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January 25, 2017 / 27 Tevet, 5777
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JStreet’s Hagel ‘Victory’ is on American Jewry

Congratulations, JStreet, you won before you even started! Perhaps you can save your breath, energy and George Soros' and god knows who else's money and go home.

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The Jerusalem Post reports today that JStreet, the only lobby dedicated to opposing and putting pressure on Israel, is claiming Hagel’s confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Defense a “victory.”

That’s funny, because JStreet is probably one of the Jewish organizations whose stance mattered least of all, and Hagel is a Secretary of Defense who’s approval was filibustered and who received the most nay votes in all of American history. If this is a show of JStreet power, then those of us who are actually pro-Israel have something to be thankful for.

And what was the battle that was won? JStreet lobbied for the President’s policy. Opposing the president in foreign policy is always an uphill battle. It doesn’t take an Israel lobby to get the president’s nomination through, especially when his party controls the Senate. (Though I admit, it’s useful to have Jews telling Americans to override their natural moral perspective on Israel-related issues).

But there is a victory in there somewhere – perhaps for clarity.

JStreet supported the president in his Israel policy, just as most of American Jewry has done since the days of FDR, when the American government did nothing to save millions of Jews, took part in an informal global conspiracy not to grant fleeing Jews refuge, and by acquiescing in British requests not to do anything which would force the British to let Jews into Palestine.

Jews like then ZOA president Stephen Wise did their best to defend Roosevelt against the “extremists.” Today those extremists include, ironically, the Zionist Organization of America, as well as the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel. Even more ironically, those whom the respectable Jews tried to silence were the Jabotinskyite Hillel Kook & Co., a group which included Irgun commander Yitzchak Ben Ami, the father of JStreet head Jeremy Ben Ami.

Take U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s support for Hagel. A word from Schumer, a senior Democratic senator, could have forced Obama to withdraw Hagel’s nomination. A word from AIPAC, which remained silent, could have forced Schumer to oppose the nomination or at least not publicly announce that all of his fears had been calmed in a short meeting with Hagel. AIPAC was silent because they need to work with the government – the classic Diaspora Jewish explanation for going along with anti-Zionist policies. Schumer put up no opposition – who knows why? Because he too wanted the President’s support for something? Because of party loyalty? Because he was duped with assurances that from now on Obama would leave Israel alone.

What should be clear now is that while JStreet may be a minor group, it is only doing what most American Jewish leaders already agree to, putting the president’s policy ahead of what common sense and Israel’s obvious interests dictate. American Jews support Democratic presidents. American Jews support Palestinian statehood. American Jews support all other sorts of Israeli concessions because they would rather have the moral high ground than the actual high ground. American Jews criticize Israel to show they are fair observers.

So congratulations, JStreet, you won before you even started! Perhaps you can save your breath, energy and George Soros’ and God knows who else’s money and go home.

Daniel Tauber

About the Author: Daniel Tauber is the Executive Director of Likud Anglos, and a former Opinions Editor at JewishPress.com. Daniel is also an attorney admitted to practice law in Israel and New York and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. You can follow him on facebook and twitter.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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  1. Charlie Hall says:

    "the American government did nothing to save millions of Jews, took part in informal global conspiracy not to grant fleeing Jews refuge".

    Hundreds of thousands of Jews were saved by the War Refugee Board starting in early 1944. Prior to the start of the war, the US's racist immigration policies made it illegal to admit more than a tiny number of Jews from Eastern or Southern Europe, and the WRB itself was only possible because the courts defer to the President in time of war. FDR had nothing to do with those policies which had been enacted by a Republican Congress and signed into law by Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

    One can criticize the Hagel appointment — I personally said publicly that it was a terrible selection — without bringing up irrelevant issues from generations ago.

  2. Eli Neuberger says:

    Agreed, being lauded by J St is no honor but why bring up old issues

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    I can't stand J Street either.

  4. Eli Neuberger says:

    even though you sound like a perfect candidate to like them 😉

  5. Eli Neuberger says:

    but B"H you know the score

  6. Charlie Hall says:

    If they were at all self-reflective they might ask themselves why an unapologetic liberal like myself finds them to be offensive.

  7. Eli Neuberger says:

    They severely damaged their credibility with the way they handled Goldstone and the way they were circumspect about the funding from Soros

  8. Eli Neuberger says:

    While Hagel sounds pretty awful, I think Brenann might be worse

  9. JStreet is made up of Jewish traitors like Chomsky who think that by selling Israel down the river their lives will be spared by anti-semites. Maybe they believe that they can do away with anti-semitism by helping to dispose of all Jewish people. JStreet consists of Jewish people who hate themselves and ignore that they are not only endangering themselves but all of Jewish people and Israelis.

  10. Charlie Hall says:

    Brennan is getting hammered from the Left for being too hostile to Islam, and from the Right for being too hostile to Israel. Usually when you get the extremists from both sides against you, you are in the right place.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    "severely damaged their credibility"

    One must first establish credibility before it can be damaged.

  12. The protests and lobbying by the Bergson group and Morgenthau's report (on "Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of Jews") Roosevelt was forced to create the War Refugee Board. And it was too late. The point is that American Jewish loyalty to a Democratic president historically stems from Roosevelt despite his morally repugnant policy regarding European Jewry, and continues to this day with American Jewish support for Democratic presidents regardless of the policies to pressure Israel.

  13. Charlie Hall says:

    The folks who try to score partisan points about FDR's waiting until 1944 to create the WRB have never read the executive order creating it, or the immigration law that made such an order illegal prior to US entry into the war. Here is the executive order:


  14. Charlie Hall says:

    Note that in the text of the executive order the following words appear, describing the purpose of the WRB:

    "(a) the rescue, transportation, maintenance, and relief of the victims of enemy oppression, and (b) the establishment of havens of temporary refuge for such victims"

    This would have been illegal prior to December 1941 because there was no "enemy" yet!

    Even had the WRB been established two years earlier it would have been too late for the Jews of Eastern Europe, for by then it was impossible to get out in any significant numbers. The Jews of France and North Africa might have been helped — except that Vichy France was not an "enemy". Only decades later was it revealed that a major reason that the US maintained diplomatic relations with the Vichy regime was that the Vichy embassy in Washington was a great source of intelligence information. In one famous case, an American spy who was having an affair with the embassy press attache managed to spirit out the French naval codes. That information was invaluable to the Allied invasion of North Africa in late 1942, which saved hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives.

  15. Charlie Hall says:

    "American Jewish support for Democratic presidents regardless of the policies to pressure Israel."

    Yet another nonsense talking point. Republican Presidents have pressured Israel at least as much, if not more, than Democratic Presidents. Eisenhower actually threatened Israel with war over the Suez crisis. Nixon and Ford pressured Israel to withdraw from the Sinai without a peace agreement. Reagan was pretty hands off, but he did sell AWACS to Saudi Arabia. Bush '41's guy James Baker famously shamed Yitzchak Shamir. Bush '43 pressured Ariel Sharon about the "daily humiliation of the Palestinian people" and called the Saudi peace initiative that required Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders a "foundation" for peace.

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