From 2009-2011, Uzi Arad was national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now he is contradicting his former boss by speaking publicly in support of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany).
“My position is in support of preserving the agreement and strengthening the agreement,” Arad said on Monday, in a conference call hosted by the dovish Jewish-American group J Street. Read more at LobeLog
My report for IPS on the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the J Street conference.
This week’s piece in Souciant reminds my readers that I don’t write the headlines there. The piece actually follows up my article last week on Greta Berlin, the Christian letter regarding aid to Israel and anti-Semitism. This time, though, I single out J Street, unfortunately, for its sad behavior regarding the US role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This week’s Souciant pieceis up. In it, I look at what was perhaps the high point for me of this year’s J Street conference, the words of new Meretz chairwoman, Zehava Gal-
Meretz chairwoman, Zehava Gal-On
On. Meretz has been reduced to a tiny party in the Knesset, but a voice as powerful and clear as Gal-On’s really does have the potential to start shifting Israeli discourse away from its current, fascist direction.
This article originally appeared on LobeLog.
Four years ago, there was some hope in Washington that J Street, the self-proclaimed “pro-Israel, pro-peace” Jewish lobbying group, could someday provide a
J Street President, Jeremy Ben-Ami addressing the crowd at J Street's third conference
counterweight to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
No one expected J Street to seriously challenge AIPAC after just four years. But the organization’s track record to date gives some cause for concern with regard to the direction its heading in.
J Street has had some controversial missteps in its time. For example, its waffling on the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008-09, and its dissembling response when it was revealed that left-wing magnate George Soros had been one of its key initial funders.
This time their investment in Peter Beinart presented a hurdle for them. Beinart published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for what he regrettably termed “Zionist BDS,” which is simply a new name for a policy long advocated by left-wing groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and more center-left groups likeAmericans for Peace Now. It basically advocates for the boycott of settlement products, services and venues.
Just a few days before Beinart appeared as one of the key figures at their conference, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami gave an interview to Iran/Israel hawk Jeffrey Goldberg where he strongly criticized Beinart’s stance. The result, which became apparent when the issue came up during one of the plenaries, was to split the conference audience over the issue. Continue reading
My report for Inter Press Service on the J Street conference is up and running. This one reports on some highlights of the conference. I hope to write more about it in the next few days, giving more of an analysis of the conference.
Just to let my readers know, I’m covering the J Street conference, starting tonight (indeed, I’m writing this from the opening plenary). I’ll be writing it up for Inter Press Service, and hopefully blogging some things afterward as well. I’ll also be live tweeting, so you can follow me on Twitter @MitchellPlit or on Facebook.
But I think it bears noting that J Street has no more guarantee of my objectivity, or that I’ll write a positive article about the conference, than AIPAC did (other than my own integrity). They had no problem letting me in, and good for them. It just serves as a further counterpoint: J Street has a lot more to worry about with negative press than AIPAC, yet somehow big, tough AIPAC was scared of little old me. Look here and see if you think their fear was justified.
Anyway, I’ll do everything I can to keep you posted on this conference. With Jeremy Ben-Ami having just heavily criticized the rock star of the group, Peter Beinart, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic, it’s not exactly off to a promising start. And the key Obama Administration speaker, Anthony Blinken, is a considerable step down from Dennis Ross last year, and even more so from Jim Jones, the National Security Adviser at the time, at their first conference. But we’ll see….