imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

J Street—Progressives or Propagandists?

by Stephen Sniegoski Wednesday, Dec. 09, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Follow up article to previous J-street piece

Here is a little follow-up to my article on J Street with my summary of this revealing video from the J Street conference, which was called to my attention by the indefatigable James Morris.

“The False Hope of J Street,”


The video is of a J Street panel, "American Progressives and Israel: Friends, Enemies, or 'It's Complicated'?," comprised of Michelle Goldberg, J.J. Goldberg and Ezra Klein, with Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of “The Nation,” serving as the moderator. The fundamental goal of the panelists was to try to reconcile the Jewish exclusivism of Zionism with the universalism of the Left. It should be emphasized that they find it much more important to make this ideological reconciliation than to reconcile loyalty to Israel with loyalty to the United States. Quite obviously, in progressive circles, being attacked for being “right-wing” carries an infinitely greater sting than being called disloyal to the United States (and besides, no respectable mainstream figure would dare to call a partisan of Israel disloyal to the United States). Moreover, those progressive intellectuals not immune to critical self-reflection do have to overcome the obvious contradictions between Zionism and the Left in their own minds.

The reconciliation of Zionism and the Left is more than “complicated,” requiring the panelists to engage in various mental gymnastics and contortions transcending straightforward logic. Why should liberal and leftist Jews support Israel? The progressive panelists understandably did not express the religious view that God had given Jews the land or the tribalist, historical argument that modern Jews had rightful ownership of the land because their co-ethnics had controlled it over 2000 years ago. Moreover, they did not take the victimologist position that Jews deserved the land because in the Holocaust they had suffered more than any other people in world history. In fact, the panelists did not provide any rational reason to support Israel beyond saying that they supported and even loved the Jewish state because they themselves were Jewish. It is hard to see how this explanation could mesh with the universalism of the Left, since if all ethnic groups took a comparable position there could be no universalism, or at least a very different type of universalism from that advocated by Leftist Jews for countries other than Israel, namely, a world consisting of a congeries of ethno-states.

This issue of group loyalty, of course, becomes most salient in regard to the Israel-Palestine issue. It is not apparent how people who are loyal to their own ethnic group could possibly be unbiased in disputes where their beloved ethno-state is involved. Yet this seems to be exactly what many pro-peace gentiles seem to expect as they look to J Street to endorse a fair resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict.

While these J Streeters identify with Israel, they do differ with the hard-line Zionists in their willingness to acknowledge Israel’s flaws. They admit that the conventional Jewish presentation of Israel as a completely benign state is false and that effective efforts have been made by pro-Zionists to distort and suppress the truth. They go much further than mainstream media figures in acknowledging the existence of taboo truths regarding Israel. Undoubtedly, any mainstream gentile writer who dared to say anything comparable would be inundated by attacks of anti-Semitism.

However, the J Streeters only provide a partial truth. They never explain what allows these taboos to exist. In essence, a discussion of the inordinate power of Jews in America is off limits (despite J.J. Goldberg’s book “Jewish Power.”) Moreover, they exonerate Jews of culpability for suppressing truth by saying that this censorship of negative facts about Israel is understandable because Jews, at least older Jews, have memories of the Jewish persecution, which they fear could return if these inconvenient facts were aired in the mainstream. Placation of Jewish emotions is thus considered at least as important as truth. Such concern for people’s feelings, however, does not seem to apply to gentiles. What about the feelings of the oppressed Palestinians? What about the feelings of those people who are punished for expressing the truth regarding Israel? What about the feelings of Americans who must support Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and consequently engender the hatred of most of the world?

Most detrimental to the expression of truth, the panelists imply that the public airing of truths can lead to trouble if these truths are used improperly by “anti-Semites” to make Israel and Jews in general look bad. Michelle Goldberg refers to the disturbing phenomenon whereby various truths cross the line to become “anti-Semitic.” Since her review of my book, “The Transparent Cabal,” had placed my book in this lethal category, it would seem that even a candid presentation of the facts is unacceptable if it puts Israel or its supporters in too negative a light, as perceived by liberal supporters of Israel.

An overall assessment of their view of criticism of Israel leads to the conclusion that their concern about the suppression of truth reflects not a concern about truth per se or about freedom of expression, but rather a concern that suppression of truths about Israel is counterproductive. Promiscuous use of the anti-Semitism charge has become so debased that it alienates potential supporters of Israel and provides a favorable environment for anti-Zionists and anti-Semites to effectively sell their version of the truth as a believable alternative. Michelle Goldberg opined that these extreme Zionist falsehoods and taboos created a “Petri dish” for anti-Semitism.

But while the panelists were opposed to the existing Zionist censorship, they did not seek an environment of unhindered expression. Rather, they sought the replacement of outright censorship by what might be called managed truth. There was a need to air unflattering truths about Israel and Israel’s supporters, but the airing should be done by people who have the interests of Jews and Israel at heart. Factual truths would be revealed but only in a benign context in regard to Israel and its supporters. Doing otherwise would be seen as tabooed anti-Semitism. Progressive Zionists, rather than hard-line right-wing Zionists, would presumably serve as the gatekeepers. Obviously, the anti-Semitic charge coming from liberal J Streeters carries far more weight than the same charge coming from neocons and hard core Zionists such as Norman Podhoretz

Now what type of concrete policy toward the Palestinians do the panelists really want? Once again, their concern is not so much about providing justice to the Palestinians as about protecting the Jewish nature of Israel. They fear that the failure to provide a two-state solution would ultimately lead to demands for a one-state solution, which Israel would be unable to resist. And in the unified state, Jews, no longer representing a substantial majority of the population, would be unable to maintain a Jewish-dominated state. This would spell “finis” for Zionism.

Although the J Streeters’ fundamental objective is to protect Israel, they also profess to believe that justice for the Palestinians is essential to achieve that goal. So, if true, justice for the Palestinians would result from the rational self-interest of Zionist Jews—it would be the only way to preserve the Jewish state. But do the J Streeters really offer a solution that would provide the Palestinians with true justice?

While the panelists are vocal about the fact that a majority of Israeli Jews and most Israeli political leaders have, in recent years, supported a two-state solution, they fail to point out the salient fact that no Israeli government in the various “peace” processes has ever offered the Palestinians a viable state. There are always Jewish settlements remaining in key areas, Israeli military roads criss-crossing the territory, Israeli control of the West Bank aquifers (the Palestinians’ principal supply of water), Israeli control of the boundary along the Jordan River, etc. In short, no Israeli government, Left or Right, has been willing to offer the Palestinians anything more than a series of non-contiguous, waterless Bantustans, existing on only a portion of the West Bank. However, it seems that the panelists believe that Israel has offered fair deals to the Palestinians, which, recently, have been undermined by the Israeli Right and Hamas.

Looking at all this, it becomes apparent that the actual effect of J Street will be not to change Israel’s actual policies, but instead simply to change the perception of Israel by liberal opinion in the United States and the West. J Street’s achievement will be to provide a “moderate” and “fair” image to Israeli plans for a Palestinian “state.” The fact that the Zionist Right would likely be yelling appeasement and condemning J Street as a bunch of “self-haters” would do even more to bolster the “fairness” image of any Israeli peace proposal endorsed by J Street. Conversely, any Palestinian rejection of such “liberal” peace terms supported by J Street would provide greater justification for their demonization and harsh treatment by the Israeli government. But all of this should be understandable given the fact that J Streeters explicitly identify with Israel. When lobbies dominate the policy-making process, it is conventionally assumed that such policies do not advance the general good. There is no reason to think otherwise in the case of an Israel lobby—even a lobby that comes cloaked in the veneer of justice and moderation.

This is not to imply the J Streeters have ulterior motives. With their ideological blinders and ethnic loyalty, the J Streeters probably are sufficiently self-deceived to believe that Israel will treat the Palestinians justly. But all the evidence shows that, to the contrary, the Israeli government is unwilling to provide the Palestinians with a viable state. Quite likely, the Israeli governing elite believes that the security of the state of Israel precludes making the requisite concessions to the Palestinians to actually allow for a viable state. Thus, despite any intentions to the contrary, J Streeters simply serve as public-relations propagandists for perpetuating the policy of subordinating the Palestinians to Israel.

Transparent Cabal Website:

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy