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J Street loses bid to join Jewish leadership conference

J Street loses bid to join Jewish leadership conference

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations rejects J Street 17-22-3, far short of 2/3 needed.

We wrote the other day of the tensions between J Street and other pro-Israel groups, including on campuses, J Street issues media Fatwa against its toughest pro-Israel student opponent.

J Street wanted to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, but it was rejected today.

Via JTA:

J Street failed to gain admission to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The vote of conference members Wednesday was 17 in favor, 22 against and three abstentions, according to four sources.

J Street needed a two-thirds majority of the entire membership, 34 out of 51, for entry.

It was a no lose vote for J Street in reality. If it was admitted, it would be vindication for the relatively young group that it was a major player. If it lost, it could play victim, accuse others of smears (as it did to the Brandeis student who challenged it), and otherwise leverage its anti-establishment narrative.

Indeed, J Street lashed out at “right-wing” groups:

We are especially disappointed that a minority of the farthest right wing organizations within the Conference has chosen to close the Conference’s doors to this emerging generation of inspiring and passionate young leaders. In the long run, it does a grave disservice to the American Jewish community to drive some of our brightest young people away and to tell them that there is no place for them in an ever-shrinking communal tent where the conversation on Israel’s future is limited.

And its saavy media operation tweeted out a photo of a collapsed tent:

J Street Founder and Executive Director Jeremy Ben Ami called it’s the Conference’s loss:

Fundraising letter to follow, no doubt.

Before the vote, Jonathan Tobin at Commentary argued that it was better for J Street itself to lose:

The point here is that rather than signifying its acceptance, today’s vote is merely a sign that J Street failed in its mission to overturn the Jewish consensus on Israel. A seat in what is, for all intents and purposes, a debating society–most of whose members are little known even among American Jews–strikes me as a poor consolation prize for such a defeat.

It’s not at all clear, however, that the rejection has to do with J Streets politics. Yair Rosenberg notes that there are members who are even more left-wing than J Street. It appears to be personal, based on J Street’s sharp elbows:

Here are some other reactions.

The Brandeis student who was the focus of our prior post did not mince words:

For those of you who are interested, here’s a video of a debate between J Street’s founder and Alan Dershowitz:

(Featured image: J Street Logo)


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Juba Doobai! | May 1, 2014 at 2:12 am

George Soros lost. Let’s hope it’s the first of many rejections.

BannedbytheGuardian | May 1, 2014 at 2:27 am

Jewish politics where gentiles & angels head for the door.

Judging only from what I’ve seen of their approach and behavior, it doesn’t seem J Street is a fit for a conference for discussion of issues.

and Peter Beinart posts these:
“hey @PeaceNowUS, @AmeinuUSA, ever thought of resigning from Presidents’ Conference?”
“group most young American Jews have never heard of–and whose values are antithetical to their own–rejects @jstreetdotorg for membership”
That second one led me to leave this comment:
“so why do you care, unless J St. really thought it important? – so they could overthrow the American Jewish establishment from within. if they thought it important, and you don’t, that’s a big break. congrats on your independent thinking. in this case, anyway.”

If the Presidents’ conference accepted J Street, it would have no meaning. The only thing keeping them together is defense of Israel. (Does not explain why Peace Now is in, of course.) I would have expected an exodus of Orthodox groups to follow.

I am pretty amazed at Conservative and Reform establishment groups backing them. I am already aware of their heavy-handed actions at the Israeli Supreme Court (which unfortunately does not require standing), but I did not think they were soft on Israel’s security also.

I also highly recommend the debate with the terrific Bret Stephens and Shmuley Boteach.

Sour grapes.

J Street is deceptive because it purports to be a group that lobbies Washington DC on behalf of Jews. In reality it is a group that lobbies the Jewish community on behalf of the Democratic party. It is a partisan political group.
In the last 2 elections the Jewish community voted Democratic by and large but this is, and should be changing and J Street is an attempt to forestall that.
What impresses me tremendously are those Republicans who stand up for Israel because they know it is in the best interests of the United States. See the YouTube clip for a terrific example of this from Rep. Louis Gohmert

Such leadership, in spite of the Jewish community voting Democratic, demonstrate real honest conviction politics. These are the politicians whom the Jewish community should be supporting and voting for.

    RuthC in reply to RuthC. | May 1, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I should also add that I feel that the Jewish community should support pro-israel Republicans not just because of their pro-Israel stance, but because the philosophy that leads them to this stance is the right philosophy to address other political issues that are completely independent of US foreign policy. Hope that makes sense.