pro-Israel activism

Blogging J Street, just a little

I can't spend a lot of time at J Street's second national conference, going on now at Washington's cavernous Convention Center, but I was there yesterday as a panelist in a session on the Jewish vote and spent a little time shmoozing, and I've been watching the sessions streamed on the J Street Web site.

Assessing J Street

Since last week's story on J Street, several readers have asked about my assessment of how the group is doing after almost three tumultuous years.

UN resolution hysteria: how to make enemies, not friends

It used to be that a primary goal of Israel's friends in this country was to ensure strong U.S.-Israel relations and to create a genuinely bipartisan wall of support for the Jewish state in U.S. politics.

Now, the goal seems more to take advantage of today's bitter partisanship to advance a specific vision of U.S.-Israeli relations or support a particular political viewpoint in Israel. Or to use Israel as just another wedge issue in the U.S. partisan wars.

J Street Vows To Calibrate Tone Amid Criticism

On eve of national conference and third anniversary, lobby group says it will moderate message in Congress.

02/16/2011
Washington Correspondent

When J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace process” group that has become a lightning rod for volcanic differences in American Jewish life, distributed the schedule for its upcoming national conference, nervous members of Congress were quick to note one session: a panel on the boycotts, sanctions and divestment movement that will include a leading Jewish supporter of BDS.

That, in a nutshell, points to what could be the biggest problem facing the political action committee and lobby as it nears its third anniversary.

Capitol steps, and missteps: Eight J Street-backed congressional candidates in 2008. Courtesy of J Street

Day Schools Need New Israel Ed Approach

Study suggests students need fuller picture of Jewish state to forge connection.

02/16/2011
Editor And Publisher

 An eye-opening and somewhat discomforting new study of day school students’ attitudes about Israel has me wondering whether we need to rethink and recalibrate our approach toward traditional Zionist advocacy.

Gary Rosenblatt

AIPAC's spokesman as press punching bag

So AIPAC has a new press spokeman. I wish Ari Goldberg well; he's going to need it.

In 25 years of covering the pro-Israel lobby I've grown to have a certain sympathy for its press minions – at times human punching bags standing between a skeptical press and wary organization officials who shun publicity – except when they want it.

J Street apologizes to Ackerman, doesn't back off from UN resolution position

 J Street's spat with Rep. Gary Ackerman took another turn today when it apologized for its strong reaction to the New York Democrat's statement last repudiating the pro-peace process group.

But J Street isn't backing away from the statement that touched off the fracas in the first place – its request that the Obama administration consider not vetoing a pending UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity.

Hyperbole about J Street

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the response I'm hearing to my story  and my blog about J Street and the controversy over a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity.

For starters:  talk about over-the-top Holocaust analogies – not that most Holocaust analogies aren't over the top.

Martin Luther King and Jewish isolation

On Martin Luther King's birthday, we're going to hear a lot of starry eyed reminisces about the glory days of black-Jewish amity during the civil rights movement, and muttered complaints about anti-Semitism among African Americans. And we're going to hear the usual stories about how King wasn't a perfect human being and how he sometimes opposed the things most of the Jewish community supports.

Major Boost For Birthright Funding; Tipping Point In Sight

A new landmark in the effort to strengthen Jewish identity and positive connection to Israel among diaspora youth was reached this week with the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that his government has approved $100 million in funding for Birthright Israel over the next three years.

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