J Street is “gravely concerned about escalating threats to the character of Israel’s democracy” and is worried about “a perfect storm brewing that threatens the core of Israel’s democratic character.” The e-mail that contains these warnings is titled “Swiftboating Israel’s democracy.” Time to stockpile bottled water everyone, something serious is happening! It is this: an obscure Zionist youth group has criticized the leftist New Israel Fund for giving money to leftist NGOs.
This youth group is, of course, doing something fully consistent with democratic values — participating, albeit harshly, in a political debate.
There is a group, however, that indeed doesn’t have much regard for Israel’s democracy. Leading figures in this organization have frequently expressed their wish that the United States would do more to reverse the democratic choices of the Israeli electorate. It is named J Street. Here is Jeremy Ben-Ami, the executive director, in an unguarded moment:
There’s got to be some sort of intervention here where the U.S. says to Israel the time has come to finally do something. … And within Israel, the Israeli prime minister may have a tough time because of their domestic politics fulfilling their commitments. It’s going to be a lot easier if they say to their coalition partners and to the rest of the government, “I have to do this because the president of the United States is telling me to do it.”
Or take a recent Daniel Levy piece in Foreign Policy. Both the Israeli democracy and the PA are “deeply dysfunctional polities,” he writes, and the peace process is “too important for them and for America for it to be left to the mercy of the vicissitudes of their respective domestic politics.”
J Street is scandalized that some Americans have given money to the Zionist youth group, but J Street has never protested the millions of dollars that European governments and the UN spend on anti-Israel political groups NGOs that play such an intrusive role in Israel’s democracy.
It’s time for J Street to send out a press release condemning J Street’s efforts to subvert Israeli democracy.