25 Sep

Has any “alternative” organization ever gone establishment as quickly as J Street? Only five years old, J Street is as much of an old fart organization as the B’nai B’rith or the American Jewish Committee.

No, I don’t compare J Street to AIPAC because AIPAC has stayed lean and become evermore mean. It set out 50 years ago not to ingratiate itself with the traditional organizations but to, first influence them, and then to own them. Today every major Jewish organization gets its marching orders on Israel from AIPAC.

J Street is no AIPAC because it isn’t about anything EXCEPT gaining acceptance by the monied old Jewish establishment. Not a single Jewish organization — the very establishment that J Street has been absorbed by — has moved any closer to J Street’s ostensible position on ending the occupation than it was before J Street came on the scene. J Street has become “them” while “they” have moved farther to the right.

Here is Jeremy Ben Ami explaining J Street’s success in Ha’aretz today. The headline is: J Street’s Message — We’ve Arrived

All across the country we’re making progress in getting representation on JCRCs,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s founder and director, told JTA, referring to the Jewish community relations councils that operate in most American Jewish communities.

“We’ve done several hundred events at Jewish communal institutions. Our rabbinic cabinet is over 700. There is a growing understanding that this is a very important part of the American Jewish landscape, that we have a very important seat at the table,” he said.

Ben-Ami is unabashed in describing how he has striven for establishment acceptance. He noted that J Street, having passed its fifth birthday, is now eligible for the ultimate imprimatur of Jewish establishment credentials: membership in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The Presidents Conference, the main communal umbrella group on foreign policy issues, confirmed that J Street had submitted a formal application but would not comment further, citing the confidentiality of the process.

Hilarious. Ben Ami’s definition of success is gaining acceptance by Jews who support the Israeli government, right or wrong, are utterly indifferent to the horrors of the occupation and who will oppose (as J Street also does) any pressure on Israel ever.

I suppose that gauging success by acceptance by the establishment and by getting Vice President Biden to their dinner makes sense. After all, J Street has had no legislative accomplishments to its name unless one counts its joining AIPAC in blocking any Palestinian recognition at the United Nations and supporting sanctions on Iran.

it’s very strange to me? Why would anyone want to be part of the Jewish Establishment? Maybe it’s the rich people you get to hobnob with. Maybe it’s the food. I mean, has the Jewish Establishment been right about anything in half a century?