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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘jstreet’

JStreet’s Hagel ‘Victory’ is on American Jewry

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

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.

The Campaign to Undermine American Support for Israel

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

According to Franklin Lamb in the anti-Israel website Foreign Policy Journal, the pro-Israel Community is all hot and bothered by an alleged new study:

It’s a paper entitled “Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East”, an 82-page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors conclude that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with  Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.

The existence of such a study, even in draft form, is hard to credit as no corroborating evidence has been supplied. But what is certain is that the Arabs have long wanted Israel eradicated from the Middle East and that Lamb has been a notorious shill for them. See here and here and here. The same can be said of elements in the State Department, academia and current and past administrations.

This alleged study simply amplifies Obama’s intention from day one. The New York Times reported in April 2010, that Obama Speech Signals a U.S. Shift on Middle East.

When Mr. Obama declared that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a “vital national security interest of the United States,” he was highlighting a change that has resulted from a lengthy debate among his top officials over how best to balance support for Israel against other American interests.

Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up ‘costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure’ drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

To show that Obama was not alone in this, the Times buttressed his message by quoting from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, General Patraeus and Martin Indyk. It might just as well have quoted from The Baker Report, Z Brzezinski and Secretary Clinton.

Actually this shift was a long time in coming. There have always been voices in the  administration that viewed Israel as a liability rather than an asset.

Richard Holbrooke pointed this out in his recent article, “Washington’s Battle Over Israel’s Birth,” He quotes Secretary of Defense James Forrestal who made his case for non-recognition by saying “There are thirty million Arabs on one side and about 600,000 Jews on the other. Why don’t you face up to the realities” Holbrooke concluded:

[To] this day, many think that Marshall and Lovett were right on the merits and that domestic politics was the real reason for Truman’s decision. Israel, they argue, has been nothing but trouble for the United States.

Then as now, Israel was opposed by the substantial anti-Zionist faction among leading Jews, [including] the publishers of both the Post and the New York Times.”

The problem that these anti-Zionist forces and their running-mates had, was that the American people strongly supported Israel and AIPAC was too powerful to take on. So they developed a plan to undermine AIPAC and discredit Israel.

The first salvo of which was the indictment of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman of AIPAC in 2005 for espionage related charges. The case was dropped four years later but the damage had been done to them and to AIPAC. To show how politically motivated the charges were, James Kirchick wrote in WSJ,

If the offense were really criminal, half the Beltway press corps could be indicted. Mr. Franklin’s mishandling of classified documents deserved sanction, but 12 years in jail is far worse than the misdemeanor and fine meted out to former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger for stuffing secret documents in his clothing.

Then, in 2007, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by Mearsheimer and Walt, was published. Its central thesis was that, but for domestic politics, the US would have abandoned Israel long ago. They viewed the Israel lobby, AIPAC, as far too influential for America’s good. Israel was a liability rather than an asset. They totally ignored the vast power of the Saudi Lobby.

An alternative to AIPAC was needed to counter or undermine its influence, so in April 2008, J Street was formed. George Soros backed them as he did Obama.

Alan Dershowitz: J Street Undercuts Obama Policy on Iran

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

President Obama recently invited me to the Oval Office for a discussion about Iran. The President reiterated to me in private what he had previously said in public: namely, that he would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons; that containment of a nuclear Iran was not an option; that sanctions and diplomatic pressures would be applied and increased first; but that, as a last recourse, the military option would not be taken off the table.

What the President said is now the official American policy with regard to the threat of a nuclear Iran. It is clear that sanctions and diplomacy alone will not convince the Iranian mullahs to halt their progress toward their goal of an Iran with nuclear weapons. The only realistic possibility of persuading the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions is for them to believe that there is a credible threat of an American military attack on their nuclear facilities. Unless this threat is credible, the Iranians will persist. And if the Iranians persist, and the Israelis do not believe that the American threat is credible, the Israelis will undertake a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. It is crucial, therefore, for America’s military threat to be credible and to be perceived as credible by both the Israelis and the Iranians.

Enter J Street. J Street is a lobby in Washington that advertises itself as “pro-Israel and pro-peace.” But its policy with regard to Iran is neither pro-Israel nor pro-peace. It is categorically opposed to any “military strike against Iran.” It is also opposed to maintaining any credible military threat against Iran, through “legislation, authorizing, encouraging or in other ways laying the ground work for the use of military force against Iran.” This is according to their official policy statement that can be read at http://jstreet.org/policy/policy-positions/iran. They favor sanctions and they recognize that “Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would pose a very serious threat to America and Israeli interests.” But they believe that diplomacy and sanctions alone can deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons. By advocating this path, they are totally undercutting the policy of the Obama Administration. They are sending a message both to Iran and to Israel that there is no credible military threat, and that if Iran is prepared to withstand sanctions and diplomacy, they will have nothing further to worry about if they move forward with their nuclear weapons program.

The Obama Administration has tried very hard to persuade Israel that there is no space between the American position and the Israeli position on Iran. Whether or not this is true, there is a hole the size of a nuclear crater between Israel’s position, reflecting a widespread consensus within that country, and J Street’s position. Virtually every Israeli wants the United States to keep the military option on the table. This includes “doves” such as Israeli President Shimon Peres. Former United States President Bill Clinton also believes that the military option must be maintained. Virtually everyone, Israelis and Americans alike, hope that the military option will never have to be exercised. But the best way to make sure that it will not have to be exercised is to keep it credible. As George Washington put in his second inaugural speech: “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”

J Street, in addition to undercutting both mainstream Israeli and American policy toward Iran, has also mischaracterized the views of those it cites in support of its benighted position. It cites Former Mossad Chiefs, Meir Dagan and Efraim Halevy as opposing any “military strike against Iran.” It cites these two security Israeli security experts in the context of opposing an American strike and an American threat to strike. Yet Dagan has explicitly stated that he would favor keeping the American military option on the table. This is what he has said: “The military option must always be on the table, with regards to Iran, but it must always be a last option.” This is quite different from the misleading manner in which J Street has characterized his views. The same is true of Efraim Halevy. When I read the J Street reference to Halevy, I immediately called him and told him how J Street had characterized his views and asked him if that was a correct characterization. His response: “That’s absolutely false.” He told me that he had repeatedly stated that the United States must keep the military option on the table as a last resort, though he hoped that it would never have to be used.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/alan-dershowitz-j-street-undercuts-obama-policy-on-iran/2012/06/17/

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