JStreet–The American Kadima?

The mystery of just what JStreet is, or intends to be, is growing deeper.  “The party and the viewpoint that we’re closest to in Israeli politics is actually Kadima,” JStreet’s founder Jeremy Ben-Ami told the Jerusalem Post. (Hat tip: Ilya)

You mean the Kadima founded by that old Likudnik*Ariel Sharon, and run by another old Likudnik,* Tzipi Livni?  The Kadima that presided over the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon?  The Kadima that presided over the war in Gaza in late 2008-early 2009, a war that JStreet vigorously opposed?

Weird.  Opposing the war in Gaza put JStreet far outside the mainstream of Jewish opinion in Israel (and the U.S., for that matter); even the left-wing Meretz party supported the war, as did over 90% of the Jewish Israeli public.  So JStreet is respositioning itself from left of Meretz to right of Labor?

Ben-Ami added:

“our worldview is going to be out of touch with some of the Left” and predicted left-wing outrage as a result, some of which has already surfaced on liberal blogs during the conference.

“It’s going to come because we are pro-Israel, while there are many on the Left in this country at this point who believe in a one-state [solution],” Ben-Ami said.

“We don’t want to be defined as a left-wing organization,” David Avital, a member of J Street’s advisory council, explained.

So, the question is: If J Street is not a left-wing organization, is pro-Israel, is against a one-state solution, is for a two-state solution, and plans to promote views similar to a centrist Israeli Zionist party, how exactly does this distinguish J Street from existing Jewish and pro-Israel organizations?

I’m happy to have J Street around as a non-mainstream but pro-Israel organization that allows folks who hold peacenik views akin to, or even slightly left of, Meretz, to lobby for peacenik policies within the pro-Israel camp, and for Israel within the left.  But I really don’t see the point of a Kadimaish, moderate pro-Israel organization whose policies are largely indistinguishable from existing pro-Israel organizations.  And I also don’t see how the perspective expressed by Ben-Ami squares with what J Street has been up to until now.

But for now, at least, I get to amuse myself thinking about the steam that must be coming out of the ears of certain anti-Israel bloggers who thought that JStreet represented their salvation.

*Rare examples of someone being called a Likudnik who really is a Likudnik!