Friday, February 25, 2011

Kadima Infighting Over J Street Conference

Alana Goodman
24 February '11

Four members of Kadima (which is pretty much the only mainstream party in the Knesset that will have anything to do with J Street anymore) are reportedly facing opposition from fellow party members over their decision to speak at the J Street conference early next week:

“I have my own criticism of the current government, but there have to be limits, and this organization is doing tremendous damage to Israel,” said Kadima MK Ze’ev Bielski, a former Jewish Agency chairman. …

MK Shai Hermesh added that he could do his job of trying to topple the government while in Israel, but when he went abroad, he wouldn’t cooperate with any organization that worked against the Israeli government.

“It is too bad that some of my colleagues do not understand the danger of supporting an organization that is working against Israel,” Hermesh said.

The damage that J Street has sustained to its reputation over the past year has made it much easier for politicians to oppose the group or simply ignore it altogether. This couldn’t be more obvious than when you compare the list of speakers from J Street’s 2009 conference with the list of speakers at this year’s conference. While almost no high-ranking Israeli or American politicians will be in attendance this year, in 2009 the conference drew some impressive names, including National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones and Sen. John Kerry.

“J Street tried unsuccessfully to get more senior Israeli politicians to come, including the most dovish minister in the cabinet, Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor (Likud),” reported the Jerusalem Post.

The group just doesn’t have the influence it once did, even among left-wing politicians.

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