J-Street: The alternative to an Arab Lobby?
In a recent column in the UAE daily Al-Ittihad, columnist Dr. As'ad 'Abd Al-Rahman wrote about the Jewish-American advocacy group J Street, arguing that its importance is in that it provides the U.S. administration with "political and media ammunition" against Israel, especially in the absence of an Arab lobby in the U.S. [-]
"True, the influence of this new lobby has not yet reached the dimensions of AIPAC's [influence], but it has taken AIPAC head-on, and has won some significant points [against it]. During the recent attack on Gaza, J Street collected 30,000 signatures in an online petition that condemned [Israel's] aggression, characterizing it as 'disproportionate' and stressing that 'there can be no military solution to a conflict that is essentially political.' [-]
"[J Street's] second important [action] came during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Washington. J Street asked the U.S. administration to intervene and impose a two-state solution, even if this meant exerting pressure on Israel. AIPAC, on the other hand, asked Washington not to intervene but to leave the issue to the decision of the two sides in the conflict.[-]
"I think it unfortunate that there is no Arab lobby in Washington to support the Arabs' official and popular position and to work towards changing U.S. policy on the Middle East conflict..." [-]
"Needless to say, the views of the new Jewish lobby J Street have provided the U.S. and other countries with political and media ammunition.