Washington Post – There is good reason that J Street, until publicly shamed into releasing the video of its 2009 conference, did not want Chuck Hagel’s speech and, more important, the Q&A seen by senators and the public at large. The prepared remarks are bad enough, evidencing a slew of bizarre views and embarrassingly wrong analysis of the Middle East. I will get to that in a separate post, but first let us look at what was in the video but not in the prepared remarks.
At the onset Hagel praised Victor Kovner, who founded J Street and was being honored by the group. Kovner expressly set up J Street to protect those like Hagel from criticism for their anti-Israel views. The New York Times reported, “He [Kovner] said candidates would also be able to use the group’s endorsements as a shield against accusations that they were anti-Israel.”