J Street has launched a new campaign — insisting that congressmen are "not pro-Israel" if they support Israeli annexation of the West Bank.
Here’s the related statement from J Street, quoting head honcho Jeremy Ben-Ami:
“In election after election American Jews have stood by and watched while Members of Congress were attacked for supporting pro-Israel, pro-peace policies,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “J Street began changing that dynamic by rising to their defense. In this election, we will take that effort to a new level by calling out Members of Congress, like Walsh and West, who are playing with fire when it comes to Israel.”
“We intend to make it crystal clear that there are, indeed, many ways to be ‘pro-Israel’—but supporting a nightmarish one-state scenario is not one of them,” said Ben-Ami.
The statement (and the campaign) reflects (and resolves) a tension/contradiction that has underscored J Street’s efforts since its inception — was its main focus going to be on creating an open, wide tent for debating U.S. and Israeli policy, or… on being the left-wing answer to right-wing bullies? Looks like the latter. So, now, we have right-wingers and left-wingers questioning each other’s pro-Israel bona fides. Not sure how that helps matter. But to be fair… some conservative activists, bloggers and organizational hands have been playing the anti-Israel card against J Street for years.
One last point: The J Street statement seems to lump Pastor John Hagee in with others who oppose a two-state solution. Seems like a cheap shot — since Hagee and his Christians United for Israel have generally argued that they don’t want the U.S. goverment pressuring Israel into any deals, but would ultimately accept the decisions of Israel’s democratically elected government.
Check out this passage from CUFI ‘s David Brog (writing on Open Zion, Peter Beinart’s Israel-related Daily Beast blog):
Yes, many Christian supporters of Israel do believe that all of the land of Israel—including the West Bank—belongs to the Jewish people. And, as Open Zion has noted, CUFI’s founder, Pastor John Hagee, has preached from the book of Joel that the nations who “divide the land” will face divine judgment. But why does the analysis stop here? Why are so many so quick to presume that Christians cannot morally apply their theological beliefs to current events?
What our critics should do—and continually fail to do—is their homework. At CUFI’s creation, our founders made an important and controversial decision. They concluded that no matter what their personal views, they do not wish to sit in the safety of America and tell the Israelis what to do. Israel is a democracy, and a rather vibrant one at that. CUFI’s mission is to support the democratically elected government of Israel rather than dictate to it. Every single policy initiative we’ve undertaken has fit within these strict parameters.
UPDATE: J Street’s director of communitications, Jessica Rosenblum, responds: [[READMORE]]
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"Pastor Hagee’s words and deeds— from his exhortations that any nation attempting to divide the land of Israel will face the severe judgment of God to his significant financial support of the settlement enterprise—certainly looks a lot like opposition to a two-state solution. It is simply defies credibility to presume one can actively work against something and, at once, support it.
We would not just accept but embrace a public statement by Pastor Hagee of support for a two-state solution, provided he also ceases actions intended to prevent it from ever coming to be. If Pastor Hagee truly values Israel’s democracy and honors Israel’s place in the world as a Jewish homeland, as he claims, it should be an easy and clear choice for him."