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Dershowitz plays McCarthy, and John Dingell is labeled ‘anti-Israel’

Israel/Palestine
on 41 Comments
(Photo: Sun Sentinel)

(Photo: Sun Sentinel)

An unbelievable story from the Forward saying that the liberal Zionist group J Street has failed to gain the endorsement of a committee that considers new members for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations because of its supposedly anti-Israel positions. One of those positions was supporting John Dingell of Michigan, the veteran congressman who was described as “anti-Israel” in deliberations over J Street.

And Alan Dershowitz was also deployed against J Street. So was this Dershowitz’s game in doing a documentary against J Street, to keep them out of the Conference?

J Street, the dovish Israel lobby, has failed to win the endorsement of a key committee for membership in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — a development that makes it unlikely to win admission to the key umbrella group.

In an April 11 meeting described as a “grilling” by participants, members of the Presidents Conference closely questioned J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami, who came to make the case for accepting his group into the conference.

The Manhattan meeting, held by the conference’s membership committee in preparation for J Street’s application being brought before the full conference on April 30, found that J Street fulfills the administrative and governance requirements in the conference’s bylaws. But most of the discussion focused on J Street’s views on Israel.

…One question was about the support J Street’s political action committee gave to Democratic Congressman John Dingell of Michigan, who was described at the meeting as anti-Israel. Another questioned donations J Street had received from liberal billionaire George Soros…

Participants at the meeting also claimed that J Street had supported the United Nations-sponsored Goldstone report, which found that Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas had committed numerous war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during their conflict in late 2008 and early 2009. Some questioners alleged that J Street cooperates with groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, which are harshly critical of Israel’s policies.

Questioners also quoted a critique of J Street prepared by Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz….

In the discussion, one participant asked whether J Street would agree to accept the Presidents’ Conference rules that require all members to adhere to consensus positions adopted by the conference, and if J Street would refrain from criticizing other Jewish groups.

So this is the official Jewish community, and it can’t accept a group that is just mildly critical of Israel. My challenge is again to Ameinu and Americans for Peace Now. How can you justify being members of the Conference of Presidents when they won’t let in a liberal Zionist group, let alone Jewish Voice for Peace? And meanwhile it includes rightwingers like the Zionist Organization of America, which calls the West Bank Judea and Samaria and supports settlers.

Why do you even want to break bread with American Friends of Likud? Aren’t American groups past this kind of tribal allegiance? What do you get out of membership in the Conference? Access, I suppose. You can knock on a senator’s door. But is it worth it?

So long as you stay in the Conference, aren’t you signing off on Dershowitz’s McCarthyism? And are you bound by the Conference’s apparent understanding that you can’t criticize member organization AIPAC and ZOA?

Inquiring minds want to know: Has Americans for Peace Now ever criticized AIPAC by name? Update: I stand corrected on this point; APN has often called out AIPAC. Thanks to W. Jones.

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41 Responses

  1. Les
    Les
    April 12, 2014, 12:21 pm

    We used to call American agents of foreign powers traitors, now they call themselves zionists.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 12, 2014, 12:41 pm

      NO, they call themselves American patriots, explaining there’s no sky between US and Israel. That’s Bill Kristol ‘s whole ball game, and same for the guy who hit his head on the bottom of the swimming pool and has been in a wheel chair ever since.

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        April 12, 2014, 7:51 pm

        That’s Charles Krauthammer.

        But yes, you’re right that Kristol’s speciality is the whole “Israel’s business is our own”. This is the kind of logic that allowed them to push for the Iraq war, and now a war with Iran. As soon as things start to fall apart, just quote Churchill and compare any Iranian leader with Hitler.

        I’m disappointed with the American right. They should have deposed the alien neocons a long time ago. Most of the base don’t like the neocon candidates anyway, but the GOP media establishment – which is by and large controlled by neocons – makes sure to destroy any other candidate. That’s why they are waging war against Rand Paul now. (He has disastrous economic policies, but he’s good on foreign policy, precisely the fact that makes Sheldon Adelson an enemy).

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 13, 2014, 6:33 am

        @ Krauss
        Yep. Paul’s as good as his dad on foreign policy. Rand’s trying to ride the new wave of young voters, e.g., he’s big on right to privacy. I hope the old coots from my generation die off quickly as they make up the all war, all the time freaks, bipartisan as ever. When will we get to see a real discussion of just how much the US spends on the military, on that more than the next dozen biggest spenders and all but two of those are big US allies?

  2. irmep
    irmep
    April 12, 2014, 1:05 pm

    John Dingell was relentless investigating the Israeli/ZOA theft and diversion of weapons-grade uranium from the NUMEC plant in Apollo, PA. That would be a very hard thing for the Conference of Presidents to forget.

    Although he was never able to get warranted prosecutions/consequences for the Israelis, he did state unequivocally that he believed the Zionists in charge of the plant, including smuggler for Israel, David Lowenthal, looted the plant.

    http://irmep.org/ila/nukes/NUMEC/default.asp

    Today, Congress is scrambling to transfer the $500 million cleanup costs and health bill of the undercapitalized smuggling front to U.S. taxpayers, as the Obama adminstration works to keep LBJ-era CIA files out of the public domain.

  3. American
    American
    April 12, 2014, 1:06 pm

    ” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations ”’

    Er…..who elects all these Presidents of the Jews? I’ve never heard of a election day where Jews go to the polls and vote for their Presidents.
    Why do they put up with all these self appointed tribal chieftains and potentates?
    The World Wide Jewish Nation needs a Revolution or a Coup or a Civil war.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      April 12, 2014, 4:09 pm

      ” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations” Er…..who elects all these Presidents of the Jews?

      Jews, Smews this is the “Israel” Lobby we are talking about. J-Street met all of the tribal requirements:

      The Manhattan meeting, held by the conference’s membership committee in preparation for J Street’s application being brought before the full conference on April 30, found that J Street fulfills the administrative and governance requirements in the conference’s bylaws. But most of the discussion focused on J Street’s views on Israel.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        April 12, 2014, 4:20 pm

        J Street is fairly crap anyway so who cares ?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 12, 2014, 4:40 pm

        J Street is fairly crap anyway so who cares ?

        J Street is crap precisely because it is Pro-Israel. The Conference of [self-important] Presidents of Major Jewish Israel Lobby Organizations was organized in 1955 out of a growing awareness that unified action by major American Jewish Pro-Israel organizations was essential to help strengthen American support for the state of Israel. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0005_0_04563.html

      • libra
        libra
        April 12, 2014, 5:20 pm

        @Hostage

        Oh dear, I hope Krauss doesn’t follow that link:

        As of 2005, the Conference membership consisted of 51 national Jewish organizations – Zionist, “defense,” and community-relations, social-service, religious, and fundraising – whose members collectively represent the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community of the United States.

      • puppies
        puppies
        April 12, 2014, 5:54 pm

        @libra – Yeah, so this now seems to be an “Anti-Zionist” site with an official Zionist overseer and censor –Krauss.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        April 13, 2014, 5:15 am

        @Libra
        It is sad when the vast majority of respectable Jewish orgs bet the house on apartheid. There is resilience in diversity. Monoculture is ultra vulnerable. That must be somewhere in the Torah. Or the Kashrut laws.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        April 13, 2014, 12:13 pm

        @libra – Yeah, so this now seems to be an “Anti-Zionist” site with an official Zionist overseer and censor –Krauss.

        Puppies, yesterday I have written one of my most embarrassing comments for a while. I wonder now if you were present in the larger discussions at that point. I can’t remember. Maybe I was in circling around what irritates me about him without being too direct: Fast and easy judgments without the basic knowledge about matters that surface in his argument. For instance: I think one can question if Ken Livingstone is an anti-Semite. He takes it for granted, I am sure without having spent much time to look into matters. But there also are occasionally points, in which I would agree with him.

        And strictly that is what marks him for me from the moment he surfaced here. I think he is struggling to find his position and this results in what I would describe as oscillation in one or the other direction. Sometimes going to far into either direction.

        I surely wouldn’t label him as a Zionist enforcer though, that is polemics and additionally completely unfair. Except it was just the lowest level of personal entertainment there can be: ridiculing others that are not present.

      • American
        American
        April 12, 2014, 6:20 pm

        Hostage says:

        April 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        ” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations” Er…..who elects all these Presidents of the Jews?

        Jews, Smews this is the “Israel” Lobby we are talking about. J-Street met all of the tribal requirements:
        >>>>>>>>>>>

        I know…I was being snarky.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        April 13, 2014, 10:51 am

        I know…I was being snarky.

        I figured as much;-) I just wanted to point out that there are no popular elections, as such. As this membership process illustrates, these are oriental tribal fiefdoms that are awarded to the thralls from time to time by a group of feudal overlords. The lucky winners benefit from network effects, shared staff functions, and adjacent office space. I think that, unlike J Street, most new members are created or spun-off at the behest of the existing members and have an RSVP invitation to join.

  4. LeaNder
    LeaNder
    April 12, 2014, 1:26 pm

    Good points, Phil. For a very personal reason I love the Dershowitz link to Haaretz. It covers a bit of the ground I have long listed as counter-evidence that Dershowitz is in fact a liberal. In other words PEP, or liberal except for Palestine, isn’t a valid description of Dershowitz the élitist concerns enforcer.

    • Pixel
      Pixel
      April 14, 2014, 6:57 pm

      Leander,

      On my page, there are a number of comments that are missing the “reply” links. Thus, I’m replying here to your comment in re: Krauss.

      You wrote, “I think he is struggling to find his position and this results in what I would describe as oscillation in one or the other direction. Sometimes going to far into either direction.”

      You are absolutely correct and I thank you for saying so.

      Personally, I’m a big Krauss fan. A few weeks ago he self-identified as as an early “20-something”. How exciting is that? He’s part of the new generation and I cheer him on. Bearing witness to someone who is engaged in and growing through all of this is a distinct honor because the struggle is as challenging as it is courageous.

  5. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    April 12, 2014, 1:41 pm

    CMJO ( conference of major jewish organization) is big player in US. President attends their meetings, Congress listens to them They get to sit down with local,national,and international public figures and chat with elected people who depend on taxpayers money for their wages and benefits.
    Their ideology also involves some of the extreme views on Goldstone report ,extreme attiude to any criticism of Israeli policies and banning of people who dont toe their official positions .
    I have no problem with their ethnocentric,exclusive, antidemocrtaic viewes and practices including the ideology of manufacturing guilt by association but I have problem with the elected Americans supporting such an organization and providing legitimacy to them .

  6. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    April 12, 2014, 1:53 pm

    Dear Phil,

    You asked: “Has Americans for Peace Now ever criticized AIPAC by name?”

    APN wrote:
    “APN Calls on Congress to Stand up to AIPAC on Problematic Iran Hill Initiatives”
    http://archive.peacenow.org/entries/apn_calls_on_congress_to_stand_up_to_aipac_on_problematic_iran_hill_initiatives

    AIPAC Illustrates Current Threats Facing Israel With Bombing Photo–From 1997
    By Lara Friedman on June 25, 2013
    http://archive.peacenow.org/entries/apns_lara_friedman_at_open_zion_aipac_illustrates_current_threats_facing_israel_with_bombing_photo–

    AIPAC doesn’t speak for me
    http://archive.peacenow.org/entries/aipac_doesnt_speak_for_me

    APN Corrects the Record on the AIPAC “FAQs” Regarding HR 4681
    http://archive.peacenow.org/entries/archive2544

    In addition, may I please ask you a question, Phil, if you get a chance?

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      April 12, 2014, 2:40 pm

      Thanks for that, WJ

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 12, 2014, 3:41 pm

        Thank you, Phil.

        As you can tell, I enjoy reading your blog because of the insight and self-reflection that you bring. It carries over from your days as a hard-hitting journalist.

        However, I would like to please ask you what you meant when you said:

        It’s not like my wife or my friends are very Christian. If they were, we wouldn’t be friends. They respect Christ as a teacher, but mock Christian religious claims and stay away from church.

        Joel Kovel described his friendship with Jesuit human rights activists in Latin America, and there are many other examples of close relationships between Jews and believing Christians in human rights work. So I wanted to please ask if you could show me where you are coming from when you say you would not be friends.

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        April 12, 2014, 5:26 pm

        I dont go for the old-time religions. Pious Jews, Christians or Muslims — at some point the friendship will not work for me.
        And, as Emily said,
        The soul selects her own society
        and then closes the door….
        To that divine majority
        Present no more

        It’s not like I have a lot of friends

      • RudyM
        RudyM
        April 12, 2014, 9:10 pm

        W.Jones, I’ve noticed you coming back to these lines before, and since Phil has finally responded for himself, I will chime in and say that as an ex-Christian, I would say that it can be uncomfortable and awkward to be close to someone who thinks that you are headed to eternal torment unless you buy the belief they are selling. Of course in my case, maybe this is made worse by the fact that it’s members of my family who hold these views.

        In fact, I think coming from a staunchly Christian background probably made it especially attractive to associate with secular or liberal religious Jews when I was in college. (I also quite simply was surrounded by Jews in my particular social niche at Temple University in the 80.) Little did I know I would arrive at a point where I would be calling out widespread liberal Jewish support for Zionism and asking questions about the extent of Jewish power in general.

        More generally, different people look for different things (maybe very different things) in friendship and define “friend” with criteria that vary from the very loose to the very narrow. For me, a certain amount of shared core values tend to be required for friendship.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 13, 2014, 4:26 pm

        Hello, Rudy.

        Thank you for speaking out against abuses of human right, including when liberals turn a blind eye to it. I can also understand what you mean about people who think that if you don’t share their beliefs you will go to hell. I attended an evangelical school and felt it was stifling, like when they talked about creationists. I preferred the Catholic school. Imagine that- a protestant who liked Catholic school better, Rudy. And naturally, the Catholics were serious about their faith, but they did not take an attitude that other religions were going to hell. I did not get communion, and the other students were sympathetic to me about that.

        What that showed me, and what I hope your friendships at Temple showed you, is that one does not need to use religion as a litmus test on whether one can be friends with another person. A person can be serious about religion and not take the view that another person is going to hell or put up a social wall between one person and another. Look at Kovel’s friendships with Catholic clergy in their common efforts to help the poor of Latin America who were being repressed.

        Wouldn’t you say that this can be a kind of awakening when one person can open up to be friends with other people even if they come from other cultures, ethnicities, or religions, Rudy?

        Do you still live in the Mid-Atlantic region?

        Peace.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        April 13, 2014, 9:33 pm

        I struggle with all of these issues. One line really gets to me “not like my wife or my friends are very Christian” The core values that I still retain from being brought up Catholic/Christian are the values that I think Phil in so many ways exemplifies… compassion, deep humanitarian concerns, willing to stand his ground on serious human rights issues. For me Phil and others work here at MW is a stand up example of those alleged core religious values. I find so many hiding behind their alleged religious values. Phil and team are walking the talk

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 13, 2014, 10:05 pm

        Both my parents had Jewish friends, and I have as well, and we are Christian. I’m not interested in picking on Phil, and everyone has his/her own choice of friends.

        I don’t struggle with making friends with people of other cultures and faiths, and I don’t think one should either. If we are in a movement for radical egalitarianism, then there can be no suspicion of anti-semitism or racism. If one were to say that the oppression of blacks, native Americans, or the victims of genocides are not important, then one could think that the person saying those things is racist. But if they oppose those things, then it is with an anti-racist perspective that they turn to the suffering in the Holy Land. As a result, one cannot justifiably suspect people of anti-semitism for making egalitarian arguments. The belief that all people are equal and should have full political rights is not a racist idea.

        What does “very Christian” mean? Christianity means Jesus is the Messiah, or Christ. Someone who is very Christian then, is someone who seriously believes Jesus was the Messiah. There are a wide range of Christians of a range of sects and even some in no sects. Quakers are traditionally a branch of Christians, and Adam worked for the Friends Committee. I think it’s helpful if Phil or others are open about how they feel too. You can and should be nice to people, but you can’t “make” anyone like you.

        Peace.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia
        April 13, 2014, 10:56 pm

        Great comment

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        April 15, 2014, 11:55 am

        @ Kathleen
        Maybe Phil should add, ” not like my wife or my friends are very Jewish”? The whole thing is to get down to what are one’s core values? If they are humanitarian, how can they be religious or racist?

  7. April 12, 2014, 3:21 pm

    The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations consists of mostly racist Zionists who are destroying their own credibility as well as the credibility of the USA around the world. J Street would be more successful if it had nothing to do with this umbrella organization for Zionists who endear themselves to the thuggery of Israel.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 13, 2014, 6:40 am

      Is there a Conference of Presidents of Major American Non-Jewish Organizations?

  8. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    April 12, 2014, 5:27 pm

    RE: “An unbelievable story from the Forward saying that the liberal Zionist group J Street has failed to gain the endorsement of a committee that considers new members for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations because of its supposedly anti-Israel positions.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: So, the New Zealots figuratively/metaphorically continue their march down the road towards Masada! This just goes to show that while history might not necessarily repeat itself, it does often rhyme (as Mark Twain was wont to opine).*

    * Historic recurrence – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_recurrence

  9. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    April 12, 2014, 8:59 pm

    “Will K Street agree to accept my Conference rules that require all members to adhere to consensus positions adopted by my conference, and if K Street will refrain from criticizing other Korean groups.” – Kim Yong-Un

  10. ritzl
    ritzl
    April 12, 2014, 9:50 pm

    So what is J-Street going to do about it? Go “Anti-” (the proverbial ice cube’s chance)? Conform? Beg?

    Whatever happens, it’s going to underscore why liberal Zionism lost the battle for relevance.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      April 13, 2014, 9:33 am

      So what is J-Street going to do about it?

      They will continue to back the Obama administration party line. What that means is that they talk about a hypothetical solution of 2 states for two people living side by side (Fa la la la la, la la la la) and illegal settlements, but when the rubber meets the road, and tens of thousands of illegal units are built in the occupied territory, they still oppose Palestinian recognition @ the UN and claim that Palestinians have to ask for Israel’s consent for their state and statehood.

      Obviously, if Palestine has to ask for the government of Israel’s permission, then the Palestinians should have a right to vote on who gets to serve in it and officiate.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        April 13, 2014, 4:37 pm

        Excellent point. JStreet takes the position that there is abuse against palestinians, that the “answer” is a 2 state solution, that the Israeli government is opposing a 2 State solution, that the answer is for Obama to have “tough talks” with Netanyahu and for Palestinians to get Netanyahu’s permission for a state that he does not want, and that the Israeli government needs to get increased military and economic support regardless.

        It’s much like Ben Gurion’s position and Dershowitz’s except that those two were not interested in thinking about Palestinian suffering. There are hundreds of children in Israeli jails and they are getting abused accoding to the human rights organizations. JStreet talks about the abuse sometimes, its members are fully aware of it, and then it goes with Dershowitz’s positions except that they blame Netanyahu and don’t want to do anything real about it, so in reality they do not give a real way to solve the problem.

        They openly recognize there is suffering but they are strongly against doing anything serious to stop it.

  11. piotr
    piotr
    April 13, 2014, 12:53 am

    I guess Americans for Peace Now would not be admitted to the Conference either. The recent issue of Foreign Policy has an article by John Judis about steady shift inside Zionist movement toward the right wing. Somewhere else (Forward?) it was described that the leaders of most of Jewish organizations are “elected” in a very opaque manner, basically by the major donors.

    In my humble opinion, if the not so right wing organizations crave an umbrella group, they should form Conference of Minor Jewish Organizations. One of the requirements should be that no officer of such an organization should have emoluments larger than President of United States.

    • puppies
      puppies
      April 13, 2014, 1:31 am

      @piotr – What on earth would be the difference made by having yet another brand of Zionists poison the air and water? APN is not admitted, so f*&^ what? Way better to expose the whole bunch’s corruption than having them set up more organizations. Let them also have higher incomes than God himself. That’s good for exposing the shits. Their objective is the same, Zionism; the so-called “liberal ones” are way more dangerous than the openly Nazi ones because they have slightly higher IQ. Adelson or Beinart, it’s the same struggle and the same enemy, only the morons may lose earlier. They are working towards the exact same goal: keeping Palestine without its owners. So fuck them all.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder
      April 14, 2014, 9:33 am

      That’s the correct idea, piotr. Problem is it should quite possibly have happened “yesterday”. People usually don’t give up a save heaven for a more insecure future. Meanwhile you can justify it to yourself. After all one may be able to force minor changes in short and long term strategies. Which maybe you do in fact, at least on the level how positions are communicated. ;)

  12. piotr
    piotr
    April 14, 2014, 9:09 am

    Everything being equal, Adelson has more resources than Beinart. ZOA is basically his sock puppet, and so is Likud supported by his newspaper.

    With resources and clear goal you can achieve more that with no resources and unclear goals, IQ not withstanding. I got impression that it is not Zionist liberals who have the problem but liberals in general. 70 years ago there was some liberal ideology with clear goal, but what remains now is the tendency to split the difference, what the Clintonista called triangulation. They simply lack an internal compass.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 14, 2014, 9:38 am

      The on-going mechanism is simple: Real liberals cannot condone Zionism, which is devoid of universal humanitarian principles.

  13. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    April 15, 2014, 2:27 pm

    W Jones “If we are in a movement for radical egalitarianism, then there can be no suspicion of anti-semitism or racism. If one were to say that the oppression of blacks, native Americans, or the victims of genocides are not important, then one could think that the person saying those things is racist. But if they oppose those things, then it is with an anti-racist perspective that they turn to the suffering in the Holy Land. As a result, one cannot justifiably suspect people of anti-semitism for making egalitarian arguments. The belief that all people are equal and should have full political rights is not a racist idea. ”

    Yes yes yes

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