COMMENTARY contributor Jamie Kirchick gives an eye-opening account of the panel on Iran at the J Street confab. He observes that it featured none other than Hillary Mann Leverett of “Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It” fame, who put on a display of moral equivalence that was breathtaking even for the J Street crowd. Forget for a moment her opposition to any sanctions (a position shared by J Street but rejected by an overwhelming percentage of Americans, and American Jews specifically), Mann Leverett is opposed to any criticism of the Iranian negotiation ploys and head fakes. To even mention the stall-a-thon is to be guilty of, yes, “reinforcing stereotypes of Iranian duplicitousness” and acting in a “fundamentally racist” way.
This perfectly encapsulates the J Street mentality — which seeks to defend and deflect criticism from Israel’s most virulent foes. Israel and its government, or perhaps the dreaded neo-cons, are the subject of its endless rants, criticism, and vilification. Iran and Hamas? We hear nary a harsh word. The result is a sort of delusional explanation of events in which no adverse facts or interpretation contrary to the “Israel is the problem” narrative is permitted.
The closest thing we have seen to this nauseating flackery is the unsavory history of those in the American Left (both during and after the Stalinist era) who ran interference for the Soviet Union, which in the eyes of its American lackeys also could do no wrong and also was the perpetual victim of American intransigence, bullying, and insensitivity. And like the post-Stalinist variety of apologists, today’s crop of anti-anti-Iranian-regime Leftists don’t have the excuse of ignorance. We know the nature of that regime after the brutal suppression of democracy protesters, and we know the mullahs have been duplicitous in, among other things, hiding the Qom facility. It is not “stereotyping” to speak of these truths, but it is, according to this gang, now unacceptable to say so.
This see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil — except if we’re talking about Israel — is J Street’s chosen approach. There is a ready market for this sort of thing among the Left. However, it isn’t at all clear there is much of a market for this claptrap within the American Jewish community. That rebranding idea (nix the “pro-Israel” label) may be a wise marketing move.