J Street

Just before a new round of Israel-Palestine talks, A Q & A with the founder of the J Street Lobby.

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William Kristol has an item at the Weekly Standard entitled, "J Street: Maybe 'Israel Really Ain't A Very Good Idea.'" This turns out to hinge upon the following quote from Daniel Levy: Daniel Levy, a founder of J Street: Look, bottom line: If we’re all wrong, if we’re all wrong and a collective Jewish presence in the Middle East can only survive by the sword, it cannot be accepted, it’s not about what we do. Sound familiar? They hate us for what we are, not what we do.

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Last week, I wrote about a panel at the inaugural convention of the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization J Street, in which former Bush NSC staffer Hillary Mann Leverett said the following: Too often, Iran's security concerns are dismissed in the U.S. and in Israel as false or manufactured, reinforcing the stereotype of Iranians as chronically duplicitous and unprepared to keep any commitment they enter into. ...  Those stereotypes are simply not supported by the historical record. ...

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From Grover “Uncle Jumbo” Cleveland to Chris Christie, a History of Smearing Heavyweights in American Politics, by Dave Jamieson The Fork in J Street: Will the New Israel Lobby Disavow Its Extreme Left Flank? by James Kirchick Philadelphia Freedom: The Most Noxious Sports Fans in America Have Gone Soft, by Buzz Bissinger Why Gavin Newsom Dropped Out, by Joe Mathews A Health Care Proposal That Should Absolutely Be in the Final Bill, by Jonathan Cohn Who Came out of the Honduran Crisis Looking the Best? Hillary. by Francisco Toro and Juan Nagle What Does Joe Lieberman Really Want?

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The Fork in J Street

The self-declared mission of J Street, the dovish "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" lobby that just concluded its first national conference this week, includes redefining the meaning of the term "pro-Israel." For too long, the organization's founders and supporters argue, right-wing elements in the Jewish community have abused the term to hijack the debate and tarnish mainstream, sensible advocates of a two-state solution. J Street's "pro-Israel" bona fides were questioned almost immediately after its launch, and with good reason.

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When I argued at the J Street Conference that J Street couldn't simultaneously appeal to people with Walt/Mearsheimer-esque views on Israel and a significant chunk of the American Jewish population, one of the names I cited as an example of the former was Phillip "The U.S. Without Israel is Like A Fish Without A Bicycle" Weiss, who writes for the Nation.

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How Did Obama’s Unprecedented Grassroots Operation Fall Quiet So Quickly? by Lydia DePillis In Defense of Shrinkage: The Problem with Obama’s Plan to Fix Our Banking System by Noam Scheiber Are Our Options in Afghanistan as Limited as They Seem? A Debate on the Way Forward by Andrew J. Bacevich and Michael A. Cohen A Pre-Election Day Memo To Both Democrats and Republicans by E.J. Dionne Jr. J Street’s Biggest Enemies Are Its Own Supporters by Jonathan Chait Was Rudolf Kasztner a Hero or a Traitor? by Marty Peretz Is Going to an Ivy League School Worth It?

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The famous blogger Matthew Yglesias was mentioned twice in the last few days on TNR online, once by Jon Chait on the Plank, another time by me on the Spine. Both were occasioned by Yglesias' involvement with J Street.   Chait's mention was perfectly straightforward.

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J Street's Choice

Yesterday I appeared on a panel at J Street, where I debated Matthew Yglesias on what it means to be pro-Israel, as well as J Street's role in this debate.

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J Street is having an identity crisis right in front of the cameras. For a year and a half it's been trumpeting that it's both "pro-Israel" and "pro-peace." Actually, that's how I would characterize myself. I am for a two-state solution and always have been. I was for a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state" ever since I was a kid. That's ultimately what nearly every Israeli prime minister has been for, too. And that's what Israel has been trying in different ways and in different circumstances to negotiate.

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