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An open letter to J Street by Yoram Getzler

Jeremy Ben-Ami , Donna, Dina & Charles 2

You were so proud that “You got his back”, but in fact you left him dangling and now he seems weak”.

There was the public revelations last month that the Obama administration is rethinking its Middle-Ease policy,, especially as related to Israel. And then the expression of that new policy in the Netanyahu Obama meeting. Both these events should be understood as a rejection of the J Street position of polite hostility towards Israel and its wrongheaded emphasis on a building freeze in the Israeli communities east of the old green line. The emphases on these communities was a waste of valuable energy and precious time. Although these communities do indeed represent a profound inhibition towards any moves to moderate the situation as it stands today the total emphasis and the language was completely off the target of bringing the sides closer together.

I must assume that President Obama did not create the policy himself but was heavily influenced by his Jewish/Israel advisers, including Mr. Emanuel Mr. Alxelrod and outsiders like J Street. That J Street forcefully and proudly pushed the idea that they and their supporters “Had his (Obamas’) back” should bring them to taking responsibility for the disastrous presidential policies and hang their heads in abject shame and humility.

One would think that a president of the USA would be more aware of the dicta tum to only pick fights he can win, rather than what he did in this case, picking a fight he could not but loose.

If Natanyahu had actually saluted the president sharply and ordered a halt to building when Obama first demanded it…then our next Prime Minister could have very well been Mr. Liberman or someone even more to the Right. As it was Netanyahu refused and thus showed his strength and commitment to the great ovation of majority of the Israeli electorate. So, thank you Mr. President & Co, you have helped guarantee us several more years of this terrible prime minister, Netanyahu, and a static situation in negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab world.

Especially after Netanyahu in fact did finally declare a building freeze, and got (exactly what?) for his troubles. What he (we) got was a Palestinian demand for more. That Mr. President is how it works here. It is obvious that you and your advisers do not understand the basic structure of the conflict. We would all be better off if you just stayed out of the way.

The philosophic basis for the J Street / Emanuel / American Jewish Left policy advise was the idea that Israel needed an outside power to “save it from itself”. Observation of the Israeli political scene from even closer I would be tempted to agree. We seem incapable of making the changes that might bring about the mythic two-state-solution. One problem is that these changes are not ours alone to make. The decision for a two-state-solution is not solely in our hands or within our abilities alone.

That the other potential states official policies have not encouraged us to make the difficult decisions and statements is obvious. They have not even hinted or mentioned to their constitutions that they too might need to make compromises. This fact and the complete lack of its recognition, also spoke against the Obama / Jewish Left policies.

An additional important factor is that individuals or families or states in perilous dangerous situations will tend not to follow advise by others even if those others appeared to be 100% supportive.
Everybody seems to agree when it comes to personal relations, and individual responsibility, that a person making dangerous decisions can not be forced to reevaluate them and change directions except that they personally come to those conclusions and consequently make those difficult decisions themselves.

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