Friday, April 25, 2008

"J Street"

I first read about this a few weeks ago, then heard somebody mention it at a meeting I went to, and then today's New York Times buried a piece about it pretty far back in the front section.

"J Street" is a new American political action committee to support Israel, but one that will also take a critical eye at Israel's steps towards peace. It's inteded to be a counterweight (unlikely) to AIPAC, the America Israel Political Action Committee, that is well-funded, strong and is widely known to exert considerable influence on Congressional representatives.

"J Street" sounds like it's "Jewish" street, and I'm sure that's partly intentional. But the streets in Washington DC are lettered, "K Street" is the euphemism for lobbying organizations (since many are headquartered there), so "J Street" is playing off that as well. Ironically, there is actually no "J Street" in DC for some reason.

As someone who is pro-Israel, but have been uncomfortable with many of that government's actions vis-a-vis the Palestinians, I am looking forward to seeing what influence "J Street" might develop. AIPAC is often criticized as being monolithic in its support of Israel, believing that any criticism of Israel is tantamount to anti-Semitism.

Perhaps "J Street" can contribute to a more balanced dialogue leading to peace. I've registered on their site to receive informational updates, and invite you to consider that too.

Until next time...


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