Thursday, November 10, 2011

Narrow Interests

The Washington Jewish Week has a new piece up on the ongoing skirmishes between the liberal J Street and conservative Emergency Committee for Israel. The story's focus is on the ECI taking credit for reducing the number of congressional signatures on a J Street-backed letter -- even though everyone agrees that the letter is "staunchly pro-Israel". In fact, the ECI hasn't quibbled with the letter's content at all. It simply is wreaking havoc for havoc's sake -- and declaring victory because fewer legislators are putting their names on a document defending Israel's security.

And so a J Street spokesperson replied "It's a sad day when ECI puts narrow partisan interests over Israeli security and calls it a victory." To which I say that's far, far too kind. The ECI's entire raison d'etre is to put narrow partisan interests over Israeli security. I asked some veteran Jewish journalists whether they could think of a single instance where the ECI hadn't done this -- where it had acted to put Israeli security over narrow GOP partisan interests. So far, no response -- but it's a fun parlor game you can play with the whole family.

Of course, it shouldn't surprise us that the ECI's commitment to Israel is so thin. That's what happens when you let the notoriously mercurial Noah Pollak be Executive Director of your allegedly "pro-Israel". What you get is a group that cares a lot about seeing Democratic politicians defeated, and very little about seeing Israel survive and thrive as a secure, Jewish, democratic state.

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