A Jeffrey Goldberg reader wonders why J Street seems to be picking its fights with Israel and its “conservative” supporters (which include AIPAC, whose ranks are populated by many liberal Democrats) rather than with the haters of Israel:
If J Street spent similar amounts of energy countering anti-Israel forces on the left as they did countering pro-Israel forces on the right, there might not be less acrimony (we are talking about political folks here), but I would at least find them to be an organization whose core beliefs and activities matched their self-described characterization. You shouldn’t, e.g., have to push hard for a grudging repudiation of Walt and Mearsheimer – J Street should be doing that as part of their mission to represent a mainstream pro-Israel position. Even if it means [gasp!] making common cause with AIPAC.
Well, J Street has already told us it isn’t comfortable with the pro-Israel branding. And it doesn’t represent a mainstream pro-Israel position. You can’t get any more mainstream than condemning the Goldstone report and this, the J Street crowd, can’t bear to do. There is no more mainstream position than support for sanctions against Iran. Again, J Street isn’t interested.
The failure to pick a fight with the “correct” people isn’t then a tactical error by J Street. It is evidence of its sympathies and core beliefs. Is it so hard to figure that out? Well, J Street has been duplicitous in reducing its “ask” to Congress to meaningless drivel. And there also is willful ignorance by some observers who’d rather not be forced to call their friends on the Left apologists for the mullahs and flacks for the Israel-haters. Unfortunately for J Street and its enablers, you can’t have a conference in Washington D.C. for four days and disguise your core beliefs. Really, the jig is up.