WASHINGTON – J Street opened up a new front in its lobbying efforts Thursday,
releasing ads that attack two candidates for not being “pro-Israel” because they
don’t endorse a two-state solution.
Until recently, according to J Street
spokeswoman Jessica Rosenblum, “J Street has been working defensively, standing
up for candidates who stake out pro-peace, pro- Israel positions. Now we’re
taking it to the next level.”
The ads represent a new offensive posture
of going after politicians whom the organization believes hurt the cause of
peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
One ad targeting Representative
Joe Walsh, an Illinois Republican, will be broadcast during the Sunday morning
news shows in the Chicago media market, while the ad targeting Florida
Republican Allen West will only be shown online.
Both productions are
similar and accuse the congressmen of “playing with fire” by opposing a
two-state solution, noting that Israel’s last three prime ministers have all
called for the creation of a Palestinian state.
But the candidates and
their staff don’t see the J Street attacks changing their tactics or their
appeal to voters.
“J Street does not support the strength and security of
the State of Israel, and is in fact anti-Israel,” West fired back in response to
the lobby’s ad. “J Street’s efforts to attack me only embolden my stand for our
greatest ally and my spiritual home, the State of Israel.”
chief-of-staff Justin Roth said that his representative wears attacks from J
Street like “a badge of honor.”
He added the weekend ad buy could help
Walsh with those who see it.
“They’ll think, good, the Congressman is
doing something right on Israel,” he argued. “If J Street is attacking you, you
know you’re doing something right.”
Rosenblum disagreed with Roth’s
“I don’t think that will be borne out,” she said. “I believe
that J Street’s support for a two-state solution and American leadership has
broad and growing support among American Jews.”
Roth didn’t dispute the
assertion in the J Street ad that Walsh supports a “onestate solution,”
explaining that the Congressman doesn’t believe that a two-state solution is
possible now given the lack of an “honest partner” on the Palestinian side,
particularly given the strength of Hamas.
Walsh on Thursday also sent a
letter to US House leadership calling for all aid to Egypt to be suspended until
the government under the new Egyptian President, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim
Brotherhood, “publicly reaffirm Egypt’s treaties, promote peace with Israel, and
continue to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish
Thirty-four members signed onto Walsh’s letter.