Friday, December 18th, 2009
My colleague, James Besser, asked, on his blog, why Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren (correctly described as “smart and sophisticated”) “continues to pick needless fights” with J Street, the so-called and cynically self-described “pro-peace process lobby” and political action committee (see a JTA story on Oren’s latest comments).
The fight isn’t needless. It is needed because J Street is not a Jewish organization, as it claims to be.
It is not Jewish because it has zero loyalty to the Jewish people; it is loyal to Obama, first and foremost, and they have admitted as much.
J Street — whose basic rule is “blame Israel first” — is a fifth column within the Jewish people, a sneak attack, a snake in the grass that turned its back on Israel during the Gaza war while Jewish soldiers were being shot at.
For that alone it is forever damned. At some point in the darkness, pluralism ends. At some point we don’t have to show tolerance to the intolerant.
Pluralism is not a suicide pact, and J Street is a poison pill if swallowed. There is no need to “broaden” the definition of Jewish, and the meaning of Jewish organizations, to the point of incoherence.
Yes, there are other Jewish organizations just as far to the left, Tikkun for one. Being on the far left is not a crime, and in the hands of the righteous it can be a virtue.
But the difference between J Street and Tikkun is that Tikkun’s Rabbi Michael Lerner is deeply devoted to the Jewish people, sending his son to serve in the IDF.
The difference is that Michael Lerner’s critique is L’Shaym Shamayim, (the classic, legitimate disagreement for the sake of serving God), he is not acting as the White House poodle.
The difference is that Michael Lerner loves the Jewish people, and loves and observes Shabbat, unlike J Street which told The New York Times that its leaders are a bunch of “intermarried, Buddhist-seder” goers — and so, disconnected from the fate of the Jewish future. (If the J Street left wants to say that Sen. Joe Lieberman is not a good Jew because of his politics, let’s start talking about who’s a good Jew, fine, let’s put that in play.)
Even if that intermarried-Buddhist disconnection can be overlooked on a personal level it is not acceptable for those claiming Jewish leadership.
But never to be forgiven is turning on Israel in the middle of the Gaza war. Never to be forgiven is admitting that its primary agenda is to help Obama, ahead of helping Israel and the Jewish people, a distorted priority if an organization claims to be an agent of Israel and the Jewish people.
If basic loyalty to the Jewish people and to Jewish soldiers on the battlefield are ”entrance requirements that fewer and fewer will meet” than so be it. I don’t care if there are only 100 Jews left in the fight – if they are loyal to God and loyal to each other, I’ll take my chances.
I trust the ambassador’s soul and good sense. If he’s convinced that J Street is dangerous, outside the pale, presenting a threat to Israel, I’m with Israel and the ambassador.
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