web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Syria Crisis Demonstrates J Street’s Irrelevance

J Street is at odds with the man they once served as his main Jewish cheerleaders.
j street

The irony is delicious. In the fall of 2008, the leaders of the J Street lobby boldly asserted their group’s coming preeminence as the leading voice in Washington about Israel over the more established AIPAC.

The reason for that confidence was J Street’s close ties to the incoming Obama administration. Pointing to the huge majority of Jewish votes won by the Democrat in the 2008 election, J Street not only claimed its views were more representative of American Jewry but that it would serve as a necessary pro-Obama counterweight to what they falsely claimed was an AIPAC that favored Republicans.

But fast forward to September 2013 and the reality of the alignment of these two groups is vastly different from what J Street propagandists were saying a few years ago. Not only is J Street a shadow of the liberal behemoth that some expected would lead the discussion about the Middle East, disconnected from public opinion in Israel and bereft of influence on Capitol Hill or in the White House. It is also at odds with the man they once served as his main Jewish cheerleaders.

While AIPAC has reacted to the president’s puzzling decision to pass off responsibility to Congress for a strike on Syria by mobilizing its resources to back him up on the issue, J Street is standing on the sidelines of a vote that will have huge implications for the future of U.S. influence in the Middle East. In doing so, J Street is not only burning what’s left of its bridges to an administration it’s been out of step with for the past two years, it’s also showing that its leftist roots as the Jewish rump of the MoveOn.org movement trumps its loyalty to the president or to the cause of human rights.

That J Street should be aligning itself with the isolationists on both the left and the right against the administration shouldn’t be any surprise. Despite their boasts about representing the mainstream of Jewish opinion in this country, it has always been a creature of the isolationist left.

Though opposition to Syria intervention is widely unpopular, J Street might have been expected to rally to Obama’s side in what is probably the most crucial moment of his second term. If Congress fails to grant him authority to attack Syria his credibility is shot at home and abroad and we might as well hang a sign around his neck saying “lame duck.”

But the MoveOn.org crowd from which J Street sprung does not share the president’s apparent ambivalence about the use of U.S. power even when used against a Syrian dictator who has used chemical weapons against his own people. They are always against it. While J Street belatedly condemned Syria’s use of chemical weapons, its outrage over the crime wasn’t enough for the group to back up the president.

I deplore J Street’s belief that the U.S should use its status as Israel’s only ally to pressure it to make concessions to a Palestinian Authority that has repeatedly demonstrated its unwillingness to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. But do J Streets’ leaders think America’s capacity to use its influence in the Middle East will be enhanced by the evisceration by Congress of Obama’s ability to lead on foreign affairs?

It is that reason that the pro-Israel community in this country, which largely disagrees with J Street’s calls for pressure on Israel, has weighed in on the president’s behalf. AIPAC was loath to involve itself in the squabble in Syria because it rightly felt Israel favored neither side in the Syrian civil war. But an America that is no longer capable of stepping up to punish those who use weapons of mass destruction in this manner is an America that has been effectively rendered irrelevant in the Middle East.

No matter what you think about the fighting in Syria or about the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, that should be a big problem for those who purport to speak for pro-Israel opinion in this country.

Nevertheless, it should be conceded that J Street’s opposition to Obama on Syria won’t decrease its influence in Washington. That’s because it has none. That the White House must now look to AIPAC for help on Syria again demonstrates not only the mainstream lobby’s importance but also how foolish J Street’s attacks on it have been.

When push comes to shove, it appears J Street’s core beliefs about the illegitimacy of American power will always trump its claim to want to bolster Israel or even Obama. If few have noticed that it has abandoned the president, it’s largely because the group’s hard-core ideological approach to issues always rendered it a marginal force even in Democratic councils, let alone the public square it once thought to dominate.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


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.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

4 Responses to “Syria Crisis Demonstrates J Street’s Irrelevance”

  1. Cody Flecker says:

    First to comment as the normal number of Liberal Jews are either asleep, or visibly absent, or simply crying in their liberal tissues. America's Jewish population thought that it could open the gates to the crematorium and allow the rest of the Jews in, only to find the gates closing in on them. I guess more conversions to whatever religion is foolish enough to take these losers, or more plastic surgery will be in store. In either case, once again, the Jews picked the wrong side of history and will pay the consequences for their stupidity.

  2. Anonymous says:

    J. Street, AIPAC, Netanyahu should not make any comment US/Siria affair, Syria goverment, and the opposition both used chemical products or weapons, so let them kill each other, very simple.

  3. Anonymous says:

    J. Street, AIPAC, Netanyahu should not make any comment US/Siria affair, Syria goverment, and the opposition both used chemical products or weapons, so let them kill each other, very simple.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Also I have a doubt and not reason that american jews are against Israel, they are against to the corrupt and weak Netanyahu and his leckayers goverment.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
The UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. In 2007. it was repeatedly used as a launch site for mortars. (Archive 2007)
Hamas and IDF Misfired Rockets and Shells Hit UNRWA School Killing 17
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF soldier injured in Gaza is evacuated by helicopter to Soroka hospital.

The residents of Gaza were not occupied by the Hamas; they voted for the terror organization in democratic elections, by a huge majority, by virtue of its uncompromising struggle against Israel. For this reason, the separation between the armed Hamas terrorists and those ‘not involved’ or ‘innocents’ is false. The Gazans are now paying for […]

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay is calling for an investigation of Israel's military actions in Gaza. (archive photo)

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

Rabbi Kahane spoke of transfer, because it was what the Torah spoke of.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

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

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Bomb Shelter

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]

Jonathan S. Tobin is Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine.

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.

Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.

“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.

Palestinian leaders claim the kidnapping is an Israeli hoax or the act of Jewish criminals rather than terrorists.

If Peres has outlasted some of his critics and is still considered popular, he cannot outrun history.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/syria-crisis-demonstrates-j-streets-irrelevance/2013/09/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: