Trending Topics:

Don’t destroy our dream-castle Israel! (Why the Jewish establishment shut out J Street)

News

The American Jewish establishment voted by a wide margin yesterday to refuse membership to the J Street, a lobby group that has often but mildly criticized Israeli policy.

J Street at first expressed keen disappointment over the vote by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. But today it sent out a rallying cry/fundraising appeal, thanking the Conference for the rejection because it demonstrates the fact that they’re despotic gatekeepers who don’t represent the Jewish community.

Join us in thanking the Conference of Presidents for clarifying exactly why J Street exists and what’s so wrong with how the organized Jewish community conducts the conversation on Israel….

Yesterday’s vote only motivates us to redouble our efforts…

J Street is right that the rejection is a naked display of the brittle orthodoxy of the Israel lobby. There’s no conceivable strategic reason the Conference would kick J Street out: J Street would help them lobby Democrats for Israel, J Street would help their image.

So why did they do it? These leading Jewish organizations have a dream-castle view of Israel that deep down they know is wrong, but they can’t permit even mild criticism of Israel lest that dream castle crumbles away. So when they encounter criticism, they become hysterical, and close ranks, and seek to ostracize the dissenter rather than listening to what the dissenter says.

If the Conference were rational, they would have welcomed J Street in and declared, See the broad base we have! We respect all views! As it is, their See no evil, hear no evil posture will only draw attention to their sclerotic views, and who else they can’t listen to. If you read Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew, he says that Jews are attracted to rationalism, to law and science, because it is one of the only weapons against the irrationality of anti-Semitism. Here you have a situation where it’s flipped, where there is no rationalism at all.

J Street’s statement yesterday was eloquent on the nature of Jewish community:

We are especially disappointed that a minority of the farthest right wing organizations within the Conference has chosen to close the Conference’s doors to this emerging generation of inspiring and passionate young leaders. In the long run, it does a grave disservice to the American Jewish community to drive some of our brightest young people away and to tell them that there is no place for them in an ever-shrinking communal tent where the conversation on Israel’s future is limited.

We agree. We look forward to hearing from a community that welcomes Max Blumenthal and Alissa Wise and Rebecca Vilkomerson and Hannah Mermelstein.

That day will only come when the timid Jewish establishment emulates someone from the older generation: Henry Siegman. Once at its heart of the Jewish establishment as the director of the American Jewish Congress, Rabbi Siegman had the courage to challenge his own deepest beliefs to the point that members of his own family don’t speak to him. He is today recognized as one of the most courageous voices in the Jewish community, and he will have that reputation long after this pack of trembling sheep has disappeared over the horizon.

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

50 Responses

  1. David Doppler
    David Doppler on May 1, 2014, 1:10 pm

    “J Street is right that the rejection is a naked display of the brittle orthodoxy of the Israel lobby.”

    To further mix that great metaphor, consider that, with brittle structures, it takes only a stiff breeze to blow them flat.

  2. Donald
    Donald on May 1, 2014, 1:36 pm

    The pathetic thing is that J Street is such a weak critic of Israel. Which just verifies the point Phil and James make–no criticism allowed at all. These people are to Judaism what, say, the hardest line creationists are to Christianity. The analogy isn’t perfect, but the similarity lies in the fact that both groups think their entire worldview will collapse if they allow even a tiny bit of rationality to creep past their defenses.

  3. Citizen
    Citizen on May 1, 2014, 1:43 pm

    “J Street opposed Goldstone, supported Iran sanctions and has never opposed any administration position regarding Israel at the UN. In fact, J Street is, as I’ve often written, Jews for Obama. It’s the cheerleading section for the Democratic Party with an emphasis on its Mideast policy. It’s a little to the left of Aipac and most of the Lobby, but not by much. That’s why Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer were absolutely correct (and I disagreed with them at the time) in including J Street as a member of the Lobby. Of course they are.

    That’s why it’s absolutely ludicrous for the Conference to reject J Street. It’s like a human body rejecting its left hand. It makes no sense.” http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/05/01/conference-of-presidents-rejects-j-street/

    Member organizations of Conference of Presidents: http://www.conferenceofpresidents.org/about/membershttp://www.conferenceofpresidents.org/about/members

    • Polly
      Polly on May 1, 2014, 5:14 pm

      I understand people thinking J Street’s function may be to act as a sort of lightning rod arm of the lobby, drawing attention away from the more militant attitudes of AIPAC and providing “puppet” support for Palestinians but I don’t know, I saw Ben Ami debate Dershowitz a few years back (you can find on Youtube) and if he was merely putting on an act he sure could have fooled me. As Newclench says somewhere here J Street may well have a real agenda independent of the lobby.
      The trouble is anyone trying to appease both sides of this issue usually finds themselves equally vilified by both sides. Just ask Peter Beinart.

      • JeffB
        JeffB on May 2, 2014, 9:13 am

        @Ecru

        I’m going to respond here because the other comments are closed.

        Which are you Jeffy, thick as two short planks or crazier than a sack or rabid weasels? Combination of the two maybe?

        This sort of comment makes you not worth responding to at all. You really do need to work on your manners.

        Yes because we all know that quoting and citing historians and archaeologists who specialise in this period and area is of course contradicting them…..You’re the one contradicting here not I.

        A standard modern text for this period is Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 By Guy Halsall. He talks in great detail about racial / physical changes that occurred as a result of migrations.Walter Pohl considers tribes to be cultural and talks about the ethnic groups as: Avars, Bulgarians, Germans, Slavs, Romans and charts their migrations. I see no evidence for your theory that modern historians don’t support a theory of mass migration.

        corrected your use of the term “Dark Ages” with, amongst other more correct terms “Migration Period.”

        That wasn’t a correction. Dark Ages is a still well understood term for the period after the fall of Rome. And frankly one that was dismissed for PC reasons not historical ones. Migration period of course is common for the obvious reason there were mass migrations.

        The Protestant Reformation again massive change in less than a generation.

        The Protestant Reformation obviously was a change. That change took several generations and it was nowhere near the scale of the changes between people replacement. Languages remained the same, most culture remained the same. Heck the religion the very core didn’t even change that much. Even after the huge shifts in 19th century Christianity, most Christian doctrines are shared between Protestants and Catholics. The debates over the 5 solas are fairly subtle.

        Why marriage? People only copy things if they marry into another group?

        Large changes, yes. Cultures tend to blend where there is just small copying. Americans may adopt Japanese anime, they don’t because the like anime adopt Japanese as their language or view their social interactions with business in primarily relationship terms.

        A name for the Visigoths? MAYBE an ancestral group, but referring to the same culture?

        Your claim was that the term wasn’t used until late. I gave an example of it being used early and being identified. Your argument is with Notitia Dignitatum who identifies the two groups not me.

        An exact date please [for dispersion of Jews]. Considering there’s been NO evidence of depopulation in Palestine published I’m interested how you’ve found it when it’s escaped every archaeologist working in the area.

        An exact date 70-73 CE.

        No evidence. What about every single contemporaneous source and to the best of my knowledge pretty much every modern source.

        Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
        Josephus, War of the Jews
        who puts it at 1.1m dead 97k sold into slavery (I’ll agree 1.1m seems way too high but he is our best source). We have records of huge migrations into Babylonian Jewish communities from Judea which in your theory don’t happen. You want more modern Shanks, Dimont… Heck Cambridge Ancient History talks about the inhabitants being killed off who weren’t in the northern areas that had surrendered to Rome early.

      • JeffB
        JeffB on May 2, 2014, 9:14 am

        Hi can you move this to the main thread. This shouldn’t be under Polly’s comment.

        Actually I’ll do the move to the main thread. Please just delete this comment and the parent and leave the new one on the main thread.

    • piotr
      piotr on May 1, 2014, 7:20 pm

      Ludicrous or not, this is the logic of orthodoxy, “the true way”. The most hated are those whose views are the closest, because they undermine the purity of the only correct way with their insidious imitation.

      How can the Zionists call politicians to the carpet for such Jew-hating slurs like “West Bank” or “occupation” if a Jewish organization in good standing says that too? Now this works only in GOP, where “minor Jewish organizations” are simply perceived as leftist trash.

      What is needed is the purge of Major Jewish Organizations from the sympathizers of J Street. I really hope that they will do it, let us wait and see.

    • on May 1, 2014, 8:19 pm

      J Street is controlled opposition. They never came into being until acknowledgement of and criticism of the Israel Lobby began to be seen. They are the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      • jd65
        jd65 on May 1, 2014, 11:41 pm

        “J Street is controlled opposition. They never came into being until acknowledgement of and criticism of the Israel Lobby began to be seen. They are the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Giles is exactly right. Except that the word “opposition” is too strong. Understudy, perhaps?

        I attended a J Street event a few years back. Disappointingly, my impression from this event was that J Street is simply another example of the prescience found in Chris Hedges’s Death Of The Liberal Class. Hedges writes that the true left/liberal class in America – the one that used to fight for universal rights and justice through the beginning of the 20th century (many of whom were Jews incidentally) – has been diluted to the point of being a useless shadow of the moderate/conservative “center.” Over the last century, true liberal values and activism have been neutralized in this country and replaced with pseudo-liberal organizations like J Street. Progressive ideas live on in diluted rhetoric but not in action. Instead of a sincere emphasis on the need to end the illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank (to my memory, the word illegal was never used in reference to the occupied territories during the event), with concrete and specific policies toward that end, J Street and Ben-Ami presented the same old UN bashing, military worshipping, “right to self-defense, right to exist, right to self-determination (for Israel), right of return (for Jews only)” Israeli-centric blather. Truly progressive, liberal attitudes place “Jewish rights” as a subset of “Human rights,” not above them.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on May 2, 2014, 9:05 am

      citizen, I can tell you why they did that, based on expertise in Algemeiner articles. They are actually wolf in sheep skin. They only said that, since they wanted to sneak their way into the palace of Jewish consent. Although everyone that has eyes to see knows that they actually are, terrorist sympathizers. ;)

  4. clenchner
    clenchner on May 1, 2014, 2:03 pm

    Maybe the rejection is irrational. But Occam’s Razor would suggest that this is a more complicated answer, and less likely to be true. Making assumptions about the motives of others’ – how do you like it when that happens to you?
    J Street represents a particular camp in the Jewish world, one opposed by the right wingers and by the Palestinian solidarity movement. Trying to flatten everything into a ‘this or that’ dichotomy is, aside from anything else, quite undemocratic. Can’t there be 3 camps? Or 5? Or 10? Keep in mind that J Street and say, the Palestinian Authority, are broadly aligned with each other. Right wing Jews are opposed to that alignment. So are left wing solidarity activists.

    • Donald
      Donald on May 1, 2014, 2:59 pm

      Depends on what you mean by “rational” and “irrational”. In one sense, Christian fundamentalists are being perfectly rational to denounce radioactive dating, the fossil record, and molecular phylogenies. If mainstream science is right, their belief system is wrong. They’ve painted themselves into a corner where it’s all or nothing. Liberal Christians can be more flexible and accept science. Fundamentalists can’t. Granted their belief system their rejection of science is rational–but if you look at the scientific evidence it’s not.

      Same thing here. To some degree, liberal Zionists can accept the unpleasant facts about Israeli behavior–the most liberal Zionists like Jerry Slater accept all of them. But conservative Zionists can’t accept any criticism of Israel. And in a way, they’re right. What Israel is doing now is not really any different from what it did in 1948. Zionists could defend a 2SS on pragmatic grounds, saying that it’s too late to atone for the past and maybe the two sides couldn’t co-exist in a democratic 1SS or whatever, but that’s a dangerous path to go down, since it’s not clear what is pragmatic and what isn’t–it’s easier for rightwing Zionists just to reject every criticism and stick to the purity of their beliefs. Besides, Israel clearly wants to steal more land.

      • American
        American on May 2, 2014, 1:41 am

        ‘To some degree, liberal Zionists can accept the unpleasant facts about Israeli behavior–the most liberal Zionists like Jerry Slater accept all of them.’……Donald

        The question to ask a liberal zionist is how far they would go to keep a Jewish State.
        If the Palestines had to be “transfered”or turned into refugees or forever kept in ghettos to preserve the Jewish ruled State would they accept that in order to keep Israel’s Jewishness?
        I’m afraid they would…with all the proper expressions of regret…but they would.

        Here’s the very humane zionist Beinart:
        Peter Beinart‏@PeterBeinartApr 30
        @HenMazzig @haaretzcom @JohnKerry – no, i want a palestinian state so they won’t be israelis

        Here’s a liberal zionist having a wet dream about nuking everyone before letting go of Israel:
        MJ (Mike) Rosenberg‏@MJayRosenberg7h
        These idiots worrying that Kerry said the A word ignore fact that Israel has 200 nuclear weapons and a great army. Sticks and stones….

        From their own expressions and positions what do you think they would chose if Israel them forced to? They are no help. In fact they just serve to keep it all going by mudding the waters and pretending there is a solution besides the hard one of outside force on Israel.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on May 2, 2014, 9:33 am

        To some degree, liberal Zionists can accept the unpleasant facts about Israeli behavior–the most liberal Zionists like Jerry Slater accept all of them.

        Donald, that is all it needs for me, apparently. In a nutshell, I simply don’t want to be lied to. Seems I have even forgiven Jerry by now, as I recall it, that he considered me an antisemite based on my comment on his blog, quite possibly without using that term frankly.

        . And in a way, they’re right. What Israel is doing now is not really any different from what it did in 1948. Zionists could defend a 2SS on pragmatic grounds, saying that it’s too late to atone for the past and maybe the two sides couldn’t co-exist in a democratic 1SS or whatever, but that’s a dangerous path to go down, since it’s not clear what is pragmatic and what isn’t–it’s easier for rightwing Zionists just to reject every criticism and stick to the purity of their beliefs. Besides, Israel clearly wants to steal more land.

        In a nutshell, whatever happened cannot be simply reversed. So far we managed to uphold our narrative “against the wrath of the gentiles”. I agree with you, their perception is 100% correct. Where I beg to differ is the resulting appropriate “medicine”, see above.

        The rest is: Is anti-Judaism here to stay? As it has always for thousands of years, does it have to be recorded only with the simply assumption that all it does is mutate into other Zeitgeist appearances? Or is it possible the world “wakes up” one day and decides we are all humans, and we should leave each other space and chances to live?

        * based on text experiences strictly I am allergic to wake up calls. On the other hand a German court, as reported today in the news, decided that the assault of several “extremely right minded” guys on a Turkish business owner (again), where not motivated by racist or neo-Nazi thought …

  5. American
    American on May 1, 2014, 3:01 pm

    Even J-Street gets rejected from the I inner circle?
    Well that ought to reinforce how extreme the grand masters of the I establishment really are.
    Evidently the COP org doesnt think they need any more pro Israel back up.

  6. James Canning
    James Canning on May 1, 2014, 3:11 pm

    Are rich and powerful Jews helping undermining the national security of the American people, by enabling the continuing growth of the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank?

    Max Hastings (Sir Max) thinks the foolish US support for Israel is hurting the UK badly.

    • on May 1, 2014, 8:21 pm

      Pro Israel people are in charge in the USA — of our money, over who gets called a terrorist, even over the extra-judicial killing of American citizens

  7. Sycamores
    Sycamores on May 1, 2014, 3:24 pm

    There’s no conceivable strategic reason the Conference would kick J Street out

    keeping J Street out makes sense. better the devil you know which can be easily manipulated then to leave them in and creating a void that could be fill by a group that is far more critical of Israeli policies and near impossible to manipulate.

  8. Shira Robinson
    Shira Robinson on May 1, 2014, 4:06 pm

    Excellent, thanks for this!

  9. brenda
    brenda on May 1, 2014, 5:01 pm

    The Times of Israel is running a couple of pieces on this story today:

    Reform Movement May Bolt President’s Conference in Wake of J Street Rejection (piece cites this as reason behind rejection)
    “J Street is a strong critic of the policies of the current Israeli government and backs the Obama administration’s policy of engagement with Iran, which many pro-Israel groups oppose.”

    Read more: Reform movement may bolt Presidents Conf. in wake of J Street rejection | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/reform-movement-may-bolt-presidents-conf-in-wake-of-j-street-rejection/#ixzz30V0Rhn9x

    Another Israeli press source cites ZOA as rejecting of J Street because of its support of BDS (??)

    off topic, I’m getting a little worried about no hand-off to UN/EU after April 29 deadline, Kerry apparently keeping future “peace process” talks under his purview, and UN wanting talks to go on under US sponsorship. I hope this is just a case of everyone legitimately waiting to see how Palestinians do in new government/elections rather than a case of “after you, Alphonse”

    • Xpat
      Xpat on May 1, 2014, 7:00 pm

      This shines a light on the rift between the people who finance the Jewish community and the spiritual leaders. 800 rabbis have publicly identified with J Street despite its perceived edginess in many of their congregations. It’s likely that many more are secret admirers. So far, it’s clear who’s been calling the shots.

    • Hostage
      Hostage on May 1, 2014, 8:32 pm

      Hostage, can we hear more along this line please? Is there a link for this kind of breaking news?

      The 15 Conventions have gotten quite a bit of press coverage. The state or organization that acts as the depositary is obliged to send written depositary notices to all of the existing state parties when there is a new contracting state. So you can check the UN Treaty databases and the Depositary Notices here: https://treaties.un.org/pages/CNs.aspx You only need to select Palestine from the drop-down list and notices for the last six months. You can leave rest blank. Here is an example for the UN Torture Convention: https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2014/CN.184.2014-Eng.pdf

      The ICRC has lists that you can navigate by treaty, by date, etc. It has not been updated yet and still shows:

      Palestine : On 21 June 1989, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs received a letter from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva informing the Swiss Federal Council “that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, entrusted with the functions of the Government of the State of Palestine by decision of the Palestine National Council, decided, on 4 May 1989, to adhere to the Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the two Protocols additional thereto”.

      On 13 September 1989, the Swiss Federal Council informed the States that it was not in a position to decide whether the letter constituted an instrument of accession, “due to the uncertainty within the international community as to the existence or non-existence of a State of Palestine”.

      The notification from the Swiss Federal Council to the Governments of the States parties to the Geneva Conventions is already up on the UNISPAL website http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/1FF93AEC8D3186CF85257CBC00682857

      • brenda
        brenda on May 2, 2014, 7:21 am

        thanks for getting back to me, Hostage. I’ll spend some time with these links, hopefully some good news to be found somewhere.

  10. pabelmont
    pabelmont on May 1, 2014, 5:44 pm

    I like the idea of a fragile dream-castle. Let’s switch the image to a sand castle, evidently very fragile. The BIG-ZION boyz circle around their sand-castle to prevent anyone from kicking it down (that’d be J-Street, to say nothing of BDS, etc.), and they seem able to do it, year after year. — — But the waves are coming in, the sea-level is rising, and though they can keep many people at bay, the level of the (bay?) water is rising and will wipe the dream-sand-castle out sooner or later, and surely they know this.

    Why do they keep on keepin’ on, then? Because this is the Middle East and they are scorpions.

  11. James North
    James North on May 1, 2014, 6:32 pm

    Rabbi Henry Siegman. A moral giant.

  12. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on May 1, 2014, 6:48 pm

    Talking about destroying dream-castles, has anyone wondered why D0nald Fuck Duck Sterling was thrown under the bus, faster than I can yell “Mom?”

    Because there has to be a reason, I did some digging and found out the following:

    2% of the population owns 50% of all NBA teams.

    The NBA commissioner, Silver, also belongs to that 2%, as does/did his predecessor, Stern [30 years, 1984 – 2014].

    Does anyone know why that is?

    Because I may have made mistakes, I publish the list below along with this comment, so proper corrections can be made.

    NBA club owners:

    1. Atlanta Hawks – not sure

    2. Minnesota Timberwolves – not sure

    3. Orlando Magic – not sure

    4. Washington Wizards - Ted Leonsis -not sure, because works with several Jewish partners

    5. Charlotte Bobcats – African American

    6. Sacramento Kings – Indian

    7. Detroit Pistons – Palestinian?

    8. Denver Nuggets – Caucasian

    9. Los Angeles Lakers – Caucasian

    10. Memphis Grizzlies – Caucasian

    11. New Orleans Pelicans – Caucasian

    12. New York Knicks – Caucasian

    13. San Antonio Spurs – Caucasian

    14. Utah Jazz -Caucasian

    *******

    15. Boston Celtics – H. Irving Grousbeck, Wycliffe Grousbeck,

    16. Brooklyn Nets - Mikhail Prokhorov, Bruce Ratner

    17. Chicago Bulls – Jerry Reinsdorf

    18. Cleveland Cavaliers – Dan Gilbert, Gary Gilbert, Gordon Gund

    19. Dallas Mavericks – Mark Cuban

    20. Golden State Warriors – Peter Guber, Joe Lacob

    21. Houston Rockets – Leslie Alexander

    22. Indiana Pacers – Herbert Simon

    23. Los Angeles Clippers – Donald Sterling

    24. Miami Heat – Micky Arison

    25. Milwaukee Bucks – Herb Kohl [pending sale to Wesley Edens & Marc Lasry]

    26. Oklahoma City Thunder – Clayton Bennett

    27. Philadelphia 76ers – Joshua Harris, Adam Aron

    28. Phoenix Suns – Robert Sarver

    29. Portland Trail Blazers – Paul Allen

    30. Toronto Raptors – Larry Tanenbaum

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich on May 2, 2014, 2:51 am

      Additionally: Owners meet, hope to move quickly on Sterling

      The 10-member committee held a conference call to discuss ”the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers,” NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement.

      Minnesota owner Glen Taylor chairs the committee that also includes
      Miami’s Micky Arison,
      the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss,
      Oklahoma City’s Clay Bennett,
      New York’s James Dolan,
      Boston’s Wyc Grousbeck,
      San Antonio’s Peter Holt,
      Phoenix’s Robert Sarver,
      Indiana’s Herb Simon, and
      Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum.

      • Shuki
        Shuki on May 2, 2014, 7:28 pm

        What kind of person with a deranged, bigoted mind would even think to compile such a list?

        No anti-semitism to see here… move along now.

        Should we make them wear yellow stars?

      • Hostage
        Hostage on May 2, 2014, 8:12 pm

        What kind of person with a deranged, bigoted mind would even think to compile such a list?

        Brian Mahoney, the Associated Press Basketball Writer and the NBA stupid.

        No anti-semitism to see here… move along now. Should we make them wear yellow stars?

        No, the only racist remarks are being tossed around by you, and of course Sterling. Stay classy.

  13. talknic
    talknic on May 1, 2014, 6:49 pm

    LOL The bad cop disavows its good cop!

    • Sycamores
      Sycamores on May 1, 2014, 8:03 pm

      @ Talknic,

      spot on, it has to be disavowed. J Street can’t be good cop and join the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations at the same time, it makes no sense.

      J Street is ineffectual it’s a paper tiger and the first gust on wind will blow it away.

      Yesterday’s vote only motivates us to redouble our efforts…

      good luck with that.

    • Philip Munger
      Philip Munger on May 1, 2014, 11:05 pm

      Or ignoring LBJ’s pearl of wisdom (perhaps uttered many times), “It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.”

      He was talking about the wisdom or utility of firing J. Edgar Hoover.

  14. Shuki
    Shuki on May 1, 2014, 10:07 pm

    The vast majority of Jews are smart enough to recognize the importance of a strong Israeli state for the larger Jewish population.

    • talknic
      talknic on May 1, 2014, 11:36 pm

      Shuki “The vast majority of Jews are smart enough to recognize the importance of a strong Israeli state for the larger Jewish population”

      Instead of a weak willed Israeli state in breach of International Law and the UN Charter at the behest of stupid illegal settlers and successive stupid Israeli Governments who have created so many illegal facts on the ground in territory “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”” since 1948 that Israel cannot now afford to adhere to its legal obligations as a UN Member state without going bankrupt?

  15. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia on May 1, 2014, 10:55 pm

    The rejection how’s how extreme the mainstream organizations are. The desire to be included shows how feeble pathetic,and morally bankrupt the alternative to the mainstream body is .
    Choice is between the worse and the worst.

  16. wondering jew
    wondering jew on May 2, 2014, 2:35 am

    Faced with the choice of withdrawal (from the West Bank) or annexation of the West Bank, most supporters of Israel prefer the 3rd choice: delay and status quo. As Roger Cohen has pointed out this policy is sustainable (at least in the near future). J Street advocates withdrawal because they reject the status quo and the possibility of annexation.

    I think the position of delay (status quo) is understandable from the point of view that weak human beings will choose the least painful alternative and currently of the 3 alternatives stated, it is the least painful, and if not really unpainful, it certainly promises the least dislocation for the Jews of Israel. As such these status quo-niks, really don’t wish to be reminded that procrastination is not a virtue and thus they really don’t want to hear Jeremy Ben Ami ever, at all, but certainly not inside their tent.

    As far as those who advocate not only annexing the West Bank, but annexing Gaza as well and a full return of the refugees from 1948, personally I think that allowing them to speak to audiences at Jewish high schools, Hillel organizations and JCC’s is the best way for these people and their advocacy to bring home to mainstream Jews that the policy of delay is short sighted and seems to depend on some miracle down the road. The essence of Zionism (or one of them) seems to me to be, “one must not depend on a miracle” and this delay “strategy” seems to go against that. I certainly would not invite JVP to join the council of Jewish organizations. It would be silly. But to invite them to speak at a synagogue or a Hillel would be sensible for the purposes that I outlined. Those that see delay as the best tactic, obviously see things differently and are not tolerant of hearing other opinions that will hurt their cause.

    I do not really understand the purpose of the council of presidents, but I do understand the purpose of those who wish to delay a decision.

    • talknic
      talknic on May 2, 2014, 4:47 am

      @ yonah fredman “Faced with the choice of withdrawal (from the West Bank) or annexation of the West Bank, most supporters of Israel ..”

      A) haven’t a clue or ignore that fact that it is actually a LEGAL obligation for Israel to withdraw from all non-Israeli territories negotiations or not.

      B) think Israel can somehow annex territory unilaterally

      “…prefer the 3rd choice: delay and status quo”

      the illegal option … cute

      Say … why doesn’t Israel just fes up, tell its purposefully misinformed citizens the truth for once, pack up all its illegal settlers and p*ss off back to Israel?

      • James Canning
        James Canning on May 2, 2014, 1:34 pm

        Option C: Continue to grow the illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

    • Hostage
      Hostage on May 2, 2014, 5:02 am

      As Roger Cohen has pointed out this policy is sustainable (at least in the near future).

      No he’s just whistling past the graveyard. Here’s your wake-up call. Some of the organizations have vanishingly small memberships, but describe themselves as major organizations anyway. They get to cast a vote that carries the same weight as all the other members. The Reform and Conservative movements, representing millions, are threatening to leave the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations over the J Street vote. They say the organization no longer represent the views of the Jewish community and are demanding reforms. Keep in mind that J Street met all of the necessary criteria and were turned away for ideological reasons. See: Reform Jews threaten to leave Conference of Presidents
      After rejection of J Street’s membership bid, Conservative Jews also call for major overhaul. http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.588581

    • JeffB
      JeffB on May 2, 2014, 9:31 am

      @yonah

      I think Bennett is right. There isn’t going to be an annexation of the West Bank, but rather an annexation of Area C and some of Area B. Heck Israel could conduct elections in each town of Mandate Palestine allowing the people to vote whether they want to be under the PA or Israel and pretty much get the territory they want now from clear cut self determination. Delaying a legal resolution allowed for Israel to change the facts on the ground.

      Another ten years might be useful. This creates a situation where the builders and the people who originally bought the homes are gone and replaced by others who now just live there. The money and the contracts become convoluted. That makes any talk of “moving the settlers out” to become a monstrous injustice where the original settlers got huge profits and the people being financially devastated would be mostly lower middle class.

      I suspect that even Europeans would find that policy appalling. Which would allow the Europeans to sign onto the idea of land swaps rather than ’67 borders.

      I don’t see any support in Israel or the Jewish community for annexing Gaza. I’ve never heard a good reason to do it.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on May 2, 2014, 11:49 pm

        JeffB- The annexation proposed by Bennett is not something that the United States would approve of, nor should it, unless the unannexed territory is ceded independence and a free border with Jordan. But such an annexation (which would include ceding independence to any nonannexed territory) is not going to happen. Netanyahu with his current coalition (because it includes Lapid) will not annex an inch of territory and the idea that he would annex Area C or Area B, is preposterous, given his realpolitik. Netanyahu is of the same mindset as Yitzchak Shamir, do nothing. Status quo all the way. Sharon was a doer and that’s why he withdrew troops from Gaza. Netanyahu is not a doer, he’s a talker.

      • talknic
        talknic on May 3, 2014, 1:55 am

        yonah fredman ” unless the unannexed territory is ceded independence and a free border with Jordan. But such an annexation (which would include ceding independence to any nonannexed territory) is not going to happen.”

        Care to interpret ….thx

        “Netanyahu is not a doer, he’s a talker”

        The illegal settlements expand without Netanyahu’s approval? WOW!!! I wonder if he knows

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak on May 3, 2014, 2:46 am

        yonah fredman:

        … the idea that [Netanyahu] would annex Area C or Area B, is preposterous, given his realpolitik.

        What consequences does he fear?

  17. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius on May 2, 2014, 5:35 am

    ”These leading Jewish organizations have a dream-castle view of Israel that deep down they know is wrong, but they can’t permit even mild criticism of Israel lest that dream castle crumbles away. So when they encounter criticism, they become hysterical, and close ranks, and seek to ostracize the dissenter rather than listening to what the dissenter says”

    This is absolutely true- and not only for right-wing Zionists, but for so-called ‘liberal Zionists’ like J-Street too. After all, J Street only ever offered very mild criticism of Israel, and never questioned the essential ‘rightness’ of Zionism.

    But the same attitude can be seen from almost all Zionists, ‘soft’ or not. Witness how hysterical they are about BDS, after years of carping about how the Palestinians should try non-violent resistance. Why? Because boycott – the ultimate in non-violent resistance – forces them to declare themselves. If they support BDS, they also have to give up the cherished narrative of how the ‘two sides’ are pretty much equivalent in moral status. They have to admit, crucially, that Israel is NOT the victim here, but an aggressor that needs to be punished – even if only in a relatively mild, not-violent way. For the vast majority of Zionists, admitting this represents a psychological leap they are not prepared to make, because doing so goes against everything they have been raised to believe – that Israel, and by extension all Jews, can only ever be a victim.

    And that, they cannot, and will not, do.

    • Donald
      Donald on May 2, 2014, 11:27 pm

      “But the same attitude can be seen from almost all Zionists, ‘soft’ or not. Witness how hysterical they are about BDS, after years of carping about how the Palestinians should try non-violent resistance. Why? Because boycott – the ultimate in non-violent resistance – forces them to declare themselves. ”

      I think you’re right. What most meant by nonviolent resistance was that the Palestinians passively submit to the occupation and wait until the Israelis decide what to give them. There would be “dialogue” and “process” and eventually, maybe, the Israelis would allow the Palestinians to keep some fraction of whatever land the Israelis didn’t want. Or maybe not. So long as the Palestinians are quiet, there really would be no need for the “peace process” to give the Palestinians anything.

  18. LeaNder
    LeaNder on May 2, 2014, 7:42 am

    Very, very good article James, Phil and congratulations to J Street: “every cloud has got a silver lining”. Paradoxically enough is the best that could happen and perfect free advertisement. ;)

    Besides if I am not completely mistaken occasionally one witnesses J Street’s member as important dissenters in debates. I seem to remember that surfaced more recently.

  19. JeffB
    JeffB on May 2, 2014, 9:15 am

    @Ecru

    I’m going to respond here because the other comments are closed.

    Which are you Jeffy, thick as two short planks or crazier than a sack or rabid weasels? Combination of the two maybe?

    This sort of comment makes you not worth responding to at all. You really do need to work on your manners.

    Yes because we all know that quoting and citing historians and archaeologists who specialise in this period and area is of course contradicting them…..You’re the one contradicting here not I.

    A standard modern text for this period is Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 By Guy Halsall. He talks in great detail about racial / physical changes that occurred as a result of migrations.Walter Pohl considers tribes to be cultural and talks about the ethnic groups as: Avars, Bulgarians, Germans, Slavs, Romans and charts their migrations. I see no evidence for your theory that modern historians don’t support a theory of mass migration.

    corrected your use of the term “Dark Ages” with, amongst other more correct terms “Migration Period.”

    That wasn’t a correction. Dark Ages is a still well understood term for the period after the fall of Rome. And frankly one that was dismissed for PC reasons not historical ones. Migration period of course is common for the obvious reason there were mass migrations.

    The Protestant Reformation again massive change in less than a generation.

    The Protestant Reformation obviously was a change. That change took several generations and it was nowhere near the scale of the changes between people replacement. Languages remained the same, most culture remained the same. Heck the religion the very core didn’t even change that much. Even after the huge shifts in 19th century Christianity, most Christian doctrines are shared between Protestants and Catholics. The debates over the 5 solas are fairly subtle.

    Why marriage? People only copy things if they marry into another group?

    Large changes, yes. Cultures tend to blend where there is just small copying. Americans may adopt Japanese anime, they don’t because the like anime adopt Japanese as their language or view their social interactions with business in primarily relationship terms.

    A name for the Visigoths? MAYBE an ancestral group, but referring to the same culture?

    Your claim was that the term wasn’t used until late. I gave an example of it being used early and being identified. Your argument is with Notitia Dignitatum who identifies the two groups not me.

    An exact date please [for dispersion of Jews]. Considering there’s been NO evidence of depopulation in Palestine published I’m interested how you’ve found it when it’s escaped every archaeologist working in the area.

    An exact date 70-73 CE.

    No evidence. What about every single contemporaneous source and to the best of my knowledge pretty much every modern source.

    Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
    Josephus, War of the Jews
    who puts it at 1.1m dead 97k sold into slavery (I’ll agree 1.1m seems way too high but he is our best source). We have records of huge migrations into Babylonian Jewish communities from Judea which in your theory don’t happen. You want more modern Shanks, Dimont… Heck Cambridge Ancient History talks about the inhabitants being killed off who weren’t in the northern areas that had surrendered to Rome early.

  20. piotr
    piotr on May 2, 2014, 10:19 am

    I thought that it would be more logical for J Street to participate in another umbrella group, like Presidents of Minor Jewish Organizations. However, I learned more about PMJO from the Times of Israel link above. The leaders of Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism are unhappy, and talk about changing the rules or leaving. One complain is that there are about 40 organizations there, and each has one vote even though most are tiny, and the vote was secret.

    There was also a story before (in Forward? a while back) that basically many of these organizations are donor driven astro-turfs with totally opaque ways of choosing the leadership.

Leave a Reply