Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
Want one more example of how ferocious the fight to delegitimize J Street has become?
Michael Goldfarb, the Weekly Standard blogger who has been one of the most vocal J Street opponents, gloated yesterday that JTA Washington bureau chief Ron Kampeas “has become the latest name to disappear from the J Street program in advance of next week’s conference. Kampeas was to moderate a panel on ‘What does it mean to be pro-Israel?’”
Whoa. Is it now illegitimate to have even an indirect association with J Street, like moderating a panel? I’ve moderated panels and spoken for groups on the left, on the right and in the center, and only once did that produce repercussions because somebody objected to my presence (long story, don’t ask).
I’ve also done panels with Ron, an outstanding reporter, and know that any session he moderates is going to be lively, interesting and utterly non-ideological.
JTA’s editor in chief Ami Eden wasn’t in when I called, but Goldfarb said Eden told him he was getting calls from people who “complained ‘how can he moderate and cover the panel’ at the same time?”
That’s a new one on me; journalists moderate and participate in panels at every Jewish conference I’ve ever attended, and I’ve never heard complaints. If ZOA asked me to a moderate a panel, I’d agree. If J Street asked me (they didn’t ) I’d agree. What’s the big deal here?