Daily Israel Report
Daily Israel Report
Start a blog

Blogs Zion's Corner

Meet Jeremy, J Street Jew

By Yisrael Medad
4/13/2009, 12:00 AM
J Street's Jeremy Ben-Ami has an op-ed in The Forward: For Israel's Sake, Moderate American Jews Must Find Their Voice (and a similar one in the ‘International Herald Tribune’ of April 10, under the headline: “Tel-Aviv, Then and Now” (which is a reprint from the New York Times.

Its essence:

For the sake of Israel, the United States and the world, it is time for American political discourse to re-engage with reality. Voices of reason need to reclaim what it means to be pro-Israel and to establish in American political discourse that Israel’s core security interest is to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and to define once and for all permanent, internationally recognized borders...In early 21st-century America, the rules of politics are being rewritten, and conventional political orthodoxy is clearly open to once-inconceivable challenges.

It is time for the broad, sensible mainstream of pro-Israel American Jews and their allies to challenge those on the extreme right who claim to speak for all American Jews in the national debate about Israel and the Middle East — and who, through the use of fear and intimidation, have cut off reasonable debate on the topic.

Why should this silly approach be adopted?

Well, Jeremy asserts:

By and large, we are a progressive community, among the most liberal in the United States.

and what really bothers him is:

In the name of protecting Israel, some of our community’s leaders became linked with neoconservatives...Some of our leaders have struck up fast friendships with far-right Christian Zionists...many of these are people with whom we disagree profoundly on values and beliefs that our community holds dear...

In Washington today, these voices are seen to speak for the entire American Jewish community. But they don’t speak for me. And I don’t believe they speak for the majority of the American Jews with whom I have lived and worked.

So, Jeremy's personal beliefs and what he perceives personally to be the majority of American Jewish beliefs is what counts. And if the majority of Jew were arch-conservatives, would Jeremy be quiet? Of course not.  He's not a true democrat.

By the by, if it is true that Jews are overwhelmingly progressive (further left than "liberal"), how come for over 60 years the vast majority of America's Jews support stands and positions that are what Jeremy would consider "extreme right views"?

Well, simple, really. Because American Jews are not totally stupid and they know that in the Middle East, there is no balance nor logic nor rationality on the Arab side and you can't compare all that happens in the Middle East to the political atmosphere in democratic America. To apply "Washington rules" of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to the Arab-Israel conflict is not only wrong but dumb. Jeremy, though, would blame the "Jewish establishment" at all costs for this attitude of American Jewry, foremost AIPAC, as if he were an antisemite, which he isn't.

At that Forward op-ed, some people left comments that they presumed to know what Jeremy's grandparents and parents would be doing in their graves - rolling over. I don't know for sure that is the case, but since Jeremy does invoke his ancestry ("I support Israel. My family history ingrains in me the belief that the Jewish people need and deserve a home. I know that that nation must be strong and secure and that a deep bond between Israel and America is essential to its survival."), I am going to take a guess.

And my guess is that with his current policies, if Jeremy had been his grandfather, Tel Aviv would not have been purchased and established. It would have been considered Arab land, Jewish expansion and needlessly causing friction with the neighbors. Sometimes, chronology does work - Jeremy is not his grandfather, although I am sure his proud display of genealogy is as empty as his political aptitude and I am not even going to guess what his father, Irgunist Yitshaq Ben-Ami would be thinking.

On April 17, next week, the descendants of the founders will gather in Tel Aviv at the ‘old’ Manshia Train Station (border Neve-Tsedek/Jaffa) on April 17th, at 10:30 to reenact the famous photograph of the plot purchasers on the sand dunes together with descendants of the city builders and prominent figures alongside thousands of residents.

Jeremy Ben-Ami will be there.

I wonder, will anyone be there holding up a placard reading:

Jeremy J Street Jew:
If this was 1909,
You'd Be Opposing The Purchase