web analytics
October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

J Street and the Decline of American Power

In this drama, J Street, much like other left-wing groups, is an enthusiastic cheerleader, nothing more.
israel-map-J-Stre_et

A few weeks ago, I ventured the theory that rather than the so-called Israel Lobby controlling the administration, it’s the administration that controls the Israel Lobby.

As evidence, I cited two recent episodes. First, Secretary of State John Kerry’s much-vaunted effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations, which, to this date, have gone nowhere for much the same reason that past efforts have failed: the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel’s historic legitimacy by abandoning the so-called “right of return.”

Nonetheless, American Jewish organizations faithfully broadcast Kerry’s message.

Second, the Obama administration’s mobilization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to garner support on Capitol Hill for limited air strikes against the Syrian regime. That also came to naught, largely because Obama himself was seduced by the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to cajole Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into giving up his chemical weapons.

Both the “Lobby” and the administration would likely reject the charge that one controls the other. Instead, they would portray the relationship as a two-way street, with lots of mutual backscratching going on.

But outside the fevered minds of Israel Lobby conspiracy theorists, it’s clear that the administration holds the cards. Consequently, an otherwise spectacularly unsuccessful president has pulled off one small achievement, by closing off any prospects for sustained opposition to his Middle East policies from the mainstream Jewish organizations.

In exchange, the White House will provide its leading lights, like Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, to speak at events sponsored by these same organizations in order to demonstrate to well-heeled donors that their influence remains intact.

From the White House’s standpoint, that’s a pretty good deal.

Which brings us to J Street, the leftist lobbying group that claims to be pro-Israel and that has just held its annual policy conference.

J Street wants to be seen as part of the Jewish mainstream, and its roster of speakers this year – among them Biden, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Middle East negotiator Martin Indyk – certainly undermines the assertions of Jews on the right that its influence is marginal.

Nonetheless, J Street’s moment in the sun is the result of fortuitous political circumstances, rather than any ingenious strategy on its part. As the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reported last week, the group has spent $100,000 reaching out to lawmakers to look kindly on both Iranian diplomatic entreaties and Palestinian efforts to secure unilateral recognition – a stance that contradicts the administration’s commitment to direct talks.

As we are now at a juncture where the administration is attempting to engage Iran on a level not seen since the Islamic revolution of 1979, J Street’s willingness to persuade American Jews that the mullahs can be trusted comes in very handy.

Leave aside, for the moment, the abysmal spectacle of a Jewish organization prettifying the outreach of Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new president, who is as much of a Holocaust denier as his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, just not as bombastic. J Street has always had tin ear when it comes to anti-Semitism, as its dogma determines that Jew-hatred, along with Iran’s nukes and the Arab refusal to normalize relations with Israel, will disappear if only Israel would make territorial concessions to the Palestinian authority.

There are more important reasons for alarm at the administration’s alignment with J Street. One, there’s the pettiness: AIPAC’s efforts on Syria have been hung out to dry, while the White House is apparently unconcerned at J Street’s refusal to back Obama when he was dangling the prospect of air strikes against Assad.

Two, it’s emblematic of the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy. Rather than maintaining our status as an unchallenged superpower, the emphasis is instead upon persuading nervous Americans that, unlike the evil George W. Bush administration, we are not going to go to war, and we are not going to tell foreigners what to do, even if their leaders are human rights-abusing tyrants.

In other words, what we’ve seen over the last month is the rapid decline of American power. In this drama, J Street, much like other left-wing groups, is an enthusiastic cheerleader, nothing more.

The rest of us will have to calculate what that means for U.S. allies in the Middle East, not just Israel but the conservative Sunni regimes too. Their distrust of any deal with Iran will not be assuaged by Obama – and if they decide to take unilateral action without American support, we really will be saying, “Welcome to the New World Order.”

About the Author: Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for JNS.org and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Haaretz, and other publications. His book “Some Of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Antisemitism” (Edition Critic, 2014), is available through Amazon.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “J Street and the Decline of American Power”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abbas and the Temple Mount: "It's mine, all mine. No Jews allowed.
Abbas Declares Closure of Al Aqsa Mosque a ‘Declaration of War’
Latest Indepth Stories
Which glass has the poison?

The White House wanted to defame Netanyahu, undermine his reputation, impugn him & his policies

Adolf Hitler and the representative of the Palestinian Arabs, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, December, 1941.

Palestinian anti-Semitism in 2014 is more extreme and mainstream than German A/S in the 1930s.

Sheldon Silver

Woven deeply through it all is the Jewish obligation to fight injustice.

Cravatts-Richard--new

Only in the inverted world of academia would Jewish professors denounce the AMCHA Initiative report.

Many poskim were and are adamant about the responsibility of every individual to vote.

Individuals who may have been abused are the “clients” in need and receiving care and protection.

An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor

The fact that the United States government after World War II sought to take advantage of the expertise of German scientists, even those known to have contributed to the Nazi war effort, is well known and largely accepted as having been necessary for America’s national defense. (Wernher von Braun is perhaps the most famous and […]

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

To say he was beloved because of the way he loved his students does not sufficiently capture the reality.

The birth I speak about is to give birth to ourselves, to our full potential.

The extreme hypocrisy, contempt & vulgarity of the attacks indicate more than a policy disagreement

More Articles from Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen

The coalition the US has assembled to fight ISIS is based on an immediate coincidence of interest.

Israel Palestine Flag

A growing chorus of influential voices is arguing that Israel needs to finish the job in Gaza.

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

As of this moment, the Kurds have little reason to hold back from declaring independence.

While Jews are just one percent of the French population, 40 percent of French racist assaults target Jews.

Even if Egyptian pressure lead to the collapse of Hamas, Gaza’s problems are unlikely to be solved overnight.

This new mood among Christian Arabs has worried the communists and Arab nationalist.

In this drama, J Street, much like other left-wing groups, is an enthusiastic cheerleader, nothing more.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/j-street-and-the-decline-of-american-power/2013/10/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: