Media Heavies Question ‘Pro-Israel’ Moniker

I understand that the J Street Project, which was launched officially only one month ago, is gathering supporters at a pretty good clip, and now its efforts to redefine what can be considered “pro-Israel” appear to be making some headway, at least in the two of this country’s most influential daily newspapers. Last week, Jeremy Ben-Ami, the group’s founder and director, published a strong essay in the “Outlook” section of the Washington Post entitled “Myths on Who’s Really Pro-Israel.” And Sunday’s “Week in Review” section in the New York Times provided two offerings that raised precisely the same question, the first by Tom Friedman, entitled “Obama and the Jews”, and a much more powerful piece by Atlantic correspondent and New Yorker contributor Jeffrey Goldberg whose partiality toward Israel was made clear, among other things, by his service in its army. Goldberg’s piece is a passionate indictment of the major national Jewish organizations, particularly the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and AIPAC, essentially for confusing being pro-Israel with being pro-settlement, or, in his words:

“So why won’t American leaders push Israel [toward dismantling the settlements] publicly? Or, more to the point, why do presidential candidates dance so delicately around this question? The answer is obvious: the leadership of the organized American Jewish community has allowed the partisans of settlement to conflate support for the colonization of the West Bank with support for Israel itself. …

“The people of AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents are well meaning, and their work in strengthening the overall relationship between America and Israel has ensured them a place in the world to come. But what’s needed now is a radical rethinking of what it means to be pro-Israel.”

While, unfortunately, neither Goldberg, whose recent interview of Barack Obama no doubt helped inspire his Times op-ed, nor Friedman mentioned J Street in their articles, their arguments are entirely consistent with the new group’s mission, and are indicative, I believe, of a growing ferment within the Jewish community over whether its Likud-leaning organized leadership is really promoting Israel’s best interests and the chances of its long-term survival. (I think the growing media attention to key backers, such as Sheldon Adelson, of the Republican Jewish Coalition and Freedom’s Watch, is contributing to this ferment.)

Now that both the Post and the Times have seen fit to publish essays that argue persuasively that the phrase “pro-Israel” that have reflexively attached to groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents and even the far-right Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), perhaps they will employ the phrase more judiciously in their news reporting. Or is that too much to hope for?

Visit for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service’s Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

Author: Jim Lobe

Visit for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service's Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

8 thoughts on “Media Heavies Question ‘Pro-Israel’ Moniker”

  1. Shalom with Salam
    You don’t have to be smart or a Middle Eastern expert expert to know, to project, or to infer the fact that whatever the Israelis want us to do, it will be done.
    Don’t listen to our politicians because whenever it comes to any issue related to the Israeli wishes and wants, they have no power and they are fully and unexceptionably controlled and closely leashed by the invisible power of the Jewish lobby in Washington.
    It is a joke of sadness to use logic whenever we ought to fairly attempt to justify or to analyze the directions and the trends of US ME policies. Whatever the Israelis ( via the powerful Zionist lobby in Washington ) want, it will go to become reality, despite of what our leashed politicians might think. No one has the courageous “guts” and the “Man’s balls” to stand up tall, or to open his /her lips to spell the words of neutrality and fairness when it comes to the unacceptable directions of Israeli policies and behviour in the occupied Palestinian and Arab lands.
    My remarks her is only in responding to respected article, I would certainly like to ad that the Israelis want war against Iran to happen as immediate as possible. It doesn’t matter under what US administrations, the Israelis’ will make it happen.. You just relax, watch, and calmly see that war is to be happening. They will drag our controlled politicians by the close leash of the Zionist lobby’s power and the influence. I remember saying that before the Iraq War I (1991), and saying again little prior to our invasion of Iraq War II. Now, I state it again by just changing the letter Q to N (Iraq, then and Iran, now)…wait and see.
    If you are interested and you are a young enough, you will surprisingly understand, certainly see, and documenters remember my words of today about the Israelis’ near future strategy towards Pakistan. Pakistan is next after Iran! You will see the same strategy implemented against Pakistan’s nuclear warheads, too. That will come as the following stage three /or stage four strategy to be implemented later and at the appropriate prepared time. They will create the climate needed for the justifications of that war in accordance to the degree of success or failure in implementing previous and on going stages of their strategy. stage, I, II, III IV, etc.The Israeli strategy based on their significant and vital dependency on American/ British, etc. military, human resources and economy in launching their wars of choice against its neighbours under the empty slogan of national security and survival. The ultimate strategy is to win/or/ loose theses war with no, or minimum Israeli human and cost sacrifice by using others’ to pay the price. The strategy of war might the strategy of the devil, but it is certainly very smart and I admire the Israelis’ strategists and architects of such success of monopolizations of others an using them as shield of protection. The only dumbest in this equation are politicians, the ones who accept to be dominated and controlled by the power of a foreign power because of his/her political career ( election or elections) interest. There are visibly a short of Man’s balls of in Washington when it comes to any issue related to the Israelis policies. When it comes to Israel, they are “chickens”.They provide a blind support , unquestionable argument, consciously closed eyes, deaf ears, and unspoken truth for the fearful punishment by the their powerful and the intimidation of their masters: The Zionist Lobby.
    It is coming on horizon > Let us wait and see!

  2. I do not agree that this is “progress” in the US corporate media. One of the essential features of a propagandist is not merely defining the issue but defining the DISSENT. What the US media does is present “dissenting” views but they make sure that those who dissent will fit into the “Big Picture” of their propaganda. Would Sulzberger or Meyer-Graham publish Jim Lobe? How about the articles by some of the Israelis in Haaretz that does publish? Would those show up in the NY Times. I doubt it, but with articles like Goldberg’s and Friedman (Mr. 6-Months to a Turning Point in Iraq), the NY Times can call itself “balanced” in reportage when nothing could be further fron the truth.

    1. It’s so nice of them to let “the other side” have a say — as long as “the other side” consists only of people who have another view regarding how best we should go about doing whatever’s best for Israel, without questioning whether the US should be devoting itself to the interests of Israel in the first place.

      1. I agree with Eric, and therefore I propose as follows:

        I want an NZJ-Street project, a PAC for people who wish to support:

        (a) compliance by all countries with international humanitarian and human rights law
        (b) Palestinian national rights
        (c) Palestinian human rights
        (d) the rights of Palestinian refugees from 1948 to return to pre-1967 Israeli territory as a homeland
        (e) the removal of the WALL ASAP
        (f) the removal of the settlers from ALL occupied territories ASAP

        and NZJ-Street would allow membership by ALL people but specifically request
        self-identifying Jewish participation (and mention that membership in a statistical
        manner in publications)

        and NZJ-Street would *NOT* be focused on Israel or on promoting Israeli anything
        (other than, of course, Israeli compliance with human rights and humanitarian law)
        but would also, for example, promote US compliance with human rights and humanitarian law)

        Such a group might agree with J-Street on many points, why not?,
        but it would permit differences, certainly, and would provide a place
        for non-Zionist (or anti-Zionist) Jews to assert their views.

        It would be important to provide a means for non-Americans to
        collaborate, including Israelis!

  3. This generous opening to let “the other side” speak reminds one of the self-centered person who pauses in his monologue to say, “Oh, but enough about me — what do *you* think of me?”

    The pro-Israel ideologues who control our media are magnanimously saying, “Oh, but enough about what those extreme neocons think — let’s ask some other people: how do *they* think the US government should go about guaranteeing Israel’s perpetual prosperity, perpetual regional dominance, perpetual mideast nuclear monopoly, perpetual Jewish ethnic privilege, and perpetual happiness?….”

  4. One cannot fail to be amused by the continued obeisances to the powerful by those of a “dissenting” opinion. This sort of ideological homogenity rivals anything that existed in the USSR and has proven far more insidious. At last the key to successful indoctrination has been uncovered: reinforce the tacit assumptions that define the subject’s mental frame of reference at every possible turn and they will always reason toward an “acceptable” conclusion.

  5. One of the unfortunate afflictions of life, but nevertheless an irreversible condition is our tendency toward certain unbecoming or aggravative behaviors. As a black man I have the tendency to become emotional and boisterous unintendedly. Oher members of my tribe are moved to dancing any time they hear a percussion rhythm. Persons of the Jewish sect are driven by that sense of self-importance and a desire to dominate others who are not of their faith. It is a condition I have coined “genetic predisposition”–that is, it is devinely programmed, of which the person has little control over. Jews have been conspiring and colluding against other groups as long as human history itself–almost, and to expect a sudden departure from this disposition for reasons that are appropiate is asking to much. I would imagine their abrupt retreat from a failed position is just strategic, and not a genuine action of conscience to do what is seemingly right. Whether this nation can be saved from the morass it has gotten itself into I seriously have my doubts. The collective Jewish stranglehold is just too great. It would mean taking back control of all the reins of power of the national institutions now in the their hand. And I see no way this can be peaceably done.
    John Kurius

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