I still find the J Street vote to be only slightly more significant than Netanyahu’s plan to legislate Israel’s Jewish Statedness – pretty insignificant. In the scheme of things, J Street is redundant – extremely redundant. They don’t represent the numbers or experience that groups like the Union for Reform Judaism and Americans for Peace Now have. It’s sort of like getting points on Foursquare. If you want more, you just have to create a new place and BOOM, 4SQ gives you 11 points when you check in and you didn’t do anything.
J Street might do some lobbying and exclusively deal with American policy toward Israel, but there are other groups that have been doing it for years who maintain the same line on Iran and yes, even publicly support the Two-State Solution. It’s like gerrymandering to allow every Jewish organization in the United States that has made headlines to get a representative seat at the table on American Jewish foreign policymaking. Holy crap, look at the current table: Union for Reform Judaism AND Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, MERCAZ USA, Zionist Organization of the Conservative Movement, AND the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. The point here is that Jewish bureaucracy is far flung enough without adding another organization whose stated purpose is essentially to press one issue. That would mean a sudden open invitation to every organization that has a J in their names. It shouldn’t be that every group is on equal footing with the others.
We have plenty of groups actually lobbying for the Two-State Solution within the Jewish community already. AIPAC even supports it, explicitly, whether all of its supporters do or not.
“AIPAC strongly supports a two-state solution and works tirelessly to bring peace to the region. A two-state solution – a Jewish state of Israel living in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state – with an end to all claims is the clear path to resolving this generations-old conflict.”
My problem with J Street has never been about their political stances. It’s their arrogance. The arrogance is inherent in their public assumption that mainstream Jewish organizations haven’t been major supporters of the Oslo Process over the last 21 years. They bring nothing new to the table. They don’t push forward Israel’s position in the world, only bog the community down in squabbling – and I mean squabbling. J Street hasn’t added anything to the table. They’ve only served to present the Jewish community as divided on issues while claiming it is unified. They ignore the immense support of AIPAC in the American Jewniverse and claim that support is imagined, that a silent majority opposes an emphasis on Israeli security. In their own words:
“For too long, a deep polarization has characterized the conversation on Israel, or lack thereof, across America. Within this divisive framework, the voices of the majority of American Jews – the true mainstream of the community that favors a two-state solution and American leadership to achieve it – have been absent from the political playing field. J Street provides a political home for this majority’s views and makes clear to politicians and policymakers alike that no one group can claim a monopoly on what it means to be pro-Israel in America.”
Where do they get this crap? This is ridiculous. The majority of the Jewish community in the United States supports the Two State Solution via AIPAC and a number of other groups with influence on Capital Hill (formal political lobbies through the Reform and Conservative movements; regional AIPAC branches; ecumenical meetings among Rabbis, Imams and prominent politicians; etc.) This paragraph, this statement of purpose from J Street’s own raison d’être, is a big fat lie. This position has not at all been stymied. It’s been decades – DECADES – since the majority of Jews expressed opposition to a two-state plan. It’s been a long time since Alan Dershowitz battled Rabbi Meir Kahane in a major debate on the Jewish future, pushing forward a more liberal view of things that justified creating a Palestine. J Street is misrepresenting the Jewish community and presenting opposition to the Two State Solution as overbearing and autocratic within the confines of the American Jewish establishment. Debate has existed for years and in fact supporters of such a plan have dominated the debate thanks to the mainstream discourse of American politics since the Oslo Accords were signed.
J Street shouldn’t be allowed in because they are simply redundant. Never mind the disingenuous nature of their declaration of policy, though that presumptuous attitude should be enough to deny their application on the face of things.