Questions Arise Over J Street’s Impact on Election

November 13, 2012 2:34 pm 1 comment

J Street logo. Photo:J Street.

A U.S. election that many political pundits hailed as “a return to the status quo” was a different story for many in the pro-Israel community, with concerns arising over the future of bipartisan support for Israel relating to the influence of the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street. But others say J Street has overstated its influence.

J Street’s stated goal is “redefining what it means to be pro-Israel in America” by “changing the U.S. political dynamics around Israel.” However, critics contend that J Street’s efforts are ultimately anti-Israel, and several prominent Jewish leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have refused to meet with the group.

In the recent election, J Street’s political action committee—JStreetPAC—spent more than $1.8 million to endorse 71 candidates in the recent election. According to J Street, 70 of its endorsed candidates won.

J Street believes the election outcomes present an opportunity for American leadership to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“JStreetPAC’s resounding success speaks to the deep hunger among American Jews and friends of Israel for a political voice that represents their belief that American leadership is vital to achieving a two-state solution and to securing Israel’s Jewish, democratic future,” said J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami in a press release.

However, some feel that J Street is overstating its influence in many races that Democrats would have won regardless of the group’s support.

For instance, in the heavily contested Ohio Senate race between Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and Republican Josh Mandel, most analysts attribute Mandel’s loss to a backlash against Mitt Romney’s position on the auto bailout—not the money poured in by groups like J Street against Mandel.

“It is clear that J Street’s role in this year’s election was basically irrelevant, and certainly far humbler than its own superlative: ‘astounding,’” wrote columnist Lori Lowenthal Marcus in The Jewish Press.

There are also concerns that J Street’s efforts to support more liberal candidates may eventually lead to an erosion of bipartisan support for Israel—an issue that groups like AIPAC have worked hard to cultivate and maintain.

J Street supporters like Peter Beinart often “depict Israel as the obstacle to peace and favor U.S. pressure to force Israeli concessions,” wrote Middle East expert Stephen J. Rosen in Foreign Policy.

“As a result, these ideas are moving gradually from the far left to the center-left of the Democratic base. And as the older generation of Democratic stalwarts gradually passes from the scene and new Democrats to the left of their predecessors enter the House and Senate and slowly climb the ranks, there will be an evolution within the Democratic Party,” Rosen wrote.

1 Comment

  • It is possible to be a stalwart supporter of Israel without supporting every position the Israeli Government takes.

    Just look at the last election – Netanyahu came out and undermined Obama, and Republicans ran scare ads in many states accusing Obama of being soft on Israel.

    After the election, when he no longer had to court the Jewish vote, did Obama throw Israel to the wolves?

    Not at all. He backed Israel strongly this week.

    On the other hand, nothing drives our left-leaning allies away like ham-handed attempts to maintain a monolithic AIPAC party line of pro-Likud support.

    So can we please stop with the hand-wringing? J Street is a legitimate supporter of Israel, even if you don’t agree with everything it does.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the moral of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry has [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.