‘I didn’t say I liked Beinart’s book’ — J Street head sells his star guest out to his antagonist, Goldberg

on 63 Comments
Jeremy Ben Ami
Jeremy Ben-Ami

I don’t understand this. This weekend J Street, the supposed alternative to the rightwing Israel lobby, is having its annual conference in Washington and Peter Beinart is going to be the star attraction. Beinart the author of the forthcoming, Crisis of Zionism. And all this week, Beinart has been getting hammered by the Jewish right because he’s come out, bravely, for a boycott of settlements. The right hates Beinart. They are going wild smearing him. And Jeffrey Goldberg, the former corporal in the Israeli army, has led the charge. He has been trying to eviscerate Beinart in one post after another online, accusing him “of errors, omissions, bigotry and ignorance” (per Sullivan). And so what happens–

The head of J Street gives an interview to Goldberg and basically tosses Beinart under the bus!!

Beinart, the star attraction, the guy who liberal Zionist kids put his face on t-shirts saying Beinart’s Army, the one person who has actually tried to break with the rightwing Zionist movement — and J Street’s Ben-Ami sells him out to his greatest antagonist and kisses up to the right! Says that you can’t pressure Israel, and we’ll never ever cut aid to Israel.

JG: But you publicly disagreed with his op-ed in which he called for a boycott of products made in settlements. Why do you disagree with it?

JB: Because I don’t think that it makes any sense to put negative pressure on people whose behavior you hope to change. I think that the way that Israelis will feel comfortable making the compromises and the sacrifices–and Israel as a whole, not just the settlers –is when they really feel that not only American Jews, but the United States, is going to be there for them. I think if you begin to do things that say, “We’re not really with you, we’re against you, we’re putting pressure on you,” I think that causes people to pull more into a shell and pull back

JG: Under pressure they harden, they don’t soften.

JB: Yes.

JG: Can I extrapolate from this and say that J Street will never argue for a cutting of American aid to Israel, commensurate with the amount of money the Israeli government spends on settlements and roads to settlements and the like? In other words, would you ever go down the path of saying, we think that the best way to influence Israeli decision-making is to have the American government directly pressure Israel economically, or diplomatically?

JB: In four years, in the entire existence of J Street, we’ve made exactly this case: that you can’t use boycotts, you can’t threaten aid, you can’t use these kinds of forms of negative pressure. I think you’re right to extrapolate. It is all of a piece that these negative approaches to trying to get people to do something you want them to do, we’ve lumped them all together for four years and said, this doesn’t work.

What you need to do, I often call it positive pressure instead of negative pressure. Positive pressure means actually giving people hope and something to believe in again….
JG: How do you dislodge the settlers?

JB: The way that you overcome the mindset, which I think is the first step, is you actually present an agreement that, lo and behold, the world supports, and Palestinians would support, and you realize that, hey, we actually can get it. And that positive pressure to make that decision by creating a path to hope, a path to the future, gives you then the national political will and the national political consensus to make that very difficult move: to say to the settlers, it’s time to come home.

JG: What, in your view, is keeping this process from continuing, or accelerating? I read Peter Beinart’s book. He puts most of the blame on Israel. Do you agree?

JB: Well, I think there’s more than enough blame to go around across the board. 

I’d really like to know what J Street has to show for itself in the last four years? Has it done jack to stop the settlers? Beinart has actually done something to try and end the occupation.

But that was not enough for Goldberg. He returns to the Beinart book, a book that is supposed to “premiere” at J Street this weekend: The Crisis of Zionism: Premiere Book Event with Author Peter Beinart. Oh and this is on the schedule:

Book Signing: Peter Beinart, Gershom Gorenberg and Jeremy Ben-Ami

He comes back to the book and gets Ben-Ami to dis it:

JG: Come back to Peter  a little bit, because the criticism that I have of the book, the criticism that other people have of the book, is that it seems to blame Israelis and the American Jewish establishment for the impasse. It doesn’t seem to me to be an effective way of convincing the mainstream of American Jewry to move toward a position closer to your position. It’s kind of in the same ballpark as negative pressure. But what is it that you like about the book?

JB: I didn’t say that I liked the book. I said that I liked his analysis in the op-ed of what the problem is.

JG: No, but he’s the troubadour of your movement, your description.

JB: Right, that was before. I’m just saying his article from two years ago in The New York Review of Books, which laid out the failure of the American Jewish establishment and this notion that in order to be part of the Zionist movement you have to check your liberal values at the door: now that framework, I think, speaks deeply not just to the youn… etc

In fairness to Ben-Ami, this exposes the power of the rightwing inside the Jewish community. You can’t call yourself a Jewish organization and not have to kiss Jeffrey Goldberg’s well-padded assieds-toi. Even the so-called liberal is afraid to take the right on. No wonder he’s invited Ehud Olmert to speak at the conference.

No wonder that the only way we will make progress here is with a mixed coalition, in which Palestinians are treated as equals.

Last point. This interview more than any other demonstrates the efficacy of BDS. Look at the last exchange on Beinart, and the two men say in essence: “The problem with a boycott of the settlements, or of Israel as a whole, aimed at stopping the occupation is that it might achieve its intended effect.”

JB: We established at the beginning of the interview some of the tactical things that are too far. We don’t support, obviously, BDS, but also Peter’s conception of “Zionist BDS,” that that is either advisable, doable, or workable.

JG: Do you think that this would put you on a slippery slope toward full BDS?

JB: I think it’s very hard to make a clear line between what is “settlement business” and what is not. So many businesses do business on both sides of the Green Line. Very few things are simply, purely done on the other side of the Green Line.

JG: And isn’t it, of course, the Israeli government that subsidizes factory-building in settlements that then create products that are sold?

JB: Right.

JG: So then why are you blaming the factory? Shouldn’t you be blaming the guy who gave you the money to build the factory, which in this case is the Israeli government?

JB: The same issue comes up with divestment. Because if you divest from a company that produces a military product that is used in the occupation, that same company is probably producing a product that helps defend Israel from, let’s say, rockets. So if you’re saying you shouldn’t be supporting a truck company or a boot manufacturer, is that the boots of the soldiers who are going to defend Israel itself? It is a slippery slope and very hard to draw that line.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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63 Responses

  1. William Burns
    March 23, 2012, 2:52 pm

    “Because I don’t think that it makes any sense to put negative pressure on people whose behavior you hope to change.”

    Clearly not a philosophy that Goldberg thinks applicable to the Iranians.

    • Bill in Maryland
      March 23, 2012, 3:21 pm

      Great point William. Also from the interview: “JG: Under pressure they harden, they don’t soften.” Of course the Iranians, being a different species and all, wouldn’t similarly respond.

      • Citizen
        March 24, 2012, 7:07 am

        Yeah, Burns, Bill, that your comments mirror my first thoughts on this matter. And every AIPACer is all for the most severe economic sanctions on Iran imaginable–look at the net aggregate now in effect and going into effect in July against Iran. But I guess “U can’t do that to your own.” I don’t see Iranian Americans putting pressure on US WH or Congress against those sanctions, do you? I guess it depends on which group of foreigners we want to save from themselves either through regime change via US-forced economic implosion or direct bombing, or both?

        Don’t recall Dutch Americans getting upset about the BDS on apartheid S Africa either, do you?

    • Krauss
      March 23, 2012, 4:33 pm

      Phil, please don’t pretend that Beinart is hated by the right. He’s been attacked from all sides. The Forward did a recent editorial blasting him and his ideas. They only gave minor tepid support at the end along the lines of “we need to keep the discussion open”. They called him misguided.

      Gary Rosenblatt of the NY Jewish Week blasted him. The Jewish Book Review(!) even found space to blast him. Goldberg is, like it or not, the ‘liberal’ fig leaf of the Israel lobby.

      The attempted elimination of Peter Beinart – led by Goldberg(who else?) – has come from all sides. This isn’t a left/right issue. Basically nobody has come to his defence. And his suggestion is very tepid.

      This incident has exposed Liberal Zionism for the fraud that it is. And it also underscores a deeper truth that no matter what may divide them on domestic policy, on foreign policy there is only the AIPAC line and that’s it.

      The “liberal” Zionists like Goldberg or Gershon Gorenberg do three things:
      1. Complain about the Occupation to pretend to have a moral pathos.
      2. Attack the right-wing crazies to gain legitimacy among your own. You see Gorenberg only attacking Bibi and his Republican allies – as if the Occupation was a creation of Likud and not the leftist Labor.
      3. Whenever truly pressed, often from the left, lash out and say it’s all “too complicated” and it can’t be done. Goldberg’s attack on the BDS as ‘helping the settlers entrench their ideas’. Duh. Like the status quo is helping them disengage. The worst scenario is that nothing changes. That’s the worst part. Anything better than that will mean progress, no matter what economical impact.

      Action must always be delayed because of ‘nuance’. This is the essence of liberal Zionism. After gaining (or trying to gain) progressive credentials, the main goal is to cast doubt and delay and delay and delay. There’s always a reason for why we can’t and shouldn’t.

      And if all else fails go and play the anti-Semitism card. Goldberg recently called Sullivan a ‘scapegoater of Jews’ – and we know what that means. Beinart defended Sullivan on Twitter(which probably didn’t make Goldberg’s intense dislike and jealousy of Beinart any weaker).

      So in light of this, why should we be surprised that Beinart was thrown under the bus by Ben-Ami?

      Since J Street is filled with liberal Zionists, their organizational role is no different than the indivudal ‘liberal’ Zionist’s; namely, to gain progressive credentials but sabotage any real action by saying it’s too complicated, it can’t be done, it will encourage the wrong kind of people and so on and so on and so on.

      The role is the same. Liberal Zionism exists as a way to suffocate progressive critical debate. You use all kinds of delay tactics and ‘yes, but’ and ‘hmm, but unfortunately’ or ‘I wish that was the case, but the situation is much more complex than that, so we can’t…’

      And if all else fails, pull the race card. I don’t see why AIPAC is so against J Street. By pretending to be liberal, J Street buys Israel critical time.

      • jewishgoyim
        March 23, 2012, 11:06 pm

        “Goldberg is, like it or not, the ‘liberal’ fig leaf of the Israel lobby.”
        Goldberg may be a “liberal fig leaf” in the UWS. Everywhere else, he is a hardcore Greater Israel enabler.

        “I don’t see why AIPAC is so against J Street. By pretending to be liberal, J Street buys Israel critical time.” J Street is a very poorly executed case of “controlled opposition”. I can’t believe we’re still wasting so much time on them… They’re not buying anything to anyone. Some people may have paid some attention to them within Jewish circles. I feel sorry for those who still do. Dwelling on them is really an ethnocentric pastime.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        March 25, 2012, 2:38 am

        This is an excellent comment, Krauss. That’s the Krauss I like to see.

    • Empiricon
      March 23, 2012, 5:16 pm

      True dat, WB. Or for that matter, Palestinians. But of course, if – and ONLY if – he doesn’t think Iranians or Palestinians are “people” his logic holds. Herein is exposed the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Zionism.

    • Shingo
      March 23, 2012, 6:14 pm

      Or towards the blockade of Gaza.

    • yourstruly
      March 24, 2012, 8:21 pm

      it doesn’t make sense to put negative pressure on people whose behavior you hope to change? pardon me, but unless psychology 1a has changed, the way to change bad or inappropriate behavior is by either ignoring or punishing it, whereas, reward is what’s used to sustain good behavior. recent examples of how punishment (pressure) can change societal behavior include bds (south africa) international pressure/un intervention (indonesian withdrawal from east timor), unsc sanctions (iraq’s abandonment of efforts to build nukes). as for the zionist entity, a tightened cultural boycott alone could turn israel into a law abiding entity.

      • weindeb
        March 25, 2012, 4:06 am

        Totally simple and totally true, yours truly.

  2. American
    March 23, 2012, 3:16 pm

    “Because I don’t think that it makes any sense to put negative pressure on people whose behavior you hope to change. I think that the way that Israelis will feel comfortable making the compromises and the sacrifices–and Israel as a whole, not just the settlers –is when they really feel that not only American Jews, but the United States, is going to be there for them.”

    So ridiculous, negative pressure and action is what it will take. Israel, for 63 years has run rampant as a lawless entity, never held to account for it’s universally recognized crimes, supported by diaspora Zionist in particular and diaspora Jews in general and protected, financed and shielded from all international and human rights laws and punishment by the world’s super power, the USA.
    The last thing Israel and it’s citizens and supporters need is to be allowed to continue to feel “comfortable” about their positions. Comfort does not inspire change.

    • Bill in Maryland
      March 23, 2012, 3:28 pm

      This great premium Ben-Ami places on ensuring that Israelis feel “comfortable” with change brings to mind the great graphic in Austin Branion’s piece on Mondoweiss the other day. Legend to the graphic: “When you say Israel is an apartheid state, that makes me feel uncomfortable.”

  3. Walid
    March 23, 2012, 3:17 pm

    I’ve been trying to figure out from the start what’s the difference between J Street and AIPAC. They have the same goals of looking out for Israel but are taking different roads to reach them.

    Speaking of both AIPAC and JStreet, an organization with Lebanese roots is somehow involved in both. It attended a past AIPAC conference and will be attending the coming J Street one and it’s causing a big stir with those that still consider Israel as Lebanon’s enemy and with al-Akhbar that raised a stink about it; from the Arab Digest:

    “Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East” at AIPAC!

    March 18, 2012
    The Arab Digest
    link to thearabdigest.com

    Dr. Michele Dunne, the Director of Atlantic Council Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, has spoken at an AIPAC Policy conference to better inform the Israel lobby cadres. The Rafik Hariri center was established by a Bahaa Hariri donation. Bahaa is the eldest son of late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The director, a former White House and State Department official, was at an AIPAC policy conference panel on Egypt, alongside the infamous Israeli General Michael Herzog, who was a leading military figure during the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon. You can find below more details on the conference, including the participation of Dr. Shibli Talhami:

    link to aipac.org

    The Hariri organization reply:

    “Hariri’s office slams Al-Akhbar newspaper
    link to nowlebanon.com

    • Hostage
      March 23, 2012, 5:34 pm

      I’ve been trying to figure out from the start what’s the difference between J Street and AIPAC. They have the same goals of looking out for Israel but are taking different roads to reach them.

      Not at all. I joined J-Street back when they launched a campaign to get the Justice Department to take-on the legality of US non-profits and charities that fund illegal Israeli settlements. I subsequently ended my membership because they never followed-up or did anything similar. See J Street calls to probe US contributions to settlements link to jpost.com

      As Phil notes, they have nothing to show for their four years of efforts. The leadership has steadily tacked to the Pro-Zionist right.

      • Walid
        March 24, 2012, 2:57 am

        Hostage, you’re saying you dropped out of J Street because it didn’t follow through on its anti-settlements campaign; was it because you were in it because you felt it was un-American for tax-exempt charities to be funding illegal settlements or was it because you felt that the settlements were wrong? It’s confusing because I get the feeling that you have an antipathy to BDS eventhough you want justice for the Palestinians. Is that justice motivated by your concern for the Palestinians or are you like Bienart because you’re only afraid for Israel? In short, are for or against the BDS movement?

      • Hostage
        March 24, 2012, 2:57 pm

        was it because you were in it because you felt it was un-American for tax-exempt charities to be funding illegal settlements or was it because you felt that the settlements were wrong?

        I’m against it because facilitating the establishment of settlements is a war crime according to the rules of customary international law.

        It’s confusing because I get the feeling that you have an antipathy to BDS eventhough you want justice for the Palestinians.

        I don’t mind BDS, but nobody elected its leaders to speak on behalf of anyone. I object when activists who’ve never run for elected public office work to overthrow decades long attempts by the Palestinian people and their elected officials to join the UN; access the international courts; get formal sanctions adopted by other governments; and etc.

        I’m very hostile to activists who stage bogus symposiums and blow a lot of hot air about violations of international law, yet have no intention of pursuing legal claims through the +130 national court systems that already recognize the State of Palestine or the ICC. I’ve made my position on that very clear. When someone commits a serious violent crime, it is appropriate to make arrests and conduct trials, not to start-up a grassroots political action committee instead. The Palestinian BDS movement is ignoring the legal channels that the South African anti-Apartheid movement struggled to establish.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    March 23, 2012, 3:23 pm

    RE: “He [Jeffrey Goldberg] has been trying to eviscerate Beinart in one post after another online, accusing him ‘of errors, omissions, bigotry and ignorance’ ” ~ Weiss

    IN OTHER WORDS: Beinart is getting “The Goldstone Treatment”!

    SEE: Sinning against Zionism: Traitor to Country, by William A. Cook , Dissident Voice, 4/21/11

    Hell is where many false commitments must be unlearned. — Ricardo J. Quinones, Dante Alighieri

    (excerpt) Richard Goldstone’s journey from Justice to Sinner represents the spiritual act of dying in the Zionist world. By recanting his own report he has attempted to break the bonds that cast him into the sufferings in Caina, Antenora, and Judecca where, in Dante’s Inferno, those treacherous to their own, are removed from the light and warmth of their kin, their country, and their masters and suffer eternal damnation in the remorseless dead center of the ice in the most bottomless circle of Hell. Fortunately, Goldstone like Dante can learn that he has, in his journey, aligned himself with many false gods and many false attachments ignoring on the way the elementary truths that bind humankind ineluctably in one race in a bond of human grace.
    The Zionist world needs no Hell since it heeds no conscience. It exists on one foundation, a solid block of ice that freezes the soul of all who bear allegiance to its creed of absolute obedience, an ancient form of tribal slavery bound by fear that shackles the soul, by isolation that instills despair, by humiliation that corrodes self, and by victimhood that bonds the tribe in self-perpetuating agony. It is in this sense Medieval, a remnant of the inquisitorial mind that harbored no dissent, gave no credence to personal freedom, and obligated all to one monolithic understanding of commitment to the powers that control…

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to dissidentvoice.org

  5. DICKERSON3870
    March 23, 2012, 3:27 pm

    P.S. RE: “Beinart is getting ‘The Goldstone Treatment’!” ~ me, above
    AND RE: “Beinart has been getting hammered by the Jewish right because he’s come out, bravely, for a boycott of settlements. The right hates Beinart. They are going wild smearing him.” ~ Weiss

    ALSO SEE – Dear liberal American Jews: Please don’t betray Israel, by Dahlia Scheindlin, +972 Magazine, 2/14/12:

    (excerpts). . . After two weeks in America visiting family and friends, two observations struck me powerfully. First, the understanding that Israel is committing terrible deeds that are destroying itself and its neighbors, has penetrated among you…
    …On this trip, I was stunned to learn that now you don’t even really want to visit Israel because you can’t face what you’re increasingly coming to see as a brutal occupying entity flirting with fascist notions. . .
    …My second observation is that because of your fear – not of the goyim or the anti-Semites, but of yourselves! – you are keeping a low public profile. On this trip, I suddenly realized how naïve it was to imagine that J Street had sufficiently opened the door for anyone who cares critically for Israel to speak out. I underestimated how deep and terrible the intimidation has become and that one political lobby group is far from enough.
    I do understand: those of you who still call the Jewish community home, are afraid of the onslaught that you will receive from your (our) very own people.
    I hold no illusions about how vicious the attacks might be. We Jews, not the goyim, will call you the most painful names, will threaten in various ways to label you as beyond the pale of your people, should you voice your critique.
    You might be chastised in your professional community. You will be hit not only by shadowy bloggers but by the very cherished and established groups you have loyally, even automatically, supported over the years. The anger might come from your friends and it might even come from your family…
    . . . Here’s how that made me feel: abandoned, by the liberal Jews of America. You were swept away by Ruth Wisse’s thesis that liberals betrayed the Jewish cause by believing too much in rational universalism [e.g. universal human rights] and failing to acknowledge the unique, everlasting threat of anti-Semitism…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to 972mag.com

  6. Nevada Ned
    March 23, 2012, 3:29 pm

    What’s the difference between AIPAC and J-street?

    I think that AIPAC has been increasingly right-wing recently, so some liberal American Jews can’t stomach AIPAC any more. This creates room for an organization like J-street to recruit former supporters of AIPAC.

    However, the net result is not a big change. AIPAC supports Israel, and so does J-street. The two organizations offer slightly different reasons for reaching nearly-the-same conclusions.

  7. pabelmont
    March 23, 2012, 3:46 pm

    “And all this week, Beinart has been getting hammered by the Jewish right because he’s come out, bravely, for a boycott of settlements. The right hates Beinart. ”

    Yesa, I think that for anyone in his CAMP, this act was BRAVE. But why, oh why, is he still in that camp, still desirous to remain in that camp? Maybe his old friends who now attack him for this MINOR deviation in the direction of decency-at-long-last will persuade him to go a bit more whole-hog toward BDS-against-all-Israeli trade, culture, academy, sports, diplomacy, travel, etc.

  8. American
    March 23, 2012, 3:46 pm

    This is a prime example of why I constantly say the Jewish community can not and will not be the force for change despite the efforts of admirable groups like Code Pink and JVP. Those group can raise awareness of the I/P occupation within the Jewish and non Jewish public but they do not have the political force to actually change Israeli policy, that change has to come in the form of US or other world governments pressure.
    It is a ‘given’ that Jewish groups for or involved in the issue are involved for Israel as their guiding concern. The infighting and hawk vr dove within these movements makes it impossible first, to have one large unified voice, and second, the liberals aren’t willing to advocate the more stringent measures necessary to actually change Israel by changing US policy on Israel. They want to have their cake and eat it too by having the US maintain it’s unqualified Israel favoritism in aid and protection and yet somehow expect something about the Israeli occupation of Palestine to change without any change it’s US Protector’s official attitude towards it.
    The liberal zionist cannot eat their cake…of US favortism of Israel and also have their cake of…a gentler Israel.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      March 24, 2012, 6:18 pm

      American says, It is a ‘given’ that Jewish groups for or involved in the issue are involved for Israel as their guiding concern.

      American, I agree – but I would argue that a second motivation for organized Jewish groups in the Diaspora is to safeguard the standing of the Jewish ‘community’ in their home countries. This, in the long run, is their point of vulnerability – not moral conscience. Tribal self-interest will result in the slow death of political Zionism outside of Israel.

      • Sand
        March 24, 2012, 9:54 pm

        Thomson Rutherford says: “… I would argue that a second motivation for organized Jewish groups in the Diaspora is to safeguard the standing of the Jewish ‘community’ in their home countries…”

        Sounds that way according to Beinart.

        Peter Beinart: What’s wrong with AIPAC? — “There is nothing wrong with the people themselves. Most AIPAC people are not ideological. They don’t see themselves as right wing. They’re mostly moderate Democrats. They just want to do something for Israel. They want to feel connected to Israel. They go to their synagogue dinner, they go to the Federation dinner, and they go to the AIPAC dinner. But I disagree with AIPAC’s definition of what it means to be pro-Israel. Obviously, they have every right to be involved and engaged, and I feel ambivalent — because there’s a part of me, as a Jew, who, when I look at the AIPAC conference, says: ‘Wow, we’re good. Who else could do this?’ I feel the same way when I see the list of Nobel Prize winners.

        “But the AIPAC conference is a fantasy of power without responsibility. The whole AIPAC ethos is about the Jewish experience of power. You’re a dentist in Cleveland. Your dad was a liquor-store owner in the Bronx. Your grandfather was a peddler in Riga. Your uncles and aunts and cousins were massacred in the Shoah. Nobody gave a shit about you. You come to AIPAC, and all the politicians come to tell you how great you are, and to tell you what you want to hear. For WASPs, it wouldn’t be such a powerful experience. For Jews, especially older Jews, it’s a very powerful experience, especially when you tell people that you’re using this power to save the Jewish people in the way that your parents and grandparents couldn’t in the 1940s.

        The thrill of ‘Jewish Power’ — to be special — to be chosen?

        Peter Beinart: “…“I want people, non-Jewish Americans, to have opinions about this like they have opinions about anything else. They may be wrong, they may be stupid, they may be ignorant. Let them have their opinions. And don’t call them anti-Semites unless they have a history of animus toward the Jewish people. ..

        Noting: Peter doesn’t include that maybe those goys could be Right, and are in fact far from stupid!

        link to haaretz.com

      • American
        March 25, 2012, 12:35 pm

        Here is where the ‘nice zionist as Beinart describes them ,”who only want to do something for Israel” go wrong in their exhilaration:

        Beinart’s Daily Beast article:
        “On the one hand, Jews delight in our newfound power. What could be more exhilarating for a people that seven decades ago were impotent to stop the Holocaust than seeing a Jewish state with nuclear weapons and an American Jewish community capable of making politicians pander in the most obsequious of ways? What is the AIPAC Conference if not a celebration of our own Purim-like transformation from terrifying weakness to intoxicating strength?”

        The ‘power” of the Lobby, Zionist, Israel is a vicarious identification with and use of American power.
        They derived it thru the worse abuses of democratic tools, perverted the so called citizens “right to representation” into a foreign lobby
        and literally “buy” and hold our “national” policy hostage for a foreign country.
        I would not object if Jews or some other group supported some foreign ’cause” as long they did it strictly by and among themselves without involving the nation and the rest of the population in their cause.
        But the Zionist have gone too far, abused to the max the original American sympathy and generosity shown them after WWII. They are and have been for a long time stepping on the interest and welfare of the majority of Americans. They are totally out of tune with US majority opinion on what US government obligations are and to who and what.
        And because they are literally so”intoxicated” like a drunk who won the lottery, by their substitution of Jewish power for American power they will not know when to back off.
        How this niche power ends is anyone’s guess…..it could ‘simmer’ along as usual if we avoid a confrontation with Iran, it could blow up if we don’t, it could be quietly or covertly marginalized out by some opposing power group in the long run. A crystal ball would be nice but I don’t have one.

      • Hostage
        March 24, 2012, 10:49 pm

        This, in the long run, is their point of vulnerability – not moral conscience. Tribal self-interest will result in the slow death of political Zionism outside of Israel.

        Well for right now the White House Update from the Director of Jewish Outreach, Jarrod Bernstein mentioned discussions with Prime Minister Cameron during his visit about Iran’s nuclear program, but the highlights and summary were all about the domestic or diaspora Jewish communities:

        It has been a very busy few weeks here at the White House. On March 8th, members of the White House staff and our colleagues from the agencies came together to celebrate Purim and hear the story of Esther from the Megillah. Last week, I was able to visit with the Beren Academy Stars basketball team during a trip to Houston, where I heard their inspirational story and was able to play a little basketball with them.

        Lastly, President Obama called President Sarkozy of France yesterday to express his solidarity with the French people after the attacks at a Jewish school in the south of France.

        So the AIPAC talking points are still covering all of the bases.

  9. Bill in Maryland
    March 23, 2012, 3:50 pm

    The psychology at play here is fascinating, with Goldberg taking his sweet time to make sure Ben-Ami publicly and humbly recognizes Goldberg’s dominance and authority. Ben-Ami must recognize the red lines in American public discourse over I/P, lines defined by Goldberg et al, and must denounce Peter Beinart, like Judas sold out Christ.

    So Ben-Ami sold him out, Wieseltier sold him out. Next up, David Remnick and Thomas Friedman- where do you stand gentlemen? (Alternative question: Can you learn to love Ali Abunimah?)

  10. eGuard
    March 23, 2012, 5:14 pm

    Phil, why didn’t you say so before? 10 Beinart posts last week, and only now I get it: Beinart is applauded for pushing away the “rightwing Israel lobby”, away from J street. In the process, and by the Newton physical laws, J Street moves to the left. This happens only because … Beinart is between J Street and that rightwing.

    btw, isn’t Olmert the J Street star?

    btw2: MW, please keep the difference between “‘Jewish” and “Zionist”. Only that will solve the issue.

  11. Mooser
    March 23, 2012, 5:17 pm

    No wonder that the only way we will make progress here is with a mixed coalition, in which Palestinians are treated as equals.

    Gosh, Phil, you’ve made it all the way to the “equivanalency hasbara“. Would you like to explain to us (apart from humanistic all-men-created-equal stuff, which is relevant, and I would think, is a foregone conclusion) how the Palestinians are the “equals” of the Israelis. In political organisation and discipline? In financial clout? In military capability? In a world-wide, long established, and elite networking which pervades the media? In having your infrastructure destroyed or co-opted, instead of merely pin-pricked?
    If you were (God forbid) a Zionist, wouldn’t the very first thing you would do is make sure the Palestinians could never be “equals” to Israel again?
    Unless almost everything I read at Mondoweiss is untrue or grossly exaggerated, equivalency is a right the Zionists took from the Palestinians a long time ago.
    Is there any way around the fact that being “equals” is no longer an option, and that the Palestinians need people and resources on their side, and the Zionists need to have people and resources opposed to them for any solution other than Palestinian extinction to be the result?
    Of course, if you know a way to get the Zionists to treat the Palestinians as “equal” because it’s the right thing to do, I’d love to hear it. Hell, don’t tell me, tell the Palestinians, I am sure they will be very grateful for the technique.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      March 24, 2012, 7:33 pm

      Mooser, I think you must have misunderstood the intent of Phil’s statement you quoted. It seems to me that, in saying that ‘Palestinians must be treated as equals’, he was referring to the leadership of the anti-Zionist movement outside of Israel; e.g., in America. This is a position that Peter Beinart apparently does not accept, wanting instead to keep any opposition to political Zionism solely within the Jewish ‘community’ (I know you don’t like that term so don’t chastise me). That would seem to put Phil at odds with Beinart on this important point.

      Gabriel Ash had a post recently at Mondoweiss, link to mondoweiss.net, in which he attacked Beinart’s Jewish-centered approach to ‘BDS’ precisely because it weakened or discarded Palestinian leadership of the PSM and hence would drain most of the energy from the movement. On the point at issue, that would seem to put Phil closer to Ash than Beinart. Me, just count me on the side of the Palestinians.

      • Mooser
        March 26, 2012, 3:03 pm

        Thomson Rutherford thank you for that patient explication of Phil’s sentence. It’s more than likely I was over-sensitive about the use of the word “equal”. And as usual, I went of half-cocked, thus adding to the evidence that circumcision can as harmful as circumlocution.
        Thanks for you patience with me.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        March 26, 2012, 4:09 pm

        And as usual, I went of half-cocked, thus adding to the evidence that circumcision can as harmful as circumlocution.

        Mooser, could it be that circumcision and circumlocution are not only highly correlated, but both more ubiquitous than you imagine? Anyhow, thanks, I must add it to my own book of excuses.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        March 26, 2012, 5:15 pm

        P.S. – That is, to the lengthy chapter entitled, “Upon Having My Failings Plainly Exposed and Finding Bluster to Be No Longer Persuasive.”

  12. American
    March 23, 2012, 5:53 pm

    A excellent examination of Goldberg’s articles as a conduit for Israeli propaganda. And what they convey about Israel and Netanyahu.
    Is Netanyahu rational or irrational? And even if he is rational about Israel’s inability to successfully attack Iran, if the Machiavellian game he is playing with the US dead ends, will he do the irrational out of frustration? And the seeming Goldberg and Israeli ignored implications for Jews by discounting American public opinions if the US is forced into war. And the implications for Israel if the US refuses to be forced into bombing Iran.

    Goldberg Variations

    “The fascinating discussion on this site of the piece which Jeffrey Goldberg published on Bloomberg on 19 March, under the title ‘Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iran’s Nukes Can Work’, sent me back to the article he published, under the title ‘The Point of No Return’, in the Atlantic in September 2010.

    Quite clearly, in both articles, Goldberg has been acting as a conduit for Israeli government propaganda. As so often in contemporary journalism, the implicit deal appears to be that a favoured reporter is granted access, on the condition that he or she uncritically relays the messages which his or her sources want broadcast. As a result, while Goldberg’s interviews with Netanyahu and others are extremely useful for all of us attempting to assess what that Israel is likely to do in relation to Iran, the evidence they provide is difficult to interpret.

    What put the problem into the sharpest possible relief was the invaluable evidence presented on an earlier thread by jdledell. Summarising conversations with contacts in Israel who had a proper grasp of the technical problems involved in an attack on Iran and were not in the propaganda business, he confirmed what Colonel Lang, and others, have argued time and again on this site. On its own, Israel simply cannot expect to do significant damage to the Iranian nuclear programme. Among multiple problems, the refuelling capabilities that would be required for effective strikes just are not there.

    Quite clearly then, there can be no rational basis for the confidence which Goldberg attributed to the Israeli leaders about what can be achieved by acting on their own. To act as he suggests they may intend to do would not only involve risking important military assets, but also court a humiliating demonstration of impotence which would mean that, far from providing a way out of the country’s security dilemmas, Netanyahu and his associates would have been likely to have made its situation immeasurably worse.

    continued at…….link to turcopolier.typepad.com

    • Citizen
      March 24, 2012, 7:34 am

      American, I read somewhere that Obama offered Bibi the latest bunker bombs and refueling planes and apparatus while the AIPAC Conference was in town–if only Bibi would refrain from attacking Iran before the November elections. And recall Obama offered Bibi two squadrons of F-35s if he would only suspend settlements for a short political while important to Obama at the time? A month or two, if memory serves.

  13. Shingo
    March 23, 2012, 6:13 pm

    These guys are simply con men. They want everyone to believe that if we continue doing what we’ve always done, this will compel Israel to reform.

    Even Martin Indyk rejects that stupid argument.

  14. atime forpeace
    March 23, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Look at Jstreet as a back-up fish net, their job is to catch all of the fish that were leaving the aipac net because of what Lieberman and Netanyahoo and the white phosphorous attack on a civilian population did to how israel is being perceived, that caused the liberal american jew to recoil away from an israel that was too coarse and did not stand up to what a more liberal jew could support comfortably.

    Jstreet is doing their job by setting up the back stop just a few yards behind where aipac would normally have been. jstreet is serving up their membership for zionism to use in their defense now, no new additions, they just kept the numbers of israels defenders at the same levels as before, the more idealistic jews such as Phil and Adam really expected too much from Jstreet.

    zionisms breakup wont be such an easy row to hoe.

    • American
      March 23, 2012, 10:50 pm

      atime forpeace says:
      March 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm
      Look at Jstreet as a back-up fish net, their job is to catch all of the fish that were leaving the aipac net because
      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      A fish net is the perfect description.

  15. urihoresh
    March 23, 2012, 6:42 pm

    So in a way, by pretending to be more “peacenik” than AIPAC, J Street may actually be more dangerous than AIPAC, because at least AIPAC isn’t trying to portray itself as something that it is not.

  16. jimdonnellan
    March 24, 2012, 8:11 am

    Jeremy Ben-Ami comments on Beinart’s NY Times OP ED:

    A Reflection on Peter Beinart’s New York Times Op-Ed

    March 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    By Jeremy Ben-Ami

    Peter Beinart’s op-ed in The New York Times this morning will undoubtedly raise more than blood pressure and eyebrows in the Jewish community.

    It immediately raises pressure on J Street and other organizations over giving a platform to Peter after he has explicitly called for boycotts and other civil protests against Israeli settlements and settlers.

    So let me say up front and with resounding clarity: J Street is thrilled to host a passionate Zionist like Peter Beinart at any time and any place – even as we disagree with some of the actions that Peter is calling for.

    It’s critical for the Jewish community to hear Peter’s clear diagnosis of the problem Israel is facing. The country’s Jewish, democratic future is at risk from, as he puts it, “the jaws of a pincer.” Israel is trapped between those on the right who claim all the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean as legitimately Israeli and those on the left in the Global BDS movement who question the legitimacy of Israel itself even within the pre-1967 Green Line.

    I share Peter’s sense of acute urgency over the need to end the occupation, establish borders for Israel and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution. If we don’t, both left and right will push Israel into a “one-state nightmare” – forced to choose between its Jewish and its democratic character.

    I also agree with the distinction Peter draws between the legitimacy of Israel within the Green Line and the illegitimacy of what’s happening over the Green Line.

    I don’t, however, agree with Peter that pressure on settlers and settlements through targeted boycotts and other measures will lead them to change course.

    I think the ideologues driving the settlement enterprise – not necessarily the settlers themselves – will never change their views. Pressure will only reinforce their belief that the whole world is against them, causing them to dig in even more deeply.

    I believe that the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement should focus on borders, not boycotts, as it is a recognized border that will save Israel’s democratic and Jewish character. …

    JD: His position reflects openness, even when there are points of disagreement. It also reflects appreciation for those aspects of Peter’s perspective he considers very important to a peaceful outcome – i.e. defined borders, Israel as a Jewish democracy left intact, “ending the settlement enterprise”, etc.

    He ends by saying: “I couldn’t be more excited that the J Street Conference provides space for voices that may disagree with J Street on this point. We are not about to apply an ideological litmus test to ensure that every speaker at our conference agrees with every position we take.”

    This is quite different than throwing him under the bus, is it not? Or, am I missing something?

    • Shingo
      March 24, 2012, 9:16 am

      JD: His position reflects openness, even when there are points of disagreement. It also reflects appreciation for those aspects of Peter’s perspective he considers very important to a peaceful outcome – i.e. defined borders, Israel as a Jewish democracy left intact, “ending the settlement enterprise”, etc.

      He’s talking rubbish. If the settlers are immovable, as he suggests, then what are borders going o mean to them? They’re not going to move, the Israeli givernment is not going to move thm, in fact, the Israeli government will simply insist that the settlements need to be protected.

      I can’t believe you are unable to see through this BS.

      This is quite different than throwing him under the bus, is it not? Or, am I missing something?

      You’re missing everything. He sold him out to the right wing. The guy is a coward and a fraud.

      • jimdonnellan
        March 24, 2012, 12:52 pm

        Don’t hold back now. Tell me how you really feel.

        But tell me: if he is a coward and a fraud, why would he invite Beinart in the first place? Is he also a masochist? What would be the possible gain for J Street to have him in its midst?

        I don’t argue the duplicity of the Israeli government when its mouthpieces (Oren, Gold, AIPAC, et al) blatantly misrepresent the reality. But I’ve never seen any of them – actually anyone – even come close to saying what Jeremy is willing to say in a synagogue filled with true believers and get away with it.

        That does not mean that his solution is the right one. Clearly the idea of moving settlements en masse is a logistical impossibility, but his organization represents a baby step away from orthodoxy. That is clearly not enough nor is it the best way to articulate the ultimate vision, but it does bring to the forefront a level of dialogue that did not exist before. The intellectual and moral foundations of Israel were both anachronistic and indefensible. They were a product of history that believed such arrogance was justifiable. That is unraveling; tragically so, but it is. J Street approximates the level of openess needed, but it does not fulfill it.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 24, 2012, 2:24 pm

        if he is a coward and a fraud, why would he invite Beinart in the first place?

        he invited beinart prior to the op ed. although he stated he would be thrilled to host beinart anytime, given what he knows now (“undoubtedly raise more than blood pressure and eyebrows in the Jewish community”) needless to say it would have raised more eyebrows had he invited him after the op ed and who knows what he would done. i don’t think he threw him under a bus in the editorial so much, but the interview with goldberg was red meat. meat goldberg was after and meat ben ami delivered. that level of distancing prior to the conference was unnecessary and uncalled for, and rude imho. he didn’t have to do that. he could have expressed his views afterward. he didn’t have to give an interview to goldberg to get a seal of approval for himself and j street prior to the conference. he could have let conference goers experience beinart sans his critique upfront and made their own decisions.

        it was bad form. cowardly imho. i am not saying every position he takes is cowardly, i don’t follow j street.

      • jimdonnellan
        March 24, 2012, 3:13 pm

        “it was bad form. cowardly imho. i am not saying every position he takes is cowardly, i don’t follow j street”

        - I don’t know about that.

        What I do know is that the first time he appeared in a Boston synagogue he was picketed on the outside and was the only speaker inside who came even close to suggesting there was a Palestinian point of view – an audience member rose up and shouted at him at the mere mention of such a possibility.

        He identifies, at one level, with – and believes it as far as I can tell – the point of view of his audience, which has an extremely low tolerance of anyone who questions the legitimacy of Israel. His accomplishment is remarkable in bringing a level of sanity into the mainstream. I’m personally delighted that he does not completely agree with Beinart, not because I agree with him – I don’t – but because this brings out into the open a dialogue that had not existed for so long on this subject and in front of the very audience that needs to unerstand the reality on the ground.

        Is he a crusader? No. Do I look forward to the day when AIPAC invites Phil Weiss or Norm Finkelstein or Michael Lerner to speak. Yes, but it will probably be a cold day in hell when that happens … but we can still hope.

        Jeremy at least approximates that ideal. I didn’t even consider attending their last conference. After today, if I could, I’d be on a plane to Washington in a heartbeat to see how this one plays out and to participate in the dialogue that will inevitably follow.

      • Shingo
        March 24, 2012, 10:10 pm

        But tell me: if he is a coward and a fraud, why would he invite Beinart in the first place? Is he also a masochist? What would be the possible gain for J Street to have him in its midst?

        He’s a coward because he will not debate BDS with anyone but Jews.He has made this abundantly clear.

        He’s a fraud because he is prescribing the same policies that have been in place for 45 years and insisting that this will lead to change. He’s a fraud because he is insitign that changing course from the current policy will make things worse, even though they are becomming profgressively worse anyway.

        As Anni explained, he extended the invitation to Beinart before he wrote the op-ed. Beinart and Ben Ami have both played the same role in the debate – they have worked feverishly to set the accepted terms of the debate. They are gate keepers that agree on practically everything else.

        Beinart is no threat and his arguments are so convoluted and incoherent that I suspect Ben Ami doesn’t feel threatened by them. Let’s see him take on Max Blumenthal.

      • Shingo
        March 24, 2012, 10:16 pm

        What I do know is that the first time he appeared in a Boston synagogue he was picketed on the outside and was the only speaker inside who came even close to suggesting there was a Palestinian point of view – an audience member rose up and shouted at him at the mere mention of such a possibility.

        And he has never gone there again. J Street has since become a cats paw for AIPAC, and reached out to the right.

        His accomplishment is remarkable in bringing a level of sanity into the mainstream. I’m personally delighted that he does not completely agree with Beinart, not because I agree with him – I don’t – but because this brings out into the open a dialogue that had not existed for so long on this subject and in front of the very audience that needs to unerstand the reality on the ground.

        Rubbish. The audience is tiny, impotent and ineffectual. Ben Ami is simply playing gatekeeper and tryign to keep non Jews out of the debate.

        Jeremy at least approximates that ideal.

        No, he doesn’t come close. Ben Ami is 10% along the way. He still wants the status quo to be maintained. His motives are about helping ISrael look good, not human rights abuses or violatiosn of international law. He wants to preseve Israeli dominance of the region, unconditional US aid, and subjugationg of Arabs.

      • jimdonnellan
        March 25, 2012, 8:23 am

        Some questions:

        shingo: J Street has since become a cats paw for AIPAC, and reached out to the right.
        jd: Has AIPAC invited Peter Beinart to speak at their annual conference?

        shingo: Rubbish. The audience is tiny, impotent and ineffectual.
        jd: not sure I understand which audience you are referring to. Those are not the words that came to me when I saw this audience. So please elaborate.

        shingo: No, he doesn’t come close. Ben Ami is 10% along the way.
        jd: in an atmosphere so governed by “right think”, 10% could be considered huge. What would that 10% mean in Stalinist Russia, North Korea, Mao’s China etc

        shingo: He’s a coward because he will not debate BDS with anyone but Jews.He has made this abundantly clear… He’s a fraud because he is prescribing the same policies that have been in place for 45 years and insisting that this will lead to change.

        jd: I’m not sure the labels of coward and fraud shed much light on his thinking or more importantly why he thinks that way. You are applying a litmus test but I’d rather hear from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak on his exact thinking on his positions. That is, why he has taken this path as opposed to the alternatives – AIPAC on the right and BDS, etc on the left.

        Just curious: Has he ever been invited to appear before an AIPAC national gathering?

        There is much that is not understood about the thinking behind AIPAC’s posture as well as J Street or the Israeli government for that matter. There is a force there, a fear perhaps, that is so strong it leads to positions that in other contexts they would consider absurd. Menachem Daum has come the closest for me of shedding light on the matter, quite powerfully in Hiding and Seeking as well as in clips for his next offering. These are not dumb people, and other labels simply don’t work for me. I want to know why. If someone here can shed light, please do.

      • Shingo
        March 25, 2012, 9:04 am

        jd: Has AIPAC invited Peter Beinart to speak at their annual conference?

        J Street ahs to present a facade of being somethign other than AIPAC.

        Those are not the words that came to me when I saw this audience. So please elaborate.

        What exactly is that supposed to mean? Were they of the size of an AIPAC Comvention?

        jd: in an atmosphere so governed by “right think”, 10% could be considered huge.

        No, because he’s still 90% pro status quo.

        What would that 10% mean in Stalinist Russia, North Korea, Mao’s China etc

        A very small minority.

        jd: I’m not sure the labels of coward and fraud shed much light on his thinking or more importantly why he thinks that way.

        Seeing as neither of us can mind read, your guess is as irrelevant as mine. One can only made judgement based on actions. Ben Ami and the J Street leadership set very strict parameters for J Street – they won’t allow discussion about certain topics such as the one state solution etc. If you can get Ben Ami to give an explanation for this position, I’d love to hear to it, but simply rejecting my argument on the basis that you haven’t heard it from the “horse’s mouth” is pretty weak.

        He’s already said he opposes BDS on the grounds that it would make Israel behave even worse, but he’s never elaborated on whether he agrees with it in principal. Probably because he’s too ashamed to admit that his tribal allegiances are the reason.

        Just curious: Has he ever been invited to appear before an AIPAC national gathering?

        No. So what?

        There is much that is not understood about the thinking behind AIPAC’s posture as well as J Street or the Israeli government for that matter.

        Sorry, but that’s simply bullshit. We’ve had decades to undersand what the thinking behind AIPAC’s posture is. There isn’t any abmbiguity about their position. As for J Street, it started out making the right noises but has eitehr wilted under pressure to conform, or was never serious to begin with.

        These are not dumb people, and other labels simply don’t work for me.

        They don’t have to be dumn to be duplicitous, dishonest, and cowardly. Of course, intelligent, ecuated people do dumb things all the time.

      • jimdonnellan
        March 25, 2012, 1:23 pm

        Shingo: Seeing as neither of us can mind read, your guess is as irrelevant as mine.

        JD: I couldn’t agree more. This goes to the heart of the matter. We never really know what another is thinking unless we ask, directly and pointedly.

        Shingo: One can only made judgement based on actions.

        JD: Per your point above, such judgments are irrelevant. Good guesses, maybe, but all too often they are mere psychological projections of our own angst. (I’m the only exception to that rule that I know of. Perfection is tough to live with though.) I do agree, however, that certain behavior violates universal values and justifies a reaction – constraint initially, not punishment (logical consequences naturally follow). Israel has violated these norms repeatedly.

        It is for this reason I would focus on any interaction with Jeremy on Israel’s behavior and ask him to share his thinking. I would be very specific. I would not threaten or cajole, simply inquire. With Jeremy, the intellectual and moral dilemma that is Israel needs to be responded to and is found in my favorite Ben-Gurion comment:

        Ben-Gurion: “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs.
        We come from Israel, it’s true, but 2000 years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: … we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? ”

        I’d probably start there and move forward. I would want to know how his pro-Israel pro-Peace perspective is reconciled with that moral reality.

        I would do the same with AIPAC. I would not accept bs for a response (Oren is a master at avoiding the underlying causes). The difference between the two is Jeremy if far more approachable, but it is AIPAC that needs to be engaged.

        By the way, how do you shade the comment you are responding to. Very effective.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      March 25, 2012, 4:31 pm

      From Ben-Ami, as quoted above: … and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution. If we don’t, both left and right will push Israel into a “one-state nightmare” – forced to choose between its Jewish and its democratic character.

      What a cruel joke! Is Ben-Ami so naive as to think that these are the only two choices – or even the most salient options in play? Israeli Jews don’t even consider transforming the Jewish State into a true democracy, nor do they consider extending any democratic rights under that state to ‘Arabs’ beyond the Green Line or the Gazan border, nor do they consider preserving the existing rights of ‘Arabs’ within the Green Line, nor do they consider a time in the future when the lands and resources within Eretz Israel under control of ‘Arabs’ will not continue to shrink to an eventual vanishing point – with all possibility of survival of the impoverished people within the stockades extinguished.

      The option in play is the gradual eradication of the people we call Palestinians or Arabs from any lands seized by the Israeli war machine. Some less kindly than I might call it ‘ethnic cleansing’, some even less kindly might call it ‘extermination’. You know, they say: what was attempted by the Nazis against the Jews of Europe. They learned their lessons well – ‘Never again!’

      But this time the deed is being done much more cleverly, under the eyes of a fretfully watching world that has no answer which can be spoken aloud, while remote dreamers and charlatans like Ben-Ami spin their artful webs of evasion and deceit.

  17. Thomson Rutherford
    March 24, 2012, 5:40 pm

    JB: Because I don’t think that it makes any sense to put negative pressure on people whose behavior you hope to change. I think that the way that Israelis will feel comfortable making the compromises and the sacrifices–and Israel as a whole, not just the settlers –is when they really feel that not only American Jews, but the United States, is going to be there for them.

    This strategy was allegedly tried by the U.S. for 45 years and it has failed miserably.

    Jeremy Ben-Ami is a fraud and a craven ‘liberal’ Zionist Apologist for the Israel Lobby. As I see it, he never intended to be anything more than a fig leaf for the American Jewish ‘community’ when inevitably the sh!t hits the fan. He and Jeffrey Goldberg make a fine couple, indeed!

  18. Talkback
    March 25, 2012, 8:35 am

    Oh Israel. Not a spoiled monster but an innocent, abused and nearly autistic child who shouldn’t be put under pressure.

    ‘No Isi, you didn’t do anything wrong, we love you just the way you are. Come out of your shell, here’s some money for ice-cream.’

    Pathetic appeasement.

  19. Oscar
    March 25, 2012, 10:43 am

    Ben-Ami was always a poseur — his statements are always pathetically weak, and his smug attitude toward Peter shows just how little interest he has in distinguishing himself from the AIPAC crowd. JStreet is disregarded by Congress and now has to suck up to Jeff Goldberg to maintain any shred of relevance. It’s now AIPAC-Lite, and why anyone continues to contribute to that enabling organization is beyond rational explanation.

  20. Gbear
    March 25, 2012, 5:41 pm

    Here is what you find when you google ‘J street position on Iran’ :

    J Street supports concrete American actions to address this threat. We support a comprehensive and multilateral approach, including sanctions and active diplomacy.

  21. American
    March 25, 2012, 11:39 pm

    I wonder why so much time and effort is spent on discussing people like Beinart, Ben-Ami and Goldberg……..it’s a soap opera, a side show.
    These people aren’t to change anything.
    Unless someone or something else intervenes wrt Israel they will all still be discussing and studying Israel, the zionist naval and Jewish identity for decades.
    It reminds me of the talky-talky stally-stally peace process….it will go on and on, round and round.
    They are trying to ‘save their mess’ instead of cleaning up their mess.

    • RoHa
      March 26, 2012, 1:21 am

      “I wonder why so much time and effort is spent on discussing people like Beinart, Ben-Ami and Goldberg”

      For those of us outside the US, the first question we have is “Who?”
      We have never heard of most of these people. I assume that they are supposed to be representative of the way American Jews are thinking.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        March 26, 2012, 5:11 am

        RoHa, think of them as ‘three peas in a pod’.

  22. Citizen
    March 26, 2012, 7:39 am

    Steve Walt has a few questions for Beinart: link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

    Among them, he’d like to know if Beinart has a personal red line regarding how far Israel can go along its present trajectory before America should start thinking seriously about withdrawing support for Israel’s conduct on either side of the green line, and also–a similar approach re Iran? Walt says it appears to him from what Beinart said that he recognizes the truth in Walt & Mearsheimer’s book–the truth that American publishers would not publish when it first came out, the truth that was met with a wall of smears against the uppity non-Jewish academics.

    • American
      March 26, 2012, 11:27 am

      “if Beinart has a personal red line regarding how far Israel can go along its present trajectory before America should start thinking seriously about withdrawing support for Israel’s conduct ”

      Too late now. The Israeli fetish has too much hold on US political system. This thing is going to have to play out to the bitter end. The time to put limits on Israel was the first time they violated the requirements of UN 181 63 years ago.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        March 26, 2012, 1:46 pm

        Too late now. The Israeli fetish has too much hold on US political system. This thing is going to have to play out to the bitter end.

        American, I’m not sure it’s too late. It is true that Zionism has captured the American political system during my lifetime. But the revulsion against this is growing daily as more and more people (and political figures) become aware of the true extent of Zionist domination of government. I see the possibility of a colossal political civil war that will transcend traditional liberal-conservative boundaries and in so doing will result in much figurative blood-letting.

        As the political war develops, of course, the ‘major Jewish American organizations’ (Zionists) will see it coming and attempt to control it by conventional divide-and-conquer strategies. But AIPAC and the CPMJAO will be caught in the middle and their armies are not trained or equipped to withstand massive frontal assaults from all directions.

        I know, it’s not going to play out that way …. Or will it?

      • American
        March 27, 2012, 11:18 am

        “I see the possibility of a colossal political civil war that will transcend traditional liberal-conservative boundaries and in so doing will result in much figurative blood-letting.”….Thomson

        For that to happen we would have to have a horrific transforming “event” that impacted the majority of Americans in such a way that neither the media nor the politicians can cover their a**** on it. I don’t doubt that we will have one sooner or later. But the reason I say some ‘event’ is necessary is because our politicans are light years removed from the general public, even with a 8 or 10% approval rating, they still aren’t listening and they don’t listen because they don’t care what the public is saying. And they won’t care until they see their own destruction coming. The only thing other then some event overthrowing the present corruption is some chrasmatic figure emerging in a third party, a less extreme Ron Paul, that appeals to the majority and starts a ‘popular movement’. Without one of those two things what we are looking at is a long gradual slide into a ‘nothing left to lose’ society which will be undirected chaos with a vengence.

  23. American
    March 26, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Here is Beinart in a interview with Goldberg. I don’t see any real difference in zionist and liberal zionist. Neither of them reflect either universal human values or American interest. They are strictly Israeli. Well, let them continue to natter and yada while their little Rome in Israel is burning. I prefer to fan the flames of anti zionism in the US.

    link to theatlantic.com

    PB: I’m not asking Israel to be Utopian. I’m not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I’m not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I’m actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel’s security and for its status as a Jewish state. What I am asking is that Israel not do things that foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, because if it is does that it will become–and I’m quoting Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak here–an “apartheid state.”

    There certainly are leftists (and for that matter) rightists who focus so disproportionately on Israel’s failings as to raise questions about their true motives. I’m not sure what that has to do with my essay. I’m writing about American Jewish groups whose mission is ostensibly to sustain Israel as a democratic Jewish state, and to sustain Zionism in the United States. I think they’re failing on both fronts.”

    • Thomson Rutherford
      March 26, 2012, 3:46 pm

      American, here is Goldberg speaking at the start of the Beinart ‘interview’ you cited:

      I’m not Orthodox, but I do feel a spiritual connection to our homeland. Without this connection, can Israel’s location in what was Palestine be justified? Shouldn’t it have been built in Bavaria?

      (bold emphasis added)

      This is a very revealing statement from the self-appointed arbiter of ‘liberal’ Zionism. He says that the homeland of ‘liberal’ Zionists like him and Beinart is the Jewish State of Israel, not the country in which they are natural-born citizens and which sustained their upbringing. This is true, he says, in spite of the fact that the choice of location for “our homeland” was arbitrary. In his view, why not Bavaria, the Geburtsland of German Nazism? Goldberg dons the robe of a “spiritual connection” to his “homeland” so as to justify the military expropriation of Palestine instead. The ‘citizens’ of Goldberg’s “homeland” are Jews around the world, whether they feel that “spiritual connection” or not.

      In all this, there is not a hint of any moral principle that would extend beyond the interests of Jewish tribal identity. Goldberg is an instructive writer for non-Jews to read in gaining better understanding of what they are up against in opposing political Zionism.

  24. Citizen
    March 27, 2012, 11:23 am

    This guy tells everybody interested about Peter Beinart’s False Prophecy–if “mostly” actually = 88% & so “only” ignores 12%, U deduce he’s “loose with facts” link to tabletm.ag via @tabletmag

    This re a poll of Jews that initially screened potential participants by asking a question about their religion. He aims to dismiss the claim that Jewish Americans no longer accept exclusive guidance by AIPAC, the parrot of Israel. See if he convinces you Beinart’s take on increasing rebellion within the American Jewish ranks is way overblown, especially regarding young Jews.

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