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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Maureen Dowd, "Ready For 45?": Care to Correct Your Cockamamie Opinion Piece, Mo?

J Street is pro-Israel?

Although The New York Times is studiously attempting not to make waves over Hillary's erased server, the reality is that we are looking at Watergate redux (the Times was also behind the curve regarding Nixon's erased tapes). Hillary is road kill, and if the Democrats nominate Elizabeth Warren in her stead, we will also be looking at a remake of the 1972 election in which only Massachusetts went for McGovern. Of course, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate still needs to be chosen, and it remains to be seen how much damage they can do to themselves in the interim.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Ready For 45?," Maureen Dowd considers a Jeb Bush 2016 candidacy. More specifically, she relates to Jeb's confusion as to how to deal with James ("fuck the Jews") Baker's recent J Street speech:

"At first Jeb Bush tried to distance himself from Baker distantly. He had his spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, send an email to reporters the day after Baker — one of his foreign policy advisers and his dad’s best friend, campaign manager and secretary of state — gave President Obama some bipartisan backup on Israel. Speaking to the liberal Israel advocacy group, J Street, Baker faulted the 'diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship' surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu. Baker’s criticism of the abrasive Israeli leader he once banned from the State Department sparked a furor among Republicans who want a loyalty oath on support for the Jewish state.

. . . .

Is Jeb aware that he tendentiously mischaracterized J Street as having 'anti-Israeli sentiments?' Opposing Netanyahu’s policies toward the Palestinians does not disqualify it as a pro-Israeli organization. On the contrary, many polls show that its views reflect the majority of American Jewish opinion."

Many polls show that the views of J Street "reflect the majority of American Jewish opinion"? Oh really? Dowd fails to provide any evidence of the veracity of this claim. Apparently, she is referring to a November 2014 poll carried out for J Street in which 800 American Jews were asked:

"Now, imagine that the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, China, Russia, and Iran reach a final agreement, which restricts Iran's enrichment of uranium to levels that are suitable for civilian energy purposes only, and places full-time international inspectors at Iranian nuclear facilities to make sure that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. Under this agreement, the United States and our allies will reduce sanctions on Iran as Iran meets the compliance benchmarks of the agreement. Would you support or oppose this agreement?"

The problem here is that the question was not grounded in reality, as noted by multiple commentators. Obama's pending deal with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei won't place "full-time international inspectors at Iranian nuclear facilities to make sure that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons." Heck, if an army of full-time IAEA inspectors were to be given free access to all Iranian nuclear and military facilities, making certain that no atomic bomb was in the works, now and in perpetuity, I would also favor such an agreement. However, in fact, Iran continues to refuse to allow IAEA inspectors anywhere near its top-secret Parchin military base outside of Tehran. Moreover, the proposed deal provides that the mullahs will be free within a decade to build nuclear weapons pursuant a "sunset clause."

But more to the point, does J Street have "anti-Israeli sentiments"? Dowd fails to observe that in April 2014, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations voted not to admit J Street. She also takes no note of a March 2014 Haaretz opinion piece entitled "J Street’s hypocrisy must be exposed" by Alan Dershowitz, who endorsed Obama in 2012. Describing J Street as an "American organization that calls itself pro-Israel and pro peace but that always seems to be taking positions that are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian," the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard went on to say:

"J Street only wants people to hear views to the anti-Israel hard left of its position. It categorically refuses to allow its members to hear views that are more centrist and more pro-Israel, such as my own.

. . . .

J Street survives, and even expands, largely as the result of speaking out of two sides of its mouth. It seeks to attract centrist members by advocating the two-state solution, an aggressive stance towards peace negotiations and criticisms of Israel’s settlement policies. These are positions I fully support, and if they were J Street’s only positions, I would have joined that organization many years ago. But in an effort to expand leftward, particularly hard leftward, it has taken positions that undercut Israel’s security and that virtually no Israeli center-leftists support. It placed its imprimatur behind the despicable and mendacious Goldstone Report by bringing Richard Goldstone to Capitol Hill and introducing him to members of Congress.

. . . .

J Street’s position on Iran has been extremely troubling. It opposes the United States threatening military action, even as a last resort.

. . . .

J Street has also spoken out of both sides of its mouth on the issue of whether the Palestinian leadership should recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

. . . .

Moreover, J Street has accepted funding from sources—such as George Soros—who are openly anti-Israel, and have kept this fact secret so as not to alienate its centrist supporters."

Before claiming that Jeb mischaracterized J Street as having "anti-Israeli sentiments," Dowd should have spoken with Professor Dershowitz, who is "a bit" more knowledgeable on this topic than she is.

All of which is not to say that Dowd is completely lost at sea in this op-ed. Dowd also writes:

"U.S. Middle East policy is so muddled that, after occupying and blowing up Iraq, we are working with Shiite Iran to push back Sunni insurgents in Iraq and working with Sunnis and their Saudi Arabian allies in Yemen against a Shiite militia that has Iranian support."

As I noted in a recent blog entry entry entitled "Obama's Schizophrenic Middle East Policy in Yemen and Iraq," this is indeed the case.

1 comment:

  1. The Guardian has already noticed the "J-Street" divide inside the Democratic Party, because the Maryland contest for the Democratic Senate nominee in 2016 has the two Dems that symbolize this divide:

    "...[Donna] Edwards has long been close to J Street, the leftwing Jewish group which takes a very dovish view of the peace process, and has long voted against efforts toughen sanctions on Iran and its nuclear programme. In 2013, she was one of only 20 members of Congress to vote against the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, a bipartisan bill which contained measures to strengthen sanctions.

    She also was one of 21 members to vote present on a 2009 resolution that recognized Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza. The resolution, co-sponsored by Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, passed by a margin of 390-5.

    Despite those votes, Edwards is not anti-Israel. Instead, one pro-Israel Democratic operative took pains to tell the Guardian: “I’m going to say she’s not pro-Israel.” ...

    ...Baltimore’s Jewish community is around 100,000 strong and turns out to vote at a rate of roughly 80%. He also pointed out that while Jews in the area “are heavily registered Democratic”, the community also has the largest percentage of Orthodox Jews in the country. In Maryland’s last competitive Democratic primary for the US Senate, in 2006, it was these voters who helped carry then Representative Ben Cardin to a narrow victory over former Representative Kweisi Mfume. ..."

    [postscript: last time New York went GOP was 1980 and 1984 as part of that Carter legacy! and NO Dem can run against the Obama legacy due to the cries of racism at every turn]