Saturday, October 17, 2009

Here's hoping the Weekly Standard thugs' attempts to kneecap J Street give it a deserved boost

Weekly Standard thugs' attempts to kneecap J Street give it a deserved boost'>Weekly Standard thugs' attempts to kneecap J Street give it a deserved boost'>Weekly Standard thugs' attempts to kneecap J Street give it a deserved boost'>Weekly Standard thugs' attempts to kneecap J Street give it a deserved boost'>>Weekly Standard thugs' attempts to kneecap J Street give it a deserved boost'>

Uncle Leo (Len Lesser) knows a thing or two about anti-Semitism.

by Ken

In the world of Jerry Seinfeld's TV Uncle Leo, there's hardly anything that's wrong in the world, from the most cosmic injustice down to an annoyance like a badly cooked burger, that can't be explained by anti-Semitism. I always wonder if non-Jews get the joke. The joke isn't that there's no such thing anymore as anti-Semitism. The joke is that among American Jews, there can't be many who don't have an Uncle Leo. Back in the days when I still attended occasional gatherings of my extended family, they were virtual conventions of Uncle Leos.

The compounding irony is that in our times an entire network of died-in-the-wool anti-Semites gets not just a free pass but official protection from the most powerful American Jewish organizations. Why? Because to those organizations, the only test applied to non-Jews is uncritical support for Israel -- and, really, not so much Israel as the Israeli Far Right.

One of the enduring shames for American Jews is the deep involvement of our own in the crackpot sham of neoconservatism, which was heavily populated by Jewish ex-liberals who lost, well, their minds. And one of their primary considerations in developing their delusional prescriptions for a new world order was uncritical protection for an aggressive, expansionist right-wing Israeli state. And who did they make common cause with? Many of the most poisonous demagogues of the American political and Crap Christian Right. I call them Anti-Semites for Israel.

There is, unfortunately, some crazy logic to the alliance, starting with the obvious fact that right-wing loons of a feather flock together. This is even more pointedly true in the case of the Jewish and Christian fundamentalists. Of course amone the Christian fundies, there's the overpowering consideration that the Holy Land has to be under Jewish control for the Rapture to happen. Their Jewish "allies" don't seem to realize that they will be at the top of the list of left-behinds when that great day comes. In an alliance of liars and hypocrites, it's not just your wallet you have to watch out for, it can be your place in eternity.

The heavy-hitting so-called "major organizations" of American Jewry (there actually is a Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations) view any questioning of any policy of a right-wing Israeli government as being beyond discussion, no matter how heatedly it may be debated within Israel. And those of us who view many policies of recent Israeli governments as not only morally unconscionable but a clear and present danger to the country's survival, well, we're obviously Israel-haters. (The scale of the arrogance and cretinousness of these self-imagined "defenders" of Israel can be shown by pointing to the most pathetically simple fact: that if Israel insists making permanent the borders of the "Greater Israel" created by the continued occupation of the conquered territories, as demographics turn Jews into a minority population within those borders, it can't any longer pretend to be a democracy.)

Those major Jewish organizations depend on AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) to enforce their views in the politcal sphere. Its mission is to support the people it considers to be "friends of Israel" and to put the fear of AIPAC in the hearts of those who show themselves to be non-"friends."

It took awhile, but eventually J Street came into being, an organization whose views don't make non-insane American Jews cringe. It's been a fascinating process as J Street has become a Washington presence -- certainly nowhere near the force that AIPAC is, but a group that is increasingly listened to in governmental circles, in good part because there are a lot of politicans who are tired of being held hostage by the pro-Likud lobby.

Here is the "About Us" statement on J Street's website:
J Street is the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.

J Street was founded to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. We support a new direction for American policy in the Middle East and a broad public and policy debate about the U.S. role in the region.

J Street represents Americans, primarily but not exclusively Jewish, who support Israel and its desire for security as the Jewish homeland, as well as the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own - two states living side-by-side in peace and security. We believe ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in the best interests of Israel, the United States, the Palestinians, and the region as a whole.

J Street supports diplomatic solutions over military ones, including in Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialogue over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors when conflicts do arise. For more on our policy positions, click here.

J Street will advocate forcefully in the policy process, in Congress, in the media, and in the Jewish community to make sure public officials and community leaders clearly see the depth and breadth of support for our views on Middle East policy among voters and supporters in their states and districts. We seek to complement the work of existing organizations and individuals that share our agenda. In our lobbying and advocacy efforts, we will enlist individual supporters of other efforts as partners.

J Street is itself a 501(c)(4) organization and is part of the J Street family of organizations, which includes an independent, legally unconnected Political Action Committee, JStreetPAC and the J Street Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization.

Later this month (the 25th-28th), J Street is holding its first national conference, under the title "Driving Change, Securing Peace." It's shaping up to be a grand event, with an impressive roster of sponsors, participants, and speakers (including National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones). The American Jewish Right, clearly feeling the heat, and is mobilizing its formidable thug-allies.

They pounced on the error when organizers incorrectly listed New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as attending the opening-night dinner, and Sen. Chuck Schumer as well. Senator Schumer's position is murky; apparently he had been on the list but withdrew -- this is one of those cases where he may not wish to offend either side, but for a pol with as keen a nose for power as his, it's clear that he's not going to risk offending those "major Jewish organizations." Ditto Senator Gillibrand, who understands that if she wishes to be elected to the Senate seat she was appointed to she can't either -- and understands well enough that she never in fact signed on for the event, as J Street has acknowledged. What's interesting is that somebody fed the story to Politico, which played it for maximum heat if not much light. Naturally the house organ of the neocons, Bumbling Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard has been banging the war drums.

J Street has been fighting back against what it calls the Swift Boating, however. Most recently, a call has gone out to members (and others) who live in districts whose members of Congress are on the Host Committee to thank them for their participation. (There's a tool on the webpage that will tell you whether you have a member on the committee.)

Which brings us back to the theory I floated in the head. Is it possible that the mugging by the neocon thugs could backfire? Are they perhaps helping put J Street's big event on the political map? Oh man, I'd love it.
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6 Comments:

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Ken:
Check your email!! ;-) Do I always have to remind you? LOL!!

 
At 7:27 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Uh, Jimmy, yes, it appears so!

Cheers,
K

 
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