AIPAC and JStreet
It is undeniable that AIPAC has tilted to the right over the last 10 years, almost hijacked by hawkish constituents. Perhaps then the birth of JStreet is an unavoidable outcome. My concern though
is that now AIPAC’s supporters will react by tilting it further to the right as a reaction, and JStreet will tilt further to the left to build its coalition, creating the void in the center that is so damaging to the process. Just like AIPAC and the right some times use scare tactics to rally supporters, now JStreet is using the scary and annoying poster-children of the far right – including scary people like Anne Coulter – to rally the left. The effect, though, is the "sound-bite" perception that you are "left" or "right" – whereas life is far more nuanced. Amy Friedkin, past President of AIPAC, is the most elegant thinker and thoughtful moderate.
It is sad that politics tend to drive people to extreme party positions. And it is rare that someone like John McCain or Barak Obama rises to challenge the us-vs-them approach to politics and instead challenges all of us to unite for making this a better world. Hilary Clinton mocked Obama for saying this, averring that you have to mobilize towards a policy that would belong on the left or the right. But she missed the point on two counts. First, the PROCESS is as important as the end result. A divisive process is not to be lauded. Second, there are thoughtful positions in the center on the policy front.
Perhaps this is unavoidable. Watching the HBO series John Adams based on David Mccullough’s excellent but looong book reminds us that, shortly after Washington’s rise, the nation became forever-tied to the partisan dance where extreme positions have the passion to rally others.
It is far harder to rally moderates to a cause because, like Jon Stewart famously said, "moderates have shit to do." Except for me, I guess.
AIPAC was built to create a strong alliance between Israel and the US. At which point did someone somehow convince people that peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors is inconsistent with such strong alliance?! I hope this message won’t be lost and AIPAC’s mainstream supporters will rise to reclaim the agenda for peace. If that happens, perhaps JStreet’s work will have been justified.
You may not see this on TV, but something huge happened in Gaza over the last couple days. Hundreds of thousands of people rallied across the center of Gaza City to commemorate Yasser Arafat’s passing. AFP/via BBC The rally was organized by the "National Committee", a group of Palestinian civic leaders, primarily from Fatah but [...]