Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Morning Critique

Michael Lame makes a good point in this morning's Haaretz about J Street's latest TV ad posted at Communityofyes.org (Presumably the URL Supportersofrainbows.org was taken already):

"[J Street] mixes up its views on the issues with domestic party politics. Just as barriers between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East need to be removed, barriers regarding the future of Israel/Palestine should not be erected between Democrats and Republicans."

One of AIPAC's successes was framing Israel as a non-partisan issue. And just as J Street points out that disagreeing with the Israeli government does not make one anti-Israel on face, it also shouldn't define someone as Democrat or Republican. In the short term, aligning with Democratic Party rhetoric is clearly in J Street's interest. However, implying that conservative supporters of Israel are as conservative as Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin may alienate the demographic of centrist pro-Israel Democrats, who are a significant voice in the pro-Israel camp. Additionally, engaging constituents who are knee jerk partisans will create a base which criticizes Israel out of adherence to liberal ideology, rather than a personal concern for the well being of the Jewish state. This will ultimately de-legitimize the center left pro-Israel camp, and I fear it may de-legitimize J Street.

Maybe it's just the academic in me speaking, but it seems like this conflict has enough ideological partisans as it is.

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