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October 27, 2009: The Mask Has Dropped

December 14, 2009

J Street’s mask, that is:  According to today’s Post, J Street has a “university arm,” and has decided to drop the “pro-Israel” half of its “pro-Israel, pro-peace” slogan, when working with students, so as to not alienate them.

Are you gagging yet?

This decision was conveyed to 250 young student activists who attended a special weekend program right before the J Street convention.  At the session, the activists mapped out strategies for bringing J Street to campuses and getting students — seen as a key part of the J Street constituency — to “join in the effort.”

Here I need to stop and ask a question. WHAT effort do they want these students, who are apparently offended by the mere mention of Israel, to join?  What precisely will J Street be promoting?

Says American University junior Lauren Barr, who is secretary of the J Street student board, “We don’t want to isolate people because they don’t feel quite comfortable with ‘pro-Israel,’ so we say ‘pro-peace.’  But behind that is ‘pro-Israel.'”

Give me a break!


Barr explains further:  “people feel alienated when the conversation revolves around a connection to Israel only, because people feel connected to Palestine (where’s “Palestine”?), people feel connected to social justice, people feel connected to the Middle East.”

Heaven help us!  What does it mean to “feel connected to the Middle East”?  And where, outside of Israel, is there ANY social justice in the ME?  Perversions of truth are being promoted successfully enough so that it is deemed inappropriate to mention Israel to people who are in favor of social justice!!  Maybe US students need to talk to some of the thousands of African refugees who have decided that Israel is the place they want to flee to, because it’s the only place in the region where they can secure humane treatment.

Now here’s the clincher:  Barr says that individual chapters can change the slogan:  they can add “pro-Israel,” “pro-Israel, pro-Palestine,” or other wording. 


I am not obtuse here.  I abhor the J Street approach, but I know there is another problem:  The alienation of Jewish students with regard to Israel.   But it’s not J Street that will solve the problem; they will only exacerbate it.


Please allow me, in my outrage, to share one other piece about J Street today.  This is part of an important posting on the Z Street blog, regarding the J Street conference: 

“This new alliance of progressive Jewish Americans are here to tell you that they are the anointed ones who will bring peace to the Holy Land if only the world will shut up and let them work their magic.  Never mind that the magic is never defined beyond ‘two states for two people,’ and that the goal is to ‘remold Israel into a state of social justice, a state where people do right’ and where everyone will ‘model core Jewish values’ of  ‘peace and outstretched arms to our neighbors.’

“Hmmm.  Well, those are core humanist values, perhaps core progressive values, and values that many Jews hold dear, but those are not the core Jewish values.  And that’s the biggest problem with this whole J Street charade of representing the ‘New Jewish’ response to the conflict in the Middle East… There is nothing inherently and solely Jewish about the J Street approach.  A perfect example of this was offered by Daniel Sokatch who is, not coincidentally, the new president of the New Israel Fund…

“Perhaps the best known biblical quotation, at least amongst non-observant Jews, and the one focused on by Sokatch, is  ‘Justice, Justice Shalt Thou Pursue.’ Deut. 16:20.   This is the very core of Judaism, he explained to those gathered in the Washington D.C. Grand Hyatt at the kick-off of the J Street conference.  But, perhaps unknown to Sokatch (maybe because all the lithographs and needlepoints only include these words), the phrase continues ‘so that you shall inherit the land.’  Yes, that really is a core value of Judaism, and the land is Israel.

The ultimate inability to differentiate between what these New Jews want to call Jewish values and what are actually the core values of Judaism, is offensive.  To say the least.”

This would be extremely funny, if it weren’t so serious.



You might like to see Barry Rubin’s latest column, “The big American freeze.”

Rubin says that there is a major stumbling block to Obama’s plans for promoting negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians:  Mahmoud Abbas, who is holding tight to his demands and will not back down because he “is more afraid of his own colleagues, Hamas’s baiting him as a ‘moderate’ (a compliment perhaps from the West but a deadly insult in Palestinian politics) and his own people than of Obama.”

Carrying this further, Rubin comments, “Indeed, nobody is afraid of Obama, which is one of the main problems with his foreign policy.”

What Rubin predicts is “a deadlock, month after month into 2010. Is there some clever way out? I don’t see one and I bet the administration doesn’t either.

“Abbas…has what for him is an attractive alternative: strike a militant pose, blame America, seek rapprochement with Hamas. In addition, what both the US and Europe fail to see is that the Palestinians don’t need or want rapid progress on negotiations or even a state except on what would be completely their own terms.” 

And so matters are going very badly for Obama.  He didn’t observe “one of the most basic rules of foreign policy, that you don’t put the chief executive’s prestige on the line unless you know for darn sure beforehand that what he says will happen.”

All that the American administration “has left is what might be called the cat strategy. Have you ever seen a cat miss a leap or have an embarrassing fall? It merely licks itself and looks around with an expression saying: I meant to do that. Everything is going according to plan.

“But it isn’t.”



Obama’s envoy to the ME, George Mitchell, is apparently deep into the cat strategy.  For he has declared that he intends to continue trying to get Israel and the PA to the negotiating table, in spite of Israel’s concern about the announced PA elections.  But it’s not just “Israel’s” concern: The situation in the PA is severely unstable.

No matter, says Mitchell, the US will continue “pushing the rock,” until the rock actually moves.  How devoted.  How noble.  How stupid.


Abbas is being defiant and determined as he persists in his plan to hold elections in spite of warnings from several Palestinian quarters that he not do so.  It’s not just that Hamas will not allow elections in Gaza, it’s also that they will not participate in those elections, anywhere.  Says Khaled Abu Toameh, only Abbas loyalists and members of Fatah factions would run.  An electoral victory in such a situation would be meaningless.  This would bring “an even greater blow” to Fatah credibility, at a time when Hamas is already rising in public opinion polls.

In addition, the election is likely to harden Fatah’s stance even further, as it competes with Hamas positions in attracting the electorate.  This makes it precisely not the time to even try to bring Fatah to the negotiating table.  But go tell that to Mitchell.

To top it all off, by the end of the week Hillary Clinton will arrive here to advance peace talks.


Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi delivered a talk at a Holocaust memorial in Germany yesterday.  Israel, he declared, will not entrust its security to the hands of “strangers” and will do “everything needed” to protect its citizens if war is forced upon it.  The reference, of course, is to Iran:

“Today, 64 years after the last train led Jews from this platform to deathcamps, and 61 years after the Jewish homeland was founded, anti-Semitism refuses to disappear from the world. It changes its face, language, path and justifications, but its aim remains the same.  Today, state leaders openly declare their desire to destroy the State of Israel, and deny the right of the Jewish people to national sovereignty.

“The Jewish nation renewed itself in its land, and is committed to its independence and security.  The IDF, the protector of the Jewish nation, is not a warmongering military, but a defensive military. We do not relish combat, but if war is forced upon us, we will do all that is necessary so that Israeli citizens can sit safely in their homes. No one should test our power.”

Amen v’Amen!


Iran has declared that it accepts “the general framework” of the plan for shipping its uranium to Russia for processing but is seeking “important changes” in that plan.  It is unclear what all the changes would be, but one demand that has surfaced involves sending the uranium out of the country “in stages,” rather than at once, which was rather the point of the proposal.  The nations who are dealing with Iran may yet find these “changes” unacceptable; already frustration is being expressed — in particular by France.

In any event, there is good reason to think that this is all no more than an Iranian gambit to stall for time, and that there has never been intention to agree to the proposal.  Just today Ahmadinejad declared that his country would persist with its nuclear program.


Time’s a-wasting with regard to Iran, and when serious commentary on the subject is considered, it is enough to make the blood run cold. 

An article worth considering is “Armageddon Time” by Peter Robinson: “When it comes to Iran, the U.S. may be facing a cataclysm.”

“A big nation attempting to humiliate a small nation in a way the small nation simply cannot accept. Unseriousness among great powers. A gathering sense of impending catastrophe. Once again, it may be Armageddon time.”


What gets me, really gets me, is the “unseriousness among great powers,” most especially the US.  May this piece have it wrong!


Congress has passed a non-binding, sense of the Congress, resolution calling on the President and Secretary of State to block any further endorsement of the Goldwater Report.  It was sponsored by Congresswoman Ileana Ross-Lehtinen (R-FL 18th), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and co-sponsored by Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA 28th ), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY 5th), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, and Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN 5th), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

Ileana is one of the finest friends we have in the Congress, and deserves to hear of our appreciation for this move.  The other gentlemen, who are not at all times as solidly where we might like to see them, should definitely be contacted as well.  It is both wise and appropriate to offer praise them when it is deserved. 

In many cases today, e-mail addresses are for a Congressperson’s constituents only.

A short thank you for the resolution seeking to block endorsement of the Goldwater Report would be fine.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:

Phones: 202-225-3931 or 305-668-2285
Fax Numbers: 202-225-5620 or 305-668-5970

Howard Berman:

Phones: (202) 225-4695 or  (818) 994-7200
Fax Numbers: (202) 225-3196 or (818) 994-1050

Gary Ackerman:

Phones: (202) 225-2601 or (718) 423-2154

Fax Number: (718) 423-5053

Dan Burton:

Phones: (202) 225-2276 or (317) 848-0201 

Fax Numbers: (202) 225-0016 or (317) 846-7306                                                                





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