Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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...

  • Relationships Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Millionaire entrepreneur Yossi Vardi credited his success in start-ups to his Jewish mother continuously pushing him to do better, Daily Mail reported on Thursday. “Jewish mothers are never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough,” he said, adding that his mother, who died 15 years ago, used to compare him with his cousins and say he was “an idiot.” “For most of my life I have been trying to show her I’m not,” he continued. “I keep on trying even now.” Vardi, […]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →