….what’s in the news and what’s not–but should be is the theme of the Editor’s Cut from The Nation, one of America’s oldest and greatest liberal magazines. In this brief cut, we hear about the small and poorly funded anti-AIPAC effort called J Street. Will Obama eventually listen to them and others on the left?

To Israel, via J Street

July 1, 2008

For too long now, when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues of war and peace in the Middle East, the mainstream media and too many politicians in the US have deferred to the most extreme right-wing positions represented by organizations such as The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Christian Zionist communities.

In fact, there is a far more open and dynamic debate about the peace process in Israel than in the US. (For example, over 64 percent of Israelis favor direct talks with Hamas.) But a new lobby organization and PAC – J Street – aims to end the right-wing monopoly and give voice to the substantial number of Jewish and non-Jewish Americans with more moderate views on these issues.

Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami told me last week, “The important thing is that there’s a diversity of opinion in the American Jewish community. There’s no monolithic view… there’s an argument. And that’s what J Street’s about – it’s about the fact that we deserve representation too in this debate. We understand that there are a substantial number of American Jews who hold very right-wing positions when it comes to Israel and they should have a voice in the public policy process. But there’s also a very substantial number of American Jews who hold very moderate views on Israel and they also need a voice, and we should have that argument just like we do on any other public policy issue without resorting to name-calling, without labeling one side antisemitic or self-hating Jews and all of that. We should discuss the merits.”

What’s left out of this editor’s cut is failure to recognize the many liberal Jewish organizations that take a leftward, humanistic view in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which more closely reflects our liberal Democratic principles concerning civil and human rights. They are scattered throughout the United States and the world including Israel.

One of the largest organizations in the US, Jewish Voice for Peace, now consists of over 50,000 members and has branches in numerous cities across the country. Like J Street, it too is a voice in supporting a fair and just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet we never hear of it or of the many other organizations whose work seems too dangerous to vent in the mainstream media.

Who are they?

Jewish Voice for Peace is a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights. We support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.

We seek:

·    A U.S. foreign policy based on promoting peace, democracy, human rights, and respect
for international law
·    An end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem
·    A resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem consistent with international law and equity
·    An end to all violence against civilians
·    Peace among the peoples of the Middle East

We are among the many American Jews who say to the U.S. and Israeli governments: “Not in our names!”

JVP supports peace activists in Palestine and Israel, and works in broad coalition with other Jewish, Arab-American, faith-based, peace and social justice organizations.

Until politicians recognize that the Jewish community is not monolithic and refrains from cowtowing to right wing organizations like AIPAC, the AJC, or even the ADL, there will never be peace in Israel-Palestine. Only more land confiscations and killings necessary to achieve right wing Zionist goals.

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