Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Bringing J-street to Britain

In a session at Limmud today entitled 'Israel advocay in a time of urgent de-occupation', Daniel Levy, who was a special advisor in the Prime Minister's office during the Barak Government and has more recently been involved with the creation of J-street, America's left wing pro Israel lobby, discussed the role of pro-Israel lobby gropus.

He explained that most US congressmen find themselves in districts where Israel is not a winning or losing issue; in most districts not enough people care. And so when it comes to votes on Israel congressmen 'either vote with their conscience or their pocket...'

'Prior to the creation of J-street,' he observed, 'there was nothing on the pocket side' for those who were both supportive of Israel yet critical of its policies.

Levy outlined the thinking behind J-street's pro-Israel stance by saying that the diasporah should feel able to say to Israel "We will support you as much as we can but no further." Referring then to Israel's occupation and settlements in the West Bank he continued: "we cannot support a poliicy that is driving you off a cliff and will harm us too."

Unfortunately, the Zionist Federation in this country seem quite happy to see that policy continue; perhaps it's time for Britain to produce it's own J-street.

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