Obama’s Shift from AIPAC to J Street

jstreetJ Street, the self-described pro-Israel and pro-peace organization, has announced on its website that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be its keynote speaker at its annual conference scheduled to commence on September 28, 2013. Hitherto, President Obama has been unwilling to authorize his high-ranking officials to participate in the J Street conferences. However, Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago buddy of Barack Obama, who now serves as Senior Advisor to Obama and as Assistant to the president for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, was a major presenter at J Street’s 2012 conference. The significance of Biden’s acceptance of the invitation is that it may signal an Obama administration shift from supporting the traditional Jewish mainstream positions of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) on Israel to that of the left-leaning, and openly Democratic Party stalwart J Street.

Clearly, Barack Obama no longer needs AIPAC to help him win a presidential election.  He does, however, want and need Jewish Democrat participation in the 2014 Congressional elections in order to take away the House of Representatives from the Republicans. He would like to reward Nancy Pelosi with the House Speakership. The preservation of ObamaCare is particularly important for Obama’s personal legacy.

In the realm of foreign policy, Obama seeks the coveted legacy of being the peace-maker between Israel and the Palestinians.  He is cognizant that his recent predecessors have all failed in their quest to bring accommodation, if not peace. Bill Clinton’s Oslo Accords are in a shambles and Arafat’s September, 2000 intifada saw to that. Israelis rejected the Oslo Accords twice by electing Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. The Palestinians, as well, did not get what they were promised by Arafat: a collapsed Israel that will give way to an Arab Islamic Palestine from the River to the Sea. George W. Bush’s Road Map has had torturous twists and has led to nowhere. Obama has decided that his approach, which is the same as J Street, would make the difference.

The J Street blog (September 24, 2013) points with pride to President Obama’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, suggesting that Obama adopted J Street’s vision of peace between Israel and the Palestinians (which Palestinians,  Hamas or Fatah?) based on the two-state solution. J Street stated that it “welcomes that call and urges other American Jewish organizations to do the same.” The blog quoted Obama saying, “Friends of Israel, including the United States, must recognize that Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state depends on the realization of a Palestinian state. And we should say so clearly.”  The President stressed that “Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish homeland depended on reaching peace with the Palestinians. There’s a growing recognition within Israel that the occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the democratic fabric of the Jewish state.”

J Street also welcomed Obama’s pledge to test the “diplomatic path in an effort to solve the nuclear crisis with Iran peacefully.”

The premise of a Palestinian State J Street shares with President Obama is naïve, if not erroneous. A Palestinian State at this stage in history will be an unstable and terrorism-prone state.  Israel’s Jewish character and its vibrant democracy have been sustained now for 46 years without a Palestinian state. And the demographic boogieman that J Street and the Israeli-left warned about is far from a reality. Recent decades, moreover, have witnessed a surge in Jewish demographic growth and a decline in Arab-Palestinian growth, as the latter become wealthier, more educated and urbanized.

The U.S. and the West have been testing the “diplomatic path” with Iran since 2009, and the only result is that it has allowed the radical Islamic regime to come closer to developing a nuclear bomb.

In its policy positions, J Street declares, “In the 21st century, we have reached a moment in history where supporting a Palestinian state is the only way to ensure Israel’s survival as a democracy and a national home for the Jewish people. Being pro-peace is, indeed, being pro-Israel.”

J Street believes that Israel must return to the June 4, 1967 boundaries, with a few modifications, such as land swaps. In the modern age of terrorism and missiles, that would be akin to what Abba Eban, Israel’s legendary Foreign Minister called “Auschwitz borders.” But, J Street endorsed President Obama’s May 19, 2011 statement. “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

J Street supports the division of the holy city, Jerusalem. “Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem would fall under Israeli sovereignty and the Arab neighborhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty.” This would mean that historical and religious Jewish sites will come under Palestinian control. The Prospects of Jewish access to holy places such as the Kotel would be fraught with danger from Palestinian shooters. Moreover, the Cave of the Machpela in Hebron, (burial place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) just like Joseph’s tomb in Nablus, would be forbidden to Jews.

J Street, like Israel’s Peace Now movement, takes the view that the settlements are an “obstacle to peace.”  When Israel agreed to the “Road Map” in 2003, it agreed to freeze settlement construction on the condition that the Palestinians would renounce their terrorist tactics and end the deadly incitement against Jews and Israelis as well as recognize Israel as a Jewish State.  Israelis, therefore, continued to expand existing settlements as needed to accommodate the “natural growth” of the inhabitants. There are no legal prohibitions on Israeli Jews living anywhere in Judea and Samaria. Arabs, after all, live in Israel, and it would be hypocritical to deny the same rights to Jews, unless of course you are Saudi Arabia or Jordan, which are legally “judenrein.”

According to J Street:

Continued settlement growth undermines the prospects for peace by making Palestinians doubt Israeli motives and commitment, and by complicating the territorial compromises that will be necessary in final status talks. The arrangements that have been made for the benefit of settlers and for security – checkpoints, settler-only roads, and the route of the security barrier – have all made daily life more difficult for Palestinians, deepening hostility and increasing the odds of violence and conflict.

Suffice it to say that under the Oslo Accords, Area C, where virtually all Jewish settlements are located, was designated to be under both Israeli military and civilian control. Areas A and B are under Palestinian control. Once the border issues are negotiated, it is more than likely that significant portions of area C would become part of Israel.

It is understandable why Obama supports J Street. The latter group fully supports his vision of an Israeli-Palestinian peace. What is hard to understand is Biden’s move to please J Street. Biden has been the most hawkish pro-Israel member of Obama’s team, and a frequent guest of AIPAC. The Louis Susman factor is one reason. Susman, one of Obama’s chief campaign-contribution bundlers, has also been a close friend of Biden. J Street recruited Susman to be a member of their board and used his influence to bring Biden to the J Street conference. In considering a run for the U.S. Presidency, Biden needs people like Susman. But, it could also signal the Obama administration open shift from supporting the traditional Jewish mainstream positions of AIPAC on Israel to that of J Street.

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    Send “J”Ihad Street to Syria where they can use their organizational and consensus building skills to stop the killing in Syria – 100,000+ according to the UN.

    Make sure the “J”ihad Street activists identify themselves as Jews in Syria.

    Anyone remember the TV series Mission : Impossible? Several episodes had the MI team setup the Bad guys to end be being arrested or worse by their own people. “J”ihad Street needs to feel the “love” of the Islamofascists they shill for.

    • Jacques Shellac

      The problem being that members of J Street are more closely aligned with the Syrian Ba’athists … They’ve publically distanced themselves from it, yet have also paradoxically ran political interference for Assad’s regime.

  • Bert

    To understand what is happening today it will help to read a short article by Rabbi Meir Kahane from 1990.

    • Undezog

      The great Rav Meir Kahane, zt”l quoted from the Tannakh that we (the Jews) are a people that dwells alone and are not to be reckoned by other nations.

  • Lanna

    Obama told the Islamic nations, “You will see what I’m going to do about Israel.”

    • etime

      Yes cause he is an Islamic black terrorist that has nothing but evil intentions to destroy Israel and the world economy.

      The US has done nothing but stand by Israel through thick and thin. If the US decides to pursue peace it dam well has the right to.

      • Lanna

        The Obama regime had Israel in its sights before he even got elected. Goes back to Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse, nations that support attacks on Israel will suffer, no wonder the US is in decline. All the false Jews who are in league with Muslim terrorists will receive harsh judgement.that includes J street and Aipac, who are not going to really help Israel. Never fall into the deception and never donate to them!

  • watsa46

    According to J street, Israel must renounce her core values to survive. Holy sites are integral parts of core values. This is a socialistic and anti-Zionist position.

    • victoryman

      The J Street “Jews” do not practice the religion of Judaism. Their religion is Liberalism/Socialism.

    • Jacques Shellac

      It’s an anti-Israeli position designed to be palatable with the US public.

      • watsa46

        You mean the US socialists and the liberal Jews.
        However, IL has the Ethics, the Morale High Ground, the healthy core values. And in the nightmare of the ME which has been made significantly worst by the US adm and EU, IL continues the practice of tikkun olan. We all need to remember that IL, since her birth, has not a single day of peace !!!

  • poetcomic1

    J Street are the kind of Jews who kept the trains from the ghettos running on schedule. New enemies and new kind of traitors.

  • celador2

    I have a feeling he is not concerned with peace for Israeli and Palestinians as much as he is growing jihadists in ME. The peace process is an obligation and a front but he has no interest in walking the extra ,mile for peace that lasts.
    Why does he arm Sunni ‘rebels’ that are working with A Qaeda? A Q hit US three times on 9-11 and he will turn over Syria to them?

  • celador2

    Biden is junior partner and spokesman for Obama from war in ME to a flip on peace process. If he runs for WH in 2016 which Joe will run? The one from Senate or VP Joe? VP Joe and Hillary are the same.

  • joesph

    “J” Street is obviously another front group for ‘terror’….In the world of public relations lies are as ‘legal tender’ like ‘federal reserve notes’ are as money….truth is the only real thing and Obama and his horde of monsters are anything but telling the truth…..

  • Jillian Becker

    J Street is working to destroy Israel. So is Obama. They are partners whether they acknowledge it or not.

    • Jacques Shellac

      I don’t think Obama really cares, one way or the other. He just wants to support his Leftist base. Those are the people who really despise Israel.

  • JohnWV

    Israel defines itself as a Jewish state and will never accept a non apartheid democracy with a Jewish minority. Continuing illegal annexations, settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing have also precluded any negotiated two state solution. The Jewish State must be forced to recognize an armed Palestine with externally enforced autonomy, eviction of all settlers, true contiguity encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem together, neither pinched nor parceled, and pay punitive reparations. American foreign policy must again serve American interests, not the Jewish state’s paranoid pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and racist empire.

  • john

    JStreet represents the consensus in Israel apparently. At the conference I heard from Minister Tzipi Livni and M Ks Zehava Galon, Shelly Yachimovich, Ruth Calderon, Tzachi Hanegbi, Merav Michaeki, Meir Sheetrit and Deputy Speaker Yitzhak Vaknin. Nope, we are not self haters, just a lot of people who love Israel and understand that peace based on two states is required to guarantee the future of a Jewish, Zionist and Democratic Israel. And no one is competing with or challenging AIPAC. After all the President spoke at AIPAC; JStreet was honored with the Vice President.

  • Gil

    Dear Press:

    As an active member of AIPAC, I can ensure you that AIPAC has achieved great success this past month and continues to grow strong by advocating, through bipartisanship, to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States.  This includes building strong commercial and military ties between the two closest allies.

    In the past month alone, AIPAC members wrote to members and representatives of Congress and the Senate, in thanking them for their support on the following issues, that AIPAC lobbied for:

    (1) Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. In the Senate, members have passed a resolution (S. Res. 65) declaring that the United States will stand by Israel should it feel compelled to take military action in its own defense against Iran. In the House, members have passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850), which authorizes the president to impose sanctions on any entity that maintains significant commercial ties to Iran.
    AIPAC members urged their House and Senate members to support both measures in order to send a strong message that the United States will act to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

    (2) Strengthening the U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation by officially designating Israel as a “major strategic partner.” Such a designation will help the two nations maximize the benefits of their alliance, which includes both commercial and military ties.

    (3) Supporting the full $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel that the U.S. committed to for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and beyond, as well as the $211 million in additional funding for the Iron Dome.

    These are huge successes in which AIPAC was a part of, thus, continuing to enact public policy that strengthens the vital U.S.-Israel relationship.

    To clarify, the opinion on Iran is not confined to or shared only by the lobby or neoconservatives, but it is understood by all of the American people and the modern world that Iran is a safe haven for terrorists and extreme islamic fundamentalism that threatens Israel’s security and existence as well as US’s security and existence (with the two nations connected both economically and militarily) through the Iranian nuclear development program, and must be dealt with TOGETHER at all costs.  It is an unfortunate circumstance but Iran and other rogue nations in the middle east and elsewhere detest everything that Israel and the US stands for: freedom, democracy, technological progression and capitalism; thus, AIPAC advocates to members of Congress, the Senate and the executive branch of the US (through bipartisanship) that this threat should be dealt with accordingly.

    One is entitled to his/her opinion, but I can sure you that AIPAC is stronger than ever, and will continue to grow as an inclusive organization in ensuring that both America and Israel are kept safe, secure, and strong, and most importantly, united for today and in the future.