Since coming to office, President Obama and his advisers have regularly proclaimed their love and concern for the Jewish state while pursuing policies that put Israel at risk and undermine the U.S.-Israel alliance. In this, writes Sohrab Ahmari, the administration has had the witting and unwitting help of Jewish activists:
Founded in 2008, J Street . . . was to be a “home for pro-Israel, pro-peace” Americans who worry that Israel’s failure to extricate itself from the lives of some five million Palestinians will soon threaten its status as either a Jewish or a democratic state. If Israelis on their own lacked the will to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve a two-state solution, then it was up to progressive American Jews to bring peace, by pressing the levers of U.S. power if need be.
To meet this aim without abetting Israel’s enemies would have required immense ideological discipline on the part of the new lobby. J Streeters would have had to take seriously the perils facing the Jewish state, including Iran’s nuclearization, the rise of political Islam, and the campaign in elite quarters to delegitimize Israel. They would have to respect the sovereign decisions of the Israelis, recognizing that it is they—not American Jews with anguished consciences—who would have to pay the price in blood for any ill-conceived land-for-peace schemes. And they would have to retain a sense of perspective about the relative importance of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. . . .
As it soon became clear, however, J Street’s leaders had entirely different notions of what it means to be pro-Israel. J Street has flirted with elements of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement and lobbied against congressional sanctions on Iran. . . . Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami has refused to say whether his organization is Zionist.