Nicholas Kristof has a column in the Times praising J Street as an antidote to the Israel lobby and warning that the two-state solution is slipping away. He sees J Street as bringing “balance” to our discourse, and calls Jewish Voice for Peace a “leftist group.” The piece is remarkable for its flat rendition of the totalitarian state of the discourse on Israel/Palestine, but stops short of a deeper understanding. But it also reveals the new liberal consensus: We have to take on the Israel lobby to bring about the two-state solution, in Obama’s second term. We will politicize the issue, somewhat, so that Obama will feel he has political capital to push Israel…. I don’t think it will mean anything in the end, but the piece is still a step forward for the mainstream. Kristof excerpts:
[T]he American House of Representatives voted 407 to 6 to call on the Obama administration to use its diplomatic capital to try to block the [Palestinian statehood] initiative, while also threatening to cut the Palestinians’ funding if they proceeded to seek statehood.
Similarly, when Israel stormed into Gaza in 2008 to halt rocket attacks, more than 1,300 Gazans were killed, along with 13 Israelis, according to B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights group. As Gazan blood flowed, the House, by a vote of 390 to 5, hailed the invasion as “Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Such Congressional tomfoolery bewilders our friends and fritters away our international capital. It also encourages the intransigence of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reduces the chance of a peace settlement.
In the last few years, a former government official named Jeremy Ben-Ami has been trying to change the political dynamic in Washington with a new organization…Ben-Ami argues that “the loudest eight percent” have hijacked Jewish groups to press for policies that represent neither the Jewish mainstream nor the best interests of Israel.Some see this influence of Jewish organizations on foreign policy as unique and sinister, but Congress often surrenders to loudmouths…