Dershowitz Picks Fight With J Street
Berates dovish group’s rep at AIPAC Conference
That didn’t take long: this morning, there was a small to-do at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., over the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street, which established itself explicitly to counterbalance the far more powerful AIPAC. Hadar Susskind, J Street’s policy director, was being interviewed at the gathering by a Haaretz reporter when, according to the reporter, none other than Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz “broke in to the conversation with a verbal onslaught against the group.”
Arguing that J Street “shouldn’t call themselves pro-Israel,” he accused them of prioritizing certain policy positions over others to cast Israel in a negative light. Noting that he, like J Street, opposes settlements, he nonetheless maintained, “But I spend 80 percent of my time supporting Israel.”
In response, Susskind told the reporter: “We have disagreements with AIPAC that I don’t want to minimize. But we are all on the same side.”
Not sure AIPAC itself will be thrilled to hear about this kerfuffle. For one thing, it thinks of itself—correctly—as significantly more prominent and influential than J Street, and wants its annual conference to showcase, well, itself, rather than its upstart alternative. For another thing, among AIPAC’s top messages at the conference is getting sanctions against Iran passed: a policy point on which AIPAC and J Street actually agree.