Go Ahead and Admit It. Say You're "Pro-Palestinian." Just See Where It Gets You.
J Street is having an identity crisis right in front of the cameras. For a year and a half it's been trumpeting that it's both "pro-Israel" and "pro-peace." Actually, that's how I would characterize myself. I am for a two-state solution and always have been. I was for a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state" ever since I was a kid. That's ultimately what nearly every Israeli prime minister has been for, too. And that's what Israel has been trying in different ways and in different circumstances to negotiate. Like me, Golda Meir had very serious doubts about the viability of the Palestinians as a people. But she also did not want to govern them. Who, for that matter, would? Not even the Palestinians themselves. Which is why Yasir Arafat, having a Palestinian state handed to him on a plate by Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak, broke it in front of them and embarked on his disastrous "second intifada," now recalled as the heroic period of resistance. Some heroism, the terror they unleashed.
Anyway, since J Street was putting out its banners on the Jewish street, it defined itself as it had to: yes, "pro-Israel, pro-peace." But in a very palpable sense it was not pro-Israel in that it favored every cockamamie strategy and tactic, personality and group (and grouplet), slogan and world-view that put the Jewish homeland in peril. In the end, almost everyone came to realize that J Street would not and maybe could not be supportive of a Jewish homeland until every last Palestinian was satisfied.
Well, I have to hand it to them. In at least one segment of their operation, their university branch, they owned up. Their pretenses are gone. They were not pro-Israel at all, and they were dropping "pro-Israel" from their nomenclature entirely. In fact, it is now dropped and they are frantically trying to explain themselves to their fans.
One of their spokesmen said that they had basically to follow their followers. On their campuses, the split-offs from the split-offs will not tolerate the reality of Israel as the sine qua non of peace. OK. See how they fare. I know that there are, here and there, fistfuls of hold-outs against what probably is the greatest revolution of the twentieth century, the Zionist revolution, which transformed an entire people and built a commonwealth that is in a league with any in the West. Part of the Jewish revolution was the struggle against these recalcitrants, the most pathetic of whom were the German Marxists of the 30s, arguing with the Zionists who were trying to make a real life and not live by fatuous ideas.
But at least Walter Benjamin was a genius. J Street's philosophers are Spencer Ackerman, Matthew Yglesias and Philip Weiss. You can sample this kind of thinking on the web sites jews sans frontieresand other anti-Zionist blogs.