J Street Having Capitol Hill Impact? NORPAC says ‘yes’

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Their opponents claim they’re having absolutely no impact in Congress, but a NORPAC action alert today says differently.

The “they” is J Street, the year-old pro-peace process lobby and political action committee.

Recently J Street, along with Americans for Peace Now (cool new Web site!), started lobbying against a congressional letter by Sen Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Sen. James  Risch (R-ID) currently circulating in the Senate.

Backers say the letter (read it here) merely commends President Obama’s pressure on Arab states to normalize relations with Israel and asks for more; the dovish groups say the letter undercuts the President’s policy by ignoring Israel’s obligations.

Today NORPAC, the big New Jersey-based pro-Israel political action committee, sent out an action alert that said “unfortunately, there are quiet a few familiar names missing on the list” of signers – including Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Sen. Robert Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats and pro-Israel stalwarts.

Then there’s this line: “As you all are familiar with other ‘Pro-Israel’  organizations such as J St, APN, and others; their pressure on Congress is being felt and is making these signatures harder for us to get.”

‘nuf said.  How long do you suppose it will take J Street to put that in a fundraising letter?

Note to commenters: no, I’m not saying J Street is the equivalent of AIPAC in power. No, I’m not endorsing J Street’s position. Frankly, I tend to think these battles over nonbinding congressional letters and resolutions interest only a small handful of insiders, with almost no impact on policy.

Yes, I’m saying folks who claim the group is having no impact at all are full of hot air.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.