Syria Crisis Highlights Rift Running Through J Street

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170821890Among the many political fault lines unearthed by the debate over American military intervention in Syria, one touched directly on the internal rift running through J Street, the left-leaning pro-Israel lobby.


The group has prided itself in the past for “having the president’s back” as he seeks to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace. But in this case, the group decided to turn its back on U.S. President Barack Obama’s drive for congressional approval of a resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria.


Since hundreds of civilians died in a poison gas attack near Damascus August 2, the group has put out two statements condemning Syria’s government. But it has taken no decision on whether to support the president.

J Street’s decision to sit out the Syria debate was reached only after the group failed to agree internally on whether to back or oppose the call for military action — a failure that reflects the built-in tension between J Street’s broadly progressive activist base and its pragmatic leadership, which tends to hew closer to mainstream communal sentiment within the pro-Israel community.


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Posted by on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013. Filed under Jewish News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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