To the Editor:
I have read several accounts of the J Street convention and what I’m finding on the JTA is another attempt to delegitimize J Street. In a world where anything to the left of Ghengis Khan is "left wing," J Street is declared by the PR steamroller as anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist, which is a canard of the first degree.
Years ago, when I disagreed with the policies of Yitzchak Shamir’s government policies, I was told by others in the Zionist discussion that I should not express any opinion that might be used by "Israel’s enemies." I listened and I obeyed because I love Israel — it is on my mind daily. I only want to see it succeed and prosper.
Then Yitzchak Rabin became prime minister and he changed the policies, so I was happier with his government. But the same sources that told me not to oppose policies of the Israeli government were vehement in their opposition to him and the government’s policies. You know what happened to Rabin.
Aside from this greatest tragedy committed by a person who would probably approve of the current government’s policies, I learned firsthand the meaning of that expression "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
And now they are using the same tactics on J Street. Disagreement with the Netanyahu government’s policies is "anti-Zionist." The articles are part of the often sincere dislocation of perspective in the community about what is going on in the seats of the Israeli government. Many Israelis acknowledge that Netanyahu’s actions do not match his talk, and when it comes to peace he is only talk.
So it is easier to point out the most radical participants of the J Street audience than to understand how important J Street’s voice is at this time. AIPAC is a giant of an organization compared to J Street, but J Street is too big for the sycophants of the current Israeli government. Give J Street its place in the Jewish community without making it sound like it is off the charts. Those who believe that J Street is off the charts have lost their compass.