AIPAC’s mandate is to support the decisions of the democratically elected government of Israel, be it left, right or center. J Street makes its own policy and does not necessarily, to say the least, accept the decisions of the policies of the government of Israel.
Listen, I represent the democratically elected government, and that government reflects the will of the people of Israel, and what they perceive as the interests of Israel. [J Street is an organization] taking issue with that, and that in itself is a source of disagreement.[emphasis added]
In What's Wrong With J Street, Michael Lame writes in Haaretz that J Street:
is an overtly Democratic Party organization. JStreetPAC, its political action committee, endorsed and distributed campaign contributions to 41 candidates in 2008: 39 Democrats and only two Republicans. In 2010 it has endorsed 58 candidates: 57 Democrats and one Republican. Most other pro-Israel PACs split their donations more evenly between the two major parties.Read the whole thing.
The fact that J Street's contributions are overwhelmingly Democratic is significant, if for no other reason than the significant difference in how Republicans and Democrats both feel and vote about Israel.
For example, on December 31, 2008, Rasmussen published a poll on reaction to Israel's Operation Cast Lead. Among the results:
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans back Israel’s decision to take military action against the Palestinians, but only half as many Democrats (31%) agree. A majority of Democrats (55%) say Israel should have tried to find a diplomatic solution first, a view shared by just 27% of Republicans.This past April, Jeff Jacoby referred to a February Gallup poll on support for Israel in the US:
While 75% of Republicans say Israel is an ally of the United States, just 55% of Democrats agree. Seven percent (7%) of Democrats say Israel is an enemy of America, but only one percent (1%) of Republicans say the same. For 21% of Republicans, Israel is somewhere in between, and 28% of Democrats agree.
But look at the disparity that emerges when those results are sorted by party affiliation. While support for Israel vs. the Palestinians has climbed to a stratospheric 85 percent among Republicans, the comparable figure for Democrats is an anemic 48 percent. (It was 60 percent for independents.) And behind Israel’s “Top 5’’ favorability rating lies a gaping partisan rift: 80 percent of Republicans — but just 53 percent of Democrats — have positive feelings about the world’s only Jewish country.And according to Jacoby, Gallup is not the only one to have found evidence of this disparity between Republican and Democratic support for Israel--
Similarly, it is true that 333 US House members, a hefty bipartisan majority, endorsed the robustly pro-Israel Hoyer-Cantor letter to Clinton. But there were only seven Republicans who declined to sign the letter, compared with 91 Democrats — more than a third of the entire Democratic caucus...
From Zogby International, meanwhile, comes still more proof of the widening gulf between the major parties on the subject of Israel. In a poll commissioned by the Arab American Institute last month, respondents were asked whether Obama should “steer a middle course’’ in the Middle East — code for not clearly supporting Israel. “There is a strong divide on this question,’’ Zogby reported, “with 73 percent of Democrats agreeing that the President should steer a middle course while only 24 percent of Republicans hold the same opinion.’’As Michael Lame notes:
Unlike the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, J Street will not defend Israel unconditionally. Apparently, however, J Street will defend Obama unconditionally.You know, I just saw in The Jerusalem Post that J Street calls to probe US contributions to settlements
With all due respect, considering the fact that J Street overwhelmingly supports and contributes to the Democratic Party whose support of Israel is lukewarm at best--perhaps it's time to probe the contributions that J Street is making...
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