Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What, where, why and what next

Z STREET on J Street, Day 2. Oct. 27, 2009

Today class, we learned that it is imperative, it absolutely must, must, must happen that a Palestinian state be created in two years, no, scratch that, tomorrow. In fact, this gathering of J Streetlings are speeding up the plans so fast that I’m afraid I may be rapidly aging as I sit here. First the idea was J Street is “pro peace” and “pro-Israel.” Then we learned that the whole pro-Israel part can be jettisoned if we can gain more adherents to the ”presto Palestiners,” the ones who want not only to create a state called Palestine for a people they call Palestinians, but they want to do it now. And during just the course of the last 40+ hours the timeframe literally went from indefinite, to two years, to NOW. n fact, the whole peace process idea is outre’. Chaim Ramon, former ”Disengagement” cheerleader and vice premier under Olmert (yes, he of tongue thrust fame, but why is it that these “progressives” only care about sexual harassment when it is rightwingers who are doing the harassment? yecchhh.) told the crowd at the “Why 2 States? Why Now?” gathering that the whole peace process thing should not get in the way of removing more Jews from the land.

Two more points for now, one important and one truly repulsive. The more important one is that the consensus here, at least amongst the presenters at this conference, is that it is the job of the Community Organizer in Chief to impose a solution on the “dysfunctional” parties (oow, yes, it is okay here not only to call Netanyahu dysfunctional, but for those who are not still stuck on the progressive scale at only a reading of 5, i.e. those who are still calling Abbas a true peace partner, the more advanced ones are comfortable calling him dysfunctional. Or at least the PA political process is.)

So, here comes the march of the progressive hegemons, willing to use the power of the great and mighty United States, the super-duper power, to impose its view of what is best on the Israelis and the Palestinians, and to do so with teeth. Sanctions, the crowd eagerly asked? We’ll have to see where that conversation goes.

But perhaps the presenter who won the prize for most abnoxious Master of the Cerebral Universe is Bernard Avishai. I can’t do his portrait justice right now, but let me just say that he was the ONLY presenter who rejected the description of what everyone claims makes it worth the sacrifices Israel must make, is so that Israel remains Jewish and democratic ( because let’s not forget about the demography bogeyman.) Nope, Avishai started to say that phrase and, quite deliberately, rephrased it as a ”democratic state with a Jewish character.“ Great. Now Israel is expected to make sacrifices like removing parts of its limbs for…RYE BREAD? He was practically spitting about Israel’s intentional efforts to stifle “economic development in Palestine.” Apparently for Avishai, Israel is truly the source of all evil in the Middle East.

Lots to write about the divergence between how J Street is being promoted by its leadership, and the direction the J Streetlings are taking it – they are rushing past

Oh, and one kind of amusing note. As I traveled down the escalators this morning I heard several women complaining that most of the panels were all men. Apparently that was quite a topic on the sidelines because during one presentation one of the questioners called the panelists on it. So, same old, same old. Even the progressives are controlled by white males. But I did see plenty of women in the audiences. And there were more women than men wearing kippot. And more women than men with long gray ponytails. And I saw one participant wearing a rainbow kippa and a keffiya – she certainly was special.

more analysis over the next few days…

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, finally back home on Z STREET.

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