From Goldblog reader Matan Shamir:
The whole issue of J-Street brings to the fore necessitates a discussion of what exactly is "pro-Israel"? J-Street is quite defensive and insecure on this issue given how often they emphasize their critique of Israel's policies is undeniably pro-Israel. Overall, I don't think the Jewish community has carefully examined the pro-Israel question without falling into a polemical argument in which each side assumes the worst of the other.
That being said, I clearly don't believe J-Street is anti-Israel but neither is it pro-Israel. Let me explain. J-Street has positioned itself as the mirror image of AIPAC. Where AIPAC provides Israel "wholesale" backing (Well, that what a lobby does. And you don't see AIPAC directly lobbying on behalf of Israeli settlements), J-Street will offer critique on Israeli policies in order to enhance prospects for peace and provide security for Israel.
I don't deny that J-Streeters care about Israel, but the way in which J-Street single-handedly focuses on criticizing Israel, while ignoring the extremism of Israel's enemies (e.g. The Right of Return), seems to place the organization outside the pro-Israel realm. As far as I've seen, J-Street has offered little or no positive words for Israel. J-Street may want to be the anti-AIPAC, but by only speaking negatively, with little or no positive words for Israel, it has placed itself outside the realm of the pro-Israel community. To me it is clear that one cannot be pro-Israel by only critiquing the country, which in turn belittles the struggle for peace and security Israel faces.
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