Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First Schism At J Street

Phillip Weiss reports:

The leadership of J Street is to the right of its base. The base is leftleaning. A lot of them are old Brit Tzedek types who are overjoyed to be in the mainstream at last (as Scott McConnell observed) but they don’t cheer when Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois says she’s signed on to the Iran sanctions bill. That’s big, that they’re sitting on their hands. Also the young people are many of them weirded out by Israel. They’re openly uncomfortable, upset, and the big news tonight, the thing that excited us at dinner, was learning that the campus branch of the group has dropped the "pro-Israel" phrase from its slogan, "pro-Israel, pro-peace." This strikes me as a historic blow of non-Zionism, or anyway of Jewish discomfort with the ways of the Jewish state.
There, the source is Lauren Barr, secretary of the J Street U student board who is quoted saying:

"We don't want to isolate people because they don't feel quite so comfortable with 'pro-Israel,' so we say 'pro-peace, but behind that is 'pro-Israel.'...people feel alienated when the conversation revolves around a connection to Israel only, because people feel connected to Palestine, people feel connected to social justice, people feel connected to the Middle East."

1 comment:

parrhesia said...

I'm currently at 31,000 ft. returning to Boston. I can confirm the drop of "Pro Israel" but whether that represents a "schism" I don't know. I would suspect that Ben Ami might "speak" to the young guards and implore them to restore the brand, but if unsuccessful, he'll move on exploiting their large and naive numbers.