Israel lobby’s realignment over Ben-Gvir is giving Biden room to criticize – Mondoweiss
(...) Two other pillars of the Israel lobby, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, warned Netanyahu not to bring Ben-Gvir into the government because it would damage Israel’s standing in American politics: giving “an enormous boost” to Israel’s “fiercest critics,” and those trying to end U.S. aid to Israel and “delegitimize” the Jewish state.
Normally we would have nothing to say about Israeli coalition negotiations as Americans, Ross and Makovsky said, but these are not normal circumstances: “there is a campaign against Israel and it is important not to strengthen the hand of those determined to weaken the relationship.” Menendez’s warning to Netanyahu “should set off alarm bells in Israel,” they said.
Those who have no love for Israel will seize on this. They will use it to expand their appeal in the Congress and the country. They will exploit it to try to undo aspects of the relationship, and certainly to challenge Israeli military requests.
Now Netanyahu is flipping the bird to Ross, Menendez, Ann Lewis and Mark Mellman. Why? First, because Netanyahu needs Ben-Gvir and Smotrich to “crush” the Israeli legal system so that his trial on corruption charges will come to naught.
“Netanyahu… wants this coalition with all the difficulties and all the headaches that it will include because it’s the only coalition that will remove the legal threat to him,” reporter Amir Tibon told an Israel Policy Forum podcast. “Netanyahu doesn’t have an alternative to Smotrich and he doesn’t want one. This is the government we are going to have. Everybody needs to come to terms with it and think what to do.”
Second, Netanyahu believes that the United States is something “easily moved.” He thinks the Israel lobby will have his back, as it has always had his back in the past.
The Israel lobby is clearly in great disarray right now– with a realignment coming. AIPAC and the ADL and the American Jewish Committee will swallow anything. But the center-right and liberal Zionists are in an uproar.
J Street has seized the moment. The liberal Zionist group’s CEO Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote three days after the Israeli election that the rise of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich should bring an awakening for the American Jewish community — against AIPAC.
This is a moment of truth and of choice….Who will be the primary political voice of our community? Will it be those, like us, who stand for justice, democracy and diplomacy? Or those, like AIPAC… And what will America’s Jewish communal leadership do?
Ben-Ami went further on an Americans for Peace Now webinar. He said that the Israeli election was a “huge opportunity” for liberal Zionists to seize control of the Israel lobby.
“This is a rare moment where the center of the American Jewish community suddenly pays attention for a few minutes to what’s going on over there and the reality of the creeping annexation, the reality of the growing power of the far right… It’s just shocking to me, but large numbers of American Jews are completely unaware of all these things.”
Now that these Jews are paying attention, J Street will show them that it represents American Jewry and not AIPAC.
“This is a moment for us to seize the opportunity to grow our own power in this country.”
Forget about leftwing/anti-Zionist Jewish groups– they don’t count for J Street. (...)