J Street’s Quest for (Acceptance and) Publicity

Lets recap the past week in the American Jewish Community.  J Street, an admittedly leftist “post Zionist” Jewish organization who had lobbied the White House and Congress to show “tough love” to Israel, opposes sanctions on Iran, foreign aid to Israel, and supports boycotting of Israel (to show tough love of course), now wants to be a member in good standing of the American Jewish Establishment.   They embarked on a public lobbying mission, trying to embarrass other Jewish organizations into publicly declaring their support of their admission into the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (“The Conference”) , strong-arming groups such as the Anti Defamation League and the Conservative Movement, among others, into publicly supporting them for admission into The Conference, and put them on an equal standing with AIPAC (at least when it comes to Conference membership).

Not surprisingly, leading the charge was Rabbi Rick Jacobs, a former member of J Street’s “Rabbinical Cabinet”, who said “This is a real testing moment for North American Jewish life,”, and committed the Reform Movement’s four organizations who are members of the Conference  to vote in favor of inclusion.  This kind of rebuts the Reform Movement’s contention that they only control one vote out of fifty, but I digress.

Now some of the groups that have complained for years about the governance at the Conference (i.e. Conservative and Reform Movements and Americans for Peace Now) that their voices have not been represented properly have allowed themselves to be naively be sucked in to the hysteria surrounding J Street, and are attempting to use this membership rejection, as a way to gain more of a voice in the Conference.   They are making a mistake, and have chosen a poor messenger of choice.

Remember that J Street and its Executive Director have little to no credibility in the “Jewish Establishment”.  They have admitted lying about their source of funding from George Soros, and while there’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of in the Jewish Establishment by being liberal, leftist, or funded by the same; lack of honestly is something nobody wants to be part of.   After all, what’s the classic anti-Semitic Jewish caricature? A liar, being untruthful to accomplish their goals.

If they weren’t honest about their funding (for an organization that has equated Hamas to the IDF), what else are they hiding?

We aren’t talking about a charitable organization, or a public welfare organization, this is an organization that has made its mission to completely disrupt the Jewish Establishment and Aipac’s support of the State of Israel every step of the way.  Why should anyone be surprised that the Conference as a whole doesn’t want any part of them?

This is not necessarily a rejection of the often left wing ideas of the group that are at odds with American Friends of Likud, which is a member in good standing of the Conference.  This is a rejection of the tactics, and knee-jerk hyperbole that has emitted from J Street from day one.

J Street, if a responsible part of the Jewish Community, can play a wonderful part in the communal structure, they have established long term relationships with various members of Congress that have not had much contact with the Jewish Community.  However, judging by its own reaction, it doesn’t appear that it wants to be a part of the communal structure, but rather take over the communal structure, or focus on fundraising.  By commenting “We are especially disappointed that a minority of the farthest right wing organizations within the Conference has chosen to close the Conference’s doors to this emerging generation of inspiring and passionate young leaders.”

There are 50 voting members in the conference, 22 voted against J Street, 3 abstained, 17 voted in favor, and 8 didn’t show up to the vote.  Fifty percent of the eligible voting members did not give their approval for J Street’s admission to the Conference (In a vote that needed 2/3 approval of actual votes).

It’s obvious that J Street just didn’t have the votes.  They knew that in advance, that’s why they tried humiliating and bullying organizations to publicly support them, in what is supposed to be a secret ballot.  Now they are trying to turn it into a complete political circus, and they have suckered others to help them with their cause.  Trying to completely humiliate the Conference President with slash and burn techniques, isn’t going to gain them admission next time (if there is one) their admission comes to a vote.

It makes one wonder, did J Street really want to be admitted to the Conference, or did they strategize that a loss, would endear them to more people and result in a financial windfall at the end of the saga?


About the Author
Ira Treuhaft is a practicing attorney, admitted to practice law in NY, NJ, and their Federal Courts. He is a political consultant for over a decade and has worked on Capital Hill. He is also an adjunct Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Teaneck, NJ.