Dear J Street, Ctd.
What's interesting here is that J-Street's head insists that the only serious lever the US has over Israel should be taken off the table before any deal is even negotiated. This is the lefty, peacenik, goddamned hippie position! Military aid, mind you, is already formally illegal because of Israel's secret nuclear bomb program (which no American president can, you know, mention), but is retained because, well, because it would never be repealed by the Congress. And so Netanyahu knows he can do anything he wants without any real blowback from the US. And he has about as much interest in a two-state solution as I have in marrying a woman.
This leaves the US with no leverage over a central party in critical discussions which indeed affect the national security of Americans. In what other case does that apply?
No matter where you fall on the Israel-Palestine issue, I think this is a rather convincing take-down of J Street's rationale for existence. As I mentioned yesterday, there is a finite amount of oxygen to be sucked on this matter inside the beltway, and the line of scrimmage is off the football field, out the backdoor and in the parking lot with the tailgaters.
Strategically speaking, I just don't get J Street's message. If one's hope is to drive a wedge into Washington's Israel thinking, one would think, you'd need to offer a more convincing alternative than "we're the good Israel Lobby—trust us." It seems to me that a more convincing message alternative to the alleged threat that AIPAC et al. presents would be one based on redefining Mideast relationships as a whole in order to make Israel a safer place.
This, if you believe in the J Street mission, may require advising U.S. policymakers to offer hard truths to our allies and friends in Jerusalem. But the U.S.-Israeli relationship hinges on Washington's enabling and maintenance of Israel's military supremacy in the region. If this topic remains off the table, well then, I'd get used to AIPAC directing the policy traffic for the foreseeable future.