Sunday, October 25th, 2009
If you’ve been following the ongoing debate over J Street, the pro-peace process group that’s holding its first national conference in Washington starting today, you’ve undoubtedly heard this question: have all the attacks from pro-Israel leaders helped or hurt the lobby and political action committee?
Long term, that’s a big question mark; it’s too early to tell whether the pressure on mainstream lawmakers to treat J Street like a communal leper is having an impact. J Street’s success will depend heavily on convincing a broad swath of centrist politicians that they are, in fact, strongly pro-Israel and that they do represent a big chunk of Jewish voters.
But if press attention is any measure, the attacks have been a godsend for J Street.
According to a spokesperson for the group, more than 150 reporters from 19 countries have registered for the three-day conference. Not bad for an 18-month-old organization that opponents are trying to tar as beyond the pro-Israel pale.
That could prove a two-edged sword, of course, if some of those reporters uncover new ammunition for J Street detractors – or if the conference results in laudatory coverage in the Arab press.