Talking J Street

Goldblog has a must-read interview with Jeremy Ben-Ami. It's both funny at times and also informative. One interesting nugget:

JG: You have a situation now in which the Obama Administration has obviously failed to achieve a settlement freeze.  You believe that the American government should pressure both the Arabs and the Israelis to come to the table and reach a deal. If Israel ignores the entreaties of the American president, should continuing American military aid to Israel be up for discussion?

JB: The short answer is no, but there's actually a longer explanation for the no.

The short answer is that military aid should not be on the table -- this is an absolutely essential aspect of Israel's security, and it's an essential aspect of the U.S.-Israel relationship. However, the U.S. should be able to get across that, as an ally, and as a partner in this relationship with its own interests and view of what will actually move the situation forward, its voice and its views need to be listened to, and that means some serious, behind-closed-doors conversations between the president and the prime minister.

JG: But they've already had those.

JB: I don't know what took places in those conversations.

JG: Well, they didn't work yet.

What's interesting here is that J-Street's head insists that the only serious lever the US has over Israel should be taken off the table before any deal is even negotiated. This is the lefty, peacenik, goddamned hippie position! Military aid, mind you, is already formally illegal because of Israel's secret nuclear bomb program (which no American president can, you know, mention), but is retained because, well, because it would never be repealed by the Congress. And so Netanyahu knows he can do anything he wants without any real blowback from the US. And he has about as much interest in a two-state solution as I have in marrying a woman.

This leaves the US with no leverage over a central party in critical discussions which indeed affect the national security of Americans. In what other case does that apply?