Commentary Magazine


Republicans a No-Show at J Street Gala

J Street doesn’t like to describe itself as a “left-wing” organization, but its gala dinner last night failed to attract a single Republican member of Congress. The only two GOP lawmakers listed as attendees at the gala — Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Jeffrey Fortenberry — have both clarified today that they didn’t actually go to the event.

The Washington Jewish Week’s Adam Kredo published a list earlier today of 56 members of Congress who attended the J Street gala. Shortly after, Fortenberry’s office called him to make it clear he had not been at the dinner or had RSVP’d.

“Soon after posting this list, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s office called me up to clarify his inclusion. They say he neither RSVP’d for nor attended J Street’s conference,” wrote Kredo. “Amy Spitalnick, J Street’s spokesperson, maintains that Fortenberry’s office said he’d attend.”

I contacted Blackburn’s office and was also told by her communications director that she never showed up at the dinner. Spitalnick told me over e-mail that the list contained only the names of those who RSVP’d and that certain members were unable to make the event at the last minute.

J Street may not want to view itself as a group with partisan leanings, but when 100 percent of its dinner guests are Democratic members of Congress, what other conclusions can be drawn from that?