In recent weeks, the Jewish blogosphere has been in a state of collective shpilkas. Even before the flotilla incident, Jews in America and Israel were hotly debating two essays, Danny Gordis’ “The Storm Ahead” in the Jerusalem Post and Peter Beinart’s “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” in The New York Review of Books.
Peter Beinart, the former New Republic editor whose strong critique of the American Jewish establishment in a New York Review of Books essay continues to reverberate in the community, says he has been pleasantly surprised by the responses he has received from pro-Israel critics
Want to know just how well the fierce campaign by pro-Israel hawks to delegitimze J Street is working? Then pay close attention to the Senate race in Pennsylvania.
This week J Street, the pro-peace process, pro-Israel (don't bother sending nasty emails, I know your arguments) political action committee and lobby, endorsed Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democrat who unseated Sen. Arlen Specter, most recently a Democrat as well, in last week's primary.
Before heading to bed last night, I logged onto the New York Review of Books Web site. On the front-page was a powerful article by former New Republic editor Peter Beinart that lambasts American Jewish organizations -- AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, and so on -- for letting their steadfast support for Israel trump the liberal ethos that informs broader American Jewish identity. I was sure this would cause a storm.
American pro-Israel groups, mostly an echo chamber for the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem, have jumped on the “don't present a U.S. peace plan” refrain like ants jump on picnic scraps. But a longtime Israeli diplomat has different ideas.
You can bet some pro-Israel hardliners won't be weeping salt tears over today's announcement by Rep. David Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat and the dean of the congressional appropriations process, that he will be retiring.
But a lot of pro-Israel lobbyists who have worked with him over the years say his departure after 41 years in the House will be a big loss for the nation – and possibly for Israel.