Goldfarb Vs. J Street

by Jonathan Chait | February 17, 2010

P.R. flack Michael Goldfarb, writing in the Weekly Standard, has an item entitled "Israel to J Street: We Know You're Not Pro-Israel." The basis for this turns out to be a comment from Danny Ayalon, to wit: "The thing that troubles me is that they don't present themselves as to what they really are. They should not call themselves pro-Israeli."

Who is Danny Ayalon? He's the deputy to the disgraceful racist Avigdor Lieberman. Ayalon himself took it upon himself to bizarrely humiliate the Turkish ambassador on Israeli television. In short, he's a total buffoon. Treating his remarks as official Israeli government policy is an odd move for a professed lover of Israel like Goldfarb -- sort of like citing some quote by Van Jones as the Obama administration's stance.

But a far more accurate measure of the official Israeli line on J Street comes from Israel's American ambassador Michael Oren, who approvingly notes that the group has moved toward the center:

“The J Street controversy has come a long way toward resolving,” he said. “The major concern with J Street was their position on security issues, not the peace process. J Street has now come and supported Congressman [Howard] Berman’s Iran sanction bill; it has condemned the Goldstone report; it has denounced the British court’s decision to try Tzipi Livni for war crimes, which puts J Street much more into the mainstream.”

My relationship with J Street is somewhat complicated. But the disapproval of Danny Ayalon is not the sort of thing that should make any sane person think less of the group.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/goldfarb-vs-j-street