Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Being Controversial vs. Being Influential

The past week for J Street has been an example of what happens to a political group unable to maintain some semblance of ideological discipline. The group’s pre-conference problems all derive from the exposure of the radicals in its midst: the crackpots who compare Gaza to Auschwitz; the anti-Zionists like Avram Burg and Bernard Avishai; the blogger panel composed of shrill fanatics and slanderers of the Jewish State. Instead of cultivating an image of seriousness and maturity, the conference has sharpened the public’s perception of a group dedicated to apologizing for and attempting to sanitize people who have made careers out of antagonizing Israel.

Meanwhile, the group reserves its real indignation for people like Sen. Joe Lieberman and Michael Goldfarb. All this does is create fodder for the charge that it’s a Trojan Horse for anti-Zionism. Given its record, I can’t really disagree that this is its purpose. Jeremy Ben-Ami told Politico that “we are at the center of debate and controversy after only 18 months, and this is a real impact and a success.” He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between being controversial and being influential, or the way the former characteristic can undermine the latter. The burden has shifted very publicly onto J Street to prove its detractors wrong, and that’s a bad position to be in.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.