This position on Caryl Churchill is a manifestation of an aspect of J-Street that makes me uncomfortable. It’s not the entirety of J-Street - it’s the part which tries to fend off antisemitism with appeasement. “They say there’s a Jewish lobby? Well, we’ll show them a second Jewish lobby which speaks against the one they hate. We’ll be seen to criticise Israel. We’ll be recognised as US patriots. And then they’ll leave us alone”. The pathos is acute.
It's the good Jews all over again. With the prevalence of the Livingstone Formulation amongst the left-wingers that they wish to convert, J Street seems to think the best way to counter is by studiously refusing to call anything anti-Semitic (except, presumably, the most obscene cases). This is how one wins credibility on what passes for today's left; or it would, if it works. And I'm not sure it will -- Mr. Livingstone's fellow travelers are quite adept at recasting any criticism of leftist orthodoxies on Israel as knee-jerk accusations of anti-Semitism.
But to an extent, this is besides the point. Since I don't think a genuine left can take such a blase attitude towards resurgent anti-Semitic attitudes (even when they don't rise to the level of murderous violence), J Street's approach is more than just aggravating: it's an indictment of its professed political position. If J Street is going to be what it aspires to be, it can't take the easy way out. It might look more difficult to build a genuine pro-peace alternative to AIPAC without this form of appeasement. But I think J Street will find the people whom it thinks it is appealing to through this tact will not be true friends when push comes to shove. In any event, if J Street wanted to do things easy, it could have merged with AIPAC. There's a reason I and many others are looking for an alternative, and it isn't because we're just looking for another set of cliches to jump to.