As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Music To My Ears

This is long overdue. The debate over Israeli politics in this country has been completely hijacked by the right, and it's high time for some balance.

Some of the country's most prominent Jewish liberals are forming a political action committee and lobbying group aimed at dislodging what they consider the excessive hold of neoconservatives and evangelical Christians on U.S. policy toward Israel.

The group is planning to channel political contributions to favored candidates in perhaps a half-dozen campaigns this fall, the first time an organization focused on Israel has tried to play such a direct role in the political process, according to its organizers.

Organizers said they hope those efforts, coupled with a separate lobbying group that will focus on promoting an Arab-Israeli peace settlement, will fill a void left by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and other Jewish groups that they contend have tilted to the right in recent years.

When the only public figures discussing Israel in America are John Bolton and Newt Gingrich, there's a problem. J Street will hopefully change this for the better. The climate for a two-state solution inside Israel is substantially greater and the debate substantially broader, and they're actually kind of closer to the situation than a bunch of neocons who call their critics anti-Semites, so any opportunity to recalibrate things here at home is welcome. I signed up for J Street and if you're interested in a new perspective in the Arab-Israeli conflict, you should too. The other good thing is that J Street appears to be following a more decentralized MoveOn model than a classic lobbying shop, which could give them more flexibility than an AIPAC, and the ability to influence the debate without the enormous dollars that AIPAC has.

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