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Surprise: J Street Opposes Resolution Condemning Goldstone

10:07 AM, Oct 30, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported last week on a Congressional resolution sponsored by Reps. Howard Berman and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that would strongly condemn the Goldstone report and call "on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the 'Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in multilateral fora.'"

J Street has put out two statements on Goldstone, neither one of which actually condemned the report. But the same day that we reported this resolution had been introduced in Congress, J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami told Jeffrey Goldberg that his organization "refuses to embrace the Goldstone report." Naturally, we asked if J Street would therefore support the Ros-Lehtinen-Berman resolution.

The answer from J Street policy director Hadar Susskind was comical in its vagueness. "There's a lot of space between condemn and embrace," Susskind told me, after saying that he'd not had a chance to read the resolution that had been circulating in the House for over a week at that time. Indeed, there is a lot of space between condemn and embrace, and Spencer Ackerman reports that J Street will put out a statement that boldly falls somewhere in between then two. J Street will say it is "unable to support" the resolution, and instead offer a fantasy list of items it would support in a resolution on Goldstone -- none of which include condemnation of the report itself.

Every mainstream Jewish organization in the United States and Israel has condemned the Goldstone report. But J Street, unlike every other Jewish organization, is held hostage by a base of support that is anti-Zionist and anti-Israel. And yet the group knows that its failure to condemn Goldstone leaves it vulnerable to the charge that it is not really a pro-Israel organization. So J Street finds itself in that vast space between condemn and embrace. This is the organization that the anti-Israel left describes as a progressive, and courageous, alternative to AIPAC.