Yglesias defends J Street:
The claim [by J Street's conservative critics] is not just some cutesy pretense that J Street can’t “really” be pro-Israel since its policy agenda is bad. The argument is that the organization is some kind of elaborate fraud aiming at Israel’s destruction. Even Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, has gotten into the act, not just declining an invitation to appear at the J Street conference but publicly dissing the group.
As a narrow political strategy aimed at advancing the interests of the American Jewish right, this makes a great deal of sense.
Most people mostly don’t pay much attention to the details of public policy disputes, and that includes Jews and disputes about Israel. Instead, they rely on signals and heuristics. And most American Jews know that theythat weare pro-Israel. Control of the brand is thus a vital prop of support for people pushing a foreign policy agenda that’s more Bush than Obama. But for Israel itself this is a dangerous game that risks alienating a large swathperhaps even a majorityof American Jews.
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