basic rights allow for that by law, not by promising it. That becomes an exponential force of nature when a population that size gets riled, especially when people have lost their jobs and homes, or are under threat of it.

      • MRW says:

        Citizen, my addendum was not to you. Just wanted to be clear about that. Just anticipating Nomi waking up and pasting in long Pyjamas Media diatribes. :-)

      • Citizen says:

        Frontline had an excellent one hour documentary on the plight of the average USA citizen now; they give you their experiences, one by one, from a hair salon
        in NYC, and you also get the salon/barbershop’s owner’s angst at the end regarding
        how average Americans are coping with the current economic crisis. This is huge.
        The interplay of our domestic and foreign policy is slowly coming into focus–
        it’s as if we were living in Weimar Germany, even though most Americans never even heard of “the Weimar Era.”

        Fifty years from now, perhaps we will have a new Hollywoood film, Cabaret 2?

      • Citizen says:

        MRW, OK. I am really concerned because no group of people will allow the wool to be pulled over their eyes forever….

      • MRW says:

        Citizen,

        I’m traveling and should have left hours ago, when I said I would, to get back to the US, but feeling under the weather…nephew has swine flu and I was around him the day before it blossomed. …….er……… so I need sleep.

        I really wanted to see that Frontline show. I got an email notice about it. Sounded fascinating because it concentrated on the Upper East Side (UES) of NYC, where the filmmaker originally thought the devastation couldn’t hit. Of course, the UES is full of services for the rich, and they are immediately affected by the diminished finances of their clients. Hope I can catch it when I get back.

  15. pabelmont says:

    What’s in a name? And what’s in an official agenda? Will J-Street allow itself to change its agenda in response to the expressed views of its membership at the conference? Or will it hold to a more authoritarian line?

    If J-Street can become a truly Pro-Palestinian-Human-Rights group, its leadership’s defensive wearing of an “I Love Israel” button probably won’t matter and might even be a plus, making the group “safe” for wavering Jewish progressives. If not, there will have to be a new group, (“P-Street” ?) which can take over a large part of the membership of J-Street by exchanging J-Street’s little “I Love Israel” button for a great big “[I am a Jew and] I Defend Palestinians” button.

    The J-Street convention seems to have been a wonderful opening-up event for the attendees, irrespective of the limited (and intended to be limiting) world-view of the J-Street leadership. The convention seems to have been a real “empowerment” event for those who were able to put aside the (for themselves) false attitudes usually required to be expressed in many Jewish contexts and, instead, actually to shout from the rooftops their own elsewhere-usually-repressed-attitudes. Anyone who loves freedom had to love this aspect of the conference.

    We must hope that the leadership of J-Street can both “get the message” of the conferees and adopt it at least enough to allow open and honest discussion of the pro-Palestinian-Human-Rights “message” among the wider membership of J-street. We must hope that J-Street set itself up AS a limited-viewpoint in order to gather a membership which would transform the leadership through a conference such as this. If this is not what happens, there is always “P-Street” just a few blocks away.

    • Citizen says:

      Sorry, I didn’t yet hear from Phil or Adam that the selected speakers (e.g., Indyk) may have actually
      absorbed their audience’s response–or even if the audience was allowed to
      respond. At this point, with lack of such information, the conference seems to me like a renegade Anglican Church meeting not rebelling much at all.
      Still, it’s better than nothing, and hope springs eternal–oops, not sure if that’s
      a good sign now that Obama’s been if the orifice for quite a few months now….

    • Citizen says:

      Sorry, I didn’t yet hear from Phil or Adam that the selected speakers (e.g., Indyk) may have actually
      absorbed their audience’s response–or even if the audience was allowed to
      respond. At this point, with lack of such information, the conference seems to me like a renegade Anglican Church meeting not rebelling much at all.
      Still, it’s better than nothing, and hope springs eternal–oops, not sure if that’s
      a good sign now that Obama’s been if the orifice for quite a few months now….

    • “If not, there will have to be a new group, (”P-Street” ?) which can take over a large part of the membership of J-Street by exchanging J-Street’s little “I Love Israel” button for a great big “[I am a Jew and] I Defend Palestinians” button.”

      What about all the non-Jews? Do they organize independently, in your view?

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  17. johd says:

    J Street reminds me about what someone once said about washing clothes in cold water; you only end up with cleaner germs. J Street is merely J wash. This is not “unprecedented”, it is routine for the “Jewish Community” to “reform” itself. It is survival 101.

  18. Citizen says:

    I guess my qustion, johd, is then where do we go for USA Survival 101? Since the Jewish people as a group have surivived, more or less intact, for more centuries than any other, regardless of the form taken, and whether or not that group had land and military arms, what can all
    Americans, the “proposition nation” first in the world, learn here? Wait, is that what Bigbill was talking about?

    • Mooser says:

      Since the Jewish people as a group have surivived, more or less intact, for more centuries than any other, regardless of the form taken, and whether or not that group had land and military arms, what can all”

      Excuse me? Say Citizen, how was this intact group organised? What country had it’s headquarters? How did it communicate with its members? How did it arrive at, modify and then enforce policy?
      Anotherwords, what the fuck are you talking about? Can you supply the slightest bit of substantiation for any of this crap?
      Or are you just gonna fall back on “everybody knows it’s true?

      • Mooser says:

        You know what you are, Citizen? A schlamzel. Do you know what that is? My Dad told me about it, and he said “A schlemiel walks through a forest, and the trees fall down, and a schlamazel follows him, and the trees land on the schlamazel

      • The moral of the story: Schlemiels are a disaster for everyone, including the environment. (Who are these guys?)

      • Citizen says:

        Mooser, you never heard or read about the survival of the Jewish people? Go to any library and pick up a book on the subject–you’ll find the selection huge.

      • Citizen says:

        Mooser, I’m sure your father was trying to get across to you that you are a schlamazel. Obviously, you never got his point. Instead, you’ve clung to your own point all these many years–the one atop your head.

  19. There seem to me to be two primary short term issues regarding Israel at present: 1. the threat of an Israeli or an American preemptive attack on Iran and 2. the allure of the possibility of a peace deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

    Regarding the issue of Iran: the predominant attitude on this web site is not only against a preemptive attack, but also against sanctions and general apathy regarding the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon capacity.

    J street’s opposition to sanctions seems to agree with the opposition on this site.
    Both J street and this site are to the left of Obama on this issue.

    On the issue of Palestinian Israeli peace J street is very clearly aligned with the Geneva “Accord” of Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabo. Obama’s thinking is also aligned with this thinking. The predominant thinking of this site is to the left of this.

    One might say that J street is running block for Obama specifically on the Palestine Israel peace issue. Given the rightward pull of the Israeli electorate, the tendency to defer to the Israeli voter is the first impulse of AIPAC and thus of Congress. J Street is attempting to help Obama in the eventual pressure that he will have to put on Israel to accomplish sufficient Israeli concessions which will be resisted by the majority of the Israeli voters.

    The desire of the people on this web site (and in the crowd at the J street convention) for a position to the left of this is understandable, but unrealistic in the short term.

    Obama’s chances of success in his first term are minimal. If he wins a second term, his chances of success improve, but are still less than 50-50. (I’d say somewhere between one in four to one in twelve.) So the time frame for the political aspirations expressed on this web site are for 2017 after Obama fails to deliver.

    • Mooser says:

      “Given the rightward pull of the Israeli electorate,”

      Look I don’t want to shock you or spoil your ziocaine high, but the Israelis do not vote in American elections. I know, wondering, unbelievable, but it’s true.

    • Dan Kelly says:

      The simplistic “left-right” paradigm should be abandoned when talking about this issue. It should be abandoned entirely, but especially in light of the I/P conflict and war in general. It doesn’t account for the strong role the “Libertarian right” plays in antiwar, anti-interventionist thinking. They are marginalized in the mainstream, but they are very active politically.

  20. Mooser says:

    “The desire of the people on this web site (and in the crowd at the J street convention) for a position to the left of this is understandable, but unrealistic in the short term”

    You are beyond stupid, wondering! All we have to do is nothing, and Israel will drown in a bucket of its own poison. Are you trying to take the position that, except for the Palestinians, Israel will be just fine?

    • It’s difficult to discern if you’re asking a question or just taunting. I assume it’s just taunting.

      • potsherd says:

        I consider this a most serious question. What most Israelis want from the US is to do nothing to stop them in their landgrabbing and warmaking. “Leave Israel Alone!” as one talkbacker said. (but keep sending money)

        What AIPAC wants from the US is to do nothing to stop Israel in its landgrabbing and warmaking – in fact to support these activities.

        Now, if we assume that Israel is headed down the path to self-destruction, is doing nothing and leaving Israel to its own devices the path that you want to take? When you see a toddler running into the traffic, do you let it go, because you can’t bring yourself to thwart its desires out of some false notion of support?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        You have to understand, Mooser, for WJ there is no distinction between asking a question and taunting. Explains a lot about about his the guy’s posting style, doesn’t it?

      • potsherd – I have (reluctantly) backed a two state solution for a long time. (Reluctantly- because I believe that it will lead to loss of life. I hope it will lead to less loss of life than the other possibilities. I hope and think in the long run, it is the best choice of the available choices .) AIPAC’s line of thought is that Israel’s voting public knows what is best for itself. You assume that AIPAC is wrong. Your analogy demonstrates what you think of AIPAC’s choice.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        “Reluctantly- because I believe that it will lead to loss of life.”

        You mean because you believe it will lead to the loss of Jewish life, apparently. You apparently couldn’t care less about the loss of Palestinian life as things stand right now.

      • chaos- The nature of warfare is to care more about one’s own sides’s lives than about the adversary’s. To harden one’s heart against the suffering of the adversary is dangerous and though I do not demonstrate in the streets, I try to maintain a bleeding heart.

        The current situation is unstable. Peace will increase that instability certainly for an interim period and people will die on both sides.

      • potsherd says:

        WJ – my analogy doesn’t actually describe how I consider the Israeli electorate. I consider them not infantile but delusional.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        “The nature of warfare is to care more about one’s own sides’s lives than about the adversary’s”

        And which side chooses war, WJ? Look at the statistics at who is dying, who has the military budget and who is having their land taken from them. Who is choosing war, WJ? Who is inflicting this on the world?

      • Answer- the Zionists chose war, when they decided it was the lesser of two evils. That the evil of accepting passivity was worse than the evil of taking up arms to end the depradations of powerlessness.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        What was the other evil? The crematoriums and death camps were in Nazi Germany, WJ, not in the Middle East.

      • The only logical place for a Jewish homeland/state was in the ancient homeland.

      • potsherd says:

        WJ – Palestine was so far from being “the only logical place” for Jewish state that the early Zionists seriously explored several other possibilities. But their fundamental assumption was the right of Europeans to expropriate the land of other peoples for their colonies.

        I believe that the evils that are now corrupting Israel would have been greatly minimized if the Zionists had chosen any other piece of land, which would not have given rise to fanatical associations and claims of divine right.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        The problem is that the land there isn’t exclusive the homeland of the Jews (and it isn’t really even that when one takes a critical eye as Shlomo Sand has, but that’s another discussion). It is the homeland of the Palestinians as well.

        The only “evil” you are describing of the Palestinians is that they’re even alive. Remind me again how Zionism is absolutely nothing like Nazism?

      • potsherd- The other proposed homelands were proposals for refuges rather than homelands and they were ultimately rejected because they were not logical homelands but rather refuges.

      • potsherd says:

        WJ – that is not my own reading of the history. Unless you are using the word “homeland” in some perverse sense that includes only Palestine.

        At any rate, it was a bad idea and should never have been done.

  21. MRW says:

    I have a question: why dont the Zionists start their own party?

    • MRW says:

      Let’s see how far Zionists get if they had to come out in the open and campaign for use of the American treasury and military for Israel’s advantage.

      • Citizen says:

        AIPAC was once formally a declared Zionist organization; during the JFK times there was a big issue when an attempt was made to catagorize it, to make it register as a foreign agency; so the name was changed, as was the method by which it bought support for its (unchanged) agenda.

      • The predecessor organization of AIPAC in those days was funded directly by the Israeli government. It was in all particulars an agent of the Israeli government, as defined in the Foreign Agent Registration Act. That was back in the good old days when Zionism was still rather weak in the American Jewish community and the Lobby was not yet lavishly self-supporting.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Why would they have to? They already own two — the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party. Buying off a third one would just be vulgar.

      • potsherd says:

        Like, say, this clown?

        Israel may strike Iran should the United States fail to take prompt action to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, Rep. Dan Burton said Wednesday.

        Speaking at a session of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Burton warned that Iran continues to enrich uranium, adding that Israel will not allow the process to continue. The slower America acts, the more it risks the prospect of seeing a military clash in the Middle East, he said.

        link to ynetnews.com

        And, right on cue:

        WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, a bill targeting Tehran and the firms conducting energy business with the state.

        The bill – part of a larger effort to halt Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program – gives the Obama administration stronger powers to sanction companies that provide Iran with gasoline, diesel and other refined petroleum fuels.

        The measure, which is co-signed by almost three quarters of the House membership, passed by a voice vote.

        Despite being one of the largest exporters of crude in the world, Iran imports a major portion of its gasoline needs due to a dearth of refining capacity.

        Chairman Howard Berman, (D. Calif.), said the bill will “maximize the chances that Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism, will be prevented from acquiring the capacity to produce nuclear arms.”

        “That capacity would pose perhaps the most serious strategic threat to our nation,” he said.

        “It will, at least, force the Iranians to think twice about continuing to flout the will of the international community,” Berman added.

        link to online.wsj.com

        J Street’s influence seems to be so far nonexistent.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        How long do you suppose it will take for Iran to either buy into its own refining capacities or — better still — collaborate with other OPEC countries to build up refining capacity that short circuits around the US?

        Incidentally, that’s what this is really about — Iran’s nuclear program is more about energy independence than about weapons capabilities. And we — the West — want countries like Iran to merely be raw materials providers, dependent on us for refined products and energy production and other sundries which can aptly be summarized as the “white man’s burden.”

      • potsherd says:

        The US currently has excess refining capacity – we could send them a spare refinery or two. If Iran were smarter, it would have concentrated first on refining capacity and put off the nukes until they were on more stable economic grounds.

        Interestingly, Iraq has now indicated that it wants to resume nuclear production, famously interrupted by Israel.

      • MRW says:

        But the problem with the current setup, chaos, is that the Zionists only have to appeal to 535 people to get their way: it’s hidden, it’s not transparent, and it’s based on knowing 535 sets of peccadillos to take advantage of, or blackmail.

        Let’s see them make their arguments to 150 million voters. Let’s see them spend their cash getting those votes. Right now only the cognoscenti deal with this.

      • potsherd says:

        No, apparently J Street approves of Berman and his sanctions. It’s far worse than I had supposed.

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  23. RE: “It was large and impressive, but did not have the ostentatious sense of stage production and drama that AIPAC displays”

    SEE AIPAC PHOTO AT – link to facebook.com

    OBAMA AT AIPAC, 2008 – link to facebook.com

    P.S. The “ostentatious sense of stage production” shown in the first photo really creeps me out. But then, I’ve never been to Vegas; nor do I care to go!

  24. Adam writes:

    “Finally, there is a more fundamental question …. where does this leave other Americans concerned with its country’s foreign policy? … Ben-Ami ended the opening evening by saying the movement J Street is a part of is a ‘movement rooted in love of Israel,’ and while all are welcomed to join J Street in its work, ‘the heart of this movement has to be in the Jewish community.’”

    Adam concludes: “But, the tenor and message of the J Street conference would seem to indicate that the struggle to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be lead by Jews, after we conquer our own internal issues to reform our community, and on our agenda. Meanwhile, Palestinians will have to continue to catch the brunt of the Israel everyone loves so much.”

    I fundamentally disagree. If J Street is any indication, the essential tasks of freeing the Palestinians and US Mideast policy from Israeli control cannot be left in the hands of American Jews alone.

    There will need to be another non-Jewish (or at least non-ethnic) political action organization established. Call it, say, A Street (A for “All”).

    A Street will be decidedly non-Zionist (anti-Zionists welcome) and strictly non-antisemitic (Jews welcome in leadership and rank-and-file; many Jews will leave J Street for A Street). A Street’s charter will explicitly avow devotion to US national interests and disavow devotion to any foreign nation. It will declare support for egalitarian democratic principles applied equally to Jews and non-Jews in Israel/Palestine. It will consult closely and continually with Palestinian leaders and progressive elements within Israel to decide what kind of peace effort and what kind of final status the organization should support. It will lobby Congress and the Administration in pursuit of its goals.

    A Street will operate explicitly in opposition to AIPAC. It will in no sense be an agent or a lobby for a foreign government. It will work to end the “special relationship” with Israel.

    A Street will succeed where J Street fails.

    • potsherd says:

      All you need is a billionaire.

    • Of course, there will be massive resistance to A Street, both overt and covert. Moneybags, beltway power brokers, and establishment foreign policy types will join together in an effort to crush it.

      The organized Jewish community will fight it tooth and nail, fearing the worst. There could even be non-Jewish, non-Zionist individuals appearing on TV discussing US foreign policy.

      Ostensibly, Jewish resistance to a non-ethnic A Street will center on (spurious) fears of increased antisemitism in the general population. But, more substantially, the concern will be about loss of control over what Adam called their “agenda”.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Color me cynical, paranoid or whatnot, but what’s going to happen before any sort of “A Street” movement gets off the ground is the US economy is going to implode. Nothing has been done to fix the fundamental problems — Obama and his predecessor pretended to be taking the knife out of our flesh when in fact all they’ve done is push it in deeper.

        The forces that be are preserving a status quo that cannot survive indefinitely.

        I fear what’s going to result from that. It doesn’t have to end in ultimate catastrophe but I can’t imagine it won’t be painful, either.

      • Citizen says:

        Chaos, I think you are right–the same guys that got us into this economic mess are in charge of getting us out of it—Obama has made the required delegations and assignments–should be fun watching it all implode for those few who have secure jobs
        and assets and income and/or (the very few) fairly immune investment vehicles and packages. If Israel and/or the USA attack Iran, now that spell the doom
        of the USA as a first class contender….

  25. Todd says:

    A-Street, that’s a great idea! I don’t know if it could get off the ground, but it would be fun to watch.

    BTW, CNN is reporting a shooting at an LA synagogue. Let the fun begin! I guess I should mention that there were no serious injuries.

    • potsherd says:

      Some Likud MK says it was the result of the Goldstone report, which appears to be unfounded.

      There is also a study showing that anti-Semitism in the US is a an all-time low.

      • Citizen says:

        Yeah, here’s an article on the study/poll:
        link to haaretz.com
        It uses the ADL’s index on what constitutes anti-semitism.
        Using that index (where can we read it?), the study concludes that
        30% of the public has been anti-semitic since 1964, regardless of the
        huge change in the USA’s demography over all those years, and that
        blacks are the most anti-semitic.

      • Citizen says:

        Oops, I read & posted too fast–here’ a couple of snips:
        Foxman said in a statement. “We can’t dismiss that 12 percent of the American people means that there are still over 30 million Americans that hold anti-Semitic views.”

        When the poll was first conducted in 1964, it found 29 percent of Americans held anti-Semitic views.

        The telephone survey of 1,200 adults, conducted between September 26 and October 4, showed men were more likely to hold anti-Semitic views than women, and that anti-Semitic tendencies among black Americans were higher than among the rest of the population.
        “Remarkably, since 1964, approximately 30 percent of Americans have consistently believed that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America even though the makeup of the U.S. population has changed dramatically,” the survey said.

        The logic of these snips seems faulty, no?
        It would also be nice to know how they decided who to poll, and where they lived, no?

        See:
        link to news.yahoo.com

      • Citizen says:

        Well, here’s the ADL’s (and therefore Uncle Sam’s) anti-semitism index used in polling (again, how are the people polled selected?)
        1 Jews stick together more than other Americans.
        2 Jews always like to be at the head of things.
        3 Jews are more loyal to Israel than America. Jews have too much power in the U.S. today.
        4 Jews have too much control and influence on Wall Street.
        5 Jews have too much power in the business world.
        6 Jews have a lot of irritating faults.
        7 Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what
        8 they want.
        9 Jewish businesspeople are so shrewd that others don’t have a fair
        10 chance at competition.
        11 Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.
        12 Jews are not just as honest as other businesspeople.

        Inter alia, re the monitors’ interpretation of the poll results: “In the survey, the 11 “anti-Semitic” statements are camouflaged by other “positive and neutral” statements about Jews, responses that the ADL ignores when compiling its anti-Semitism index.

        link to fpp.co.uk

      • Citizen says:

        Marttila Communications conducted the survey by telephone, of 1747 adults. The base sample is 1200, plus an “oversample” of 256 blacks and 250 Hispanics “bringing the oversample
        for both communities to 400 each.” You can judge whether this methodology skews the results
        trumpeted and warned about:
        link to adl.org

      • Citizen says:

        I have not been able to find how the Poll company hired by ADL picks its base
        poll respondants, but here’s a sample of some either/or type poll questions they asked about OP Cast Lead:
        link to 74.125.47.132

  26. Citizen says:

    Now, here’s the Reuters press syndicate’s spin on the same poll; note how it says
    the results heavily suggests Average Americans are gung-ho to take on Iran. And I still don’t know the poll questions asked about this aspect of “anti-semitism.” Rueters just seems to conflate anti-semitism with anti-Israeli policy:

    link to reuters.com

    • Thanks, Citizen. I’m gonna go out on a limb and apply the ADL anti-Semitism test to myself. I’m probably outing myself as a rabid anti-Semite here, but here goes:

      Jews stick together more than other Americans.

      Isn’t that the definition of tribalism?

      Jews always like to be at the head of things.

      Like all humans?

      Jews are more loyal to Israel than America.

      Many aren’t nationalistic at all about America, yet are about Israel.

      Jews have too much power in the U.S. today.

      Zionists have way too much power in the U.S. media and government.

      Jews have too much control and influence on Wall Street.

      Tribal networking is probably among the least of Wall Street’s problems.

      Jews have too much power in the business world.

      Men have too much power in the business world. I imagine some of them are Jewish.

      Jews have a lot of irritating faults.

      As do I.

      Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want.

      Not in places where the law is applied equally to all.

      Jewish businesspeople are so shrewd that others don’t have a fair chance at competition.

      Sometimes tribal networking probably tilts the field; Jews are not the only ones who do that, though.

      Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.

      Is that statement good for the Jews?

      Jews are not just as honest as other businesspeople.

      Businesspeople are honest?

      Anyone else want to give it a try?

      • It would seem that my score might be a bit lower than yours, but I find it impossible to think of myself as antisemitic because I have or feel no discernible antipathy toward Jews. Isn’t that logically a requirement?

      • Citizen says:

        Who reveals discernible antipathy here:
        “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest… it’s not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

  27. Citizen says:

    Now here’s the Hagee end timer crowd sucking off the cherry picking and manipulating Marttila Communications poll to ironically quote Poe’s raven, so that it turns Nevermore into Evermore (Israel First), and Never Again, into Again and Again:

    link to commandtheraven.com

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