Alternative Israeli lobby group launches in the US

#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7349371.stm

Are liberal Jewish voices in America being drowned out by powerful conservative lobbyists? A group of prominent left-leaning Jewish-Americans thinks so.

They have launched a new lobbying organisation, called J Street, which they hope will redress this perceived imbalance.

"The term 'pro-Israel' has been hijacked by those who hold views that a majority of Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, oppose," says executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton.

He says J Street will campaign for a two-state solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

Its political fundraising sister group - J Street PAC, for political action committee - will raise money and donate to sympathetic politicians.

The group is billing itself as a counterweight to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), the most prominent Jewish lobbying organisation in the US.

J Street says Aipac does not reflect the liberal views of a large number of its existing donors, let alone the mainstream of Jewish-American opinion.

The role of the pro-Israeli lobby - and of Aipac itself - in American politics has been the subject of furious debate in recent years.

In 2006, academics Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago caused a storm when they published an article arguing that groups like Aipac had pushed US foreign policy in a pro-Israeli direction often against America's national interests.

Critics of the two academics countered that the pro-Israeli lobby should be allowed to make its case to government just like any other interest group, and that characterisations of Jewish lobbyists as "well-funded" and "powerful" were liable to play into the hands of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

The team behind J Street do not necessarily buy into the Walt-Mearsheimer analysis, but they do believe that America's current policy tilts too strongly towards Israeli right-wingers, and is in the long-term interests neither of Israel nor the US.

"The most pro-Israel thing any American politician or policy maker can do is help to bring about a two-state solution and a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and her neighbours," says Mr Ben-Ami.
Interesting.

They might not be able to counter the juggernaut that is AIPAC but it's nice to know that not all US supporters of Israel are horrible Netanyahu types.
 
#3
Many would agree that if we could put the clock back to 1917 we would have preffered Balfour never to have made his declaration. What followed the declaration was a complete betrayal and disregard for the political rights of the Arabs and specifically those Arabs living in Palestine. However the Zionist state cannot be dis-invented. It is here to stay. I do not understand what strategic interest of the USA is served by its Pavlovian support of Israel. I wish the new lobbying organisation (see above) success.
 

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