J Street Loses

It seems as if J Street, the liberal, ostensibly pro-Israel group, has lost the game it set out to play. I'm not referring here to its decision to take money from George Soros (which calls into question its pro-Israel bona fides, given Soros's barely-masked hostility to Zionism), and then lie about it (to The Atlantic, among others) or to its mysterious funding source in Hong Kong. I'll come back to that later. It has lost because it has failed to convince President Obama, and Congress, and most of organized American Jewry, to pressure Israel to unilaterally cease settlement activity on the West Bank, in advance of peace negotations. Ben Smith:

Now that the (settlement) moratorium has expired, the Obama administration has completed a subtle tilt toward Israel's point of view. The problem is no longer Israel's actions: It's the Palestinian insistence that one issue - settlements - be resolved before talks can begin.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now feeling some of the heat reserved last year for Netanyahu, and facing the prospect that if he fulfills his promise to withdraw from talks, he will bear the full blame for their collapse...

The shift is the subject of quiet self-congratulations among hawkish Israelis and their American allies. After the difficult start of his relationship with Obama and his humiliation at the hands of Clinton's, Netanyahu sought to give Obama one thing he wanted: An absolute promise to being peace talks.
AIPAC has won. J Street has lost.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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