In a post titled "The Real Problem with J Street" (twitter teased with "it's not what people think") The right-wing pro-Israel blog "Israelly Cool" more or less endorses the attack, writing that while Kapos were "forced" to betray their coreligionists, "J Street turned against its own people all by themselves. They didn’t need Nazis pointing guns to their heads to do that." I've said what needs to be said on that bit of viciousness, and won't rehash.
But they also contend that the reason Friedman and others dislike J Street actually has nothing to do with its advocacy for a two-state solution.
Let’s be real guys, J street isn’t about two states. Friedman would not have called them that if they were just a bunch of liberal Jews fighting for a two state solution. Heck, the Likud does not oppose two states. I don’t see Friedman having problems with them. I wouldn’t be against J Street if all they were about was advocating a two-state solution.So what is it? Well, we're told, the problem is that J Street is nothing but a scold. It never praises Israel when it does things well. It never backs Israel up when it's under attack. All it does is nag, nag, nag.
J Street is that snitch who screams about all your wrongdoings to not only your parents but also your aunts, uncles, cousins, your hairdresser, your manicurist, your dogsitter, your straight edge friend whom you know might judge you, and even that cute frum guy from shul who you’ve been trying to attract for the last few months.
When you do right J Street is quiet. You get an A on an exam in a class you’ve been failing? Quiet. You defend a kid at school who is being bullied? Silence. You win a medal for citizenship? Silence. You sneeze the wrong way and you get a 2-hour lecture.
“You can never learn from praise, only criticism can make you better, so praise is pointless.”
That’s J Street’s motto. It was also something my mother said to me several years ago when I asked her why she never praised me, and then she apologized and changed her ways and now she’s great. J Street has no plans to apologize anytime soon. Actually everything is Israel’s fault.I've never been a member of J Street. But I've seen them attacked this way a lot.* And it's untrue. Obviously, transparently, easily-proven-to-be untrue. As a public service, below is a small list of recent occasions where J Street praised, defended, or otherwise backed Israel:
August 23, 2016: J Street Condemns Fatah Boast of Murdering Israelis.Of course, this is not all that J Street does (nor should it be all J Street does). But it does falsify the argument from a certain class of J Street critics that their objections have nothing to do with J Street's policy ambitions and are simply due to the organization being "silent" any time Israel does something good or needs legitimate aid. When Israel does praiseworthy things, J Street praises it. When it needs backing, J Street urges it. These are mixed in -- as they should be -- with criticism when Israel does critique-worthy things, and pressure when Israel needs pressure to do things.
September 13, 2016: J Street Welcomes US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding [securing $3.8 billion of annual US aid to Israel].
October 9, 2016: J Street Saddened and Outraged by Jerusalem Terror Attack.
October 13, 2016: Resolution Adopted by UNESCO Member States Shows Contempt for Jewish People's Ties to the Temple Mount.
Oct. 26, 2016: Authorization of New Palestinian Construction in West Bank is Welcome Step; Must be Followed with Further Action.
Nov. 25, 2016: J Street Stands with Victims of Fires in Israel and West Bank.
So why do people pretend that their problem with J Street is something that it isn't? Earlier this month on Twitter, I wrote the following:
That is the rub. The right's problem with J Street isn't that their criticisms are illegitimate. The right's problem with J Street is that's its criticisms are, by and large, entirely fair play. And thus they sting. And to alleviate that sting it is easier to project them into a different class of critic -- one that does exist! -- who only levels ridiculous, outrageous, one-sided attacks on Israel and does nothing else, than it is to grapple with the hard, jarring, disorienting thought that they might well have a point that needs attending to.Some ppl are wholly one-sided. But some ppl who criticize Pals are said never to do so so they can be dismissed as "only criticizing Israel" https://t.co/YKQbSmz9zl— David Schraub (@schraubd) December 4, 2016
In short, the real problem the right has with J Street is exactly what you think it is: They don't like that J Street makes them think difficult thoughts about Israel. Nothing more. Nothing less.
* Well, not the mommy issues part. That one's new.