I received a very amusing email from the senate campaign of Jerome Segal, a professor who has been espousing the J-Street philosophy for many years before J-Street existed.
But he’s unhappy with them now – because they won’t endorse him:
Two alternative Jewish lobbies, the Jewish Peace Lobby and J-Street are locked in a conflict that may dominate the upcoming J-Street National Conference.
The issue is one of the keynote speakers: Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland.
The President of the Jewish Peace Lobby, Jerome Segal, himself a member of J-Street has challenged Cardin in the June Primary for the Democratic nomination.
Cardin is AIPAC’s most prominent ally in the Senate. Segal says he has adopted the “big dog” strategy: to take down mega-lobbies like AIPAC and the NRA, go right at the “big dog” pulling the sleigh and send him into retirement.
Recent polling data by John Zogby Strategies suggests Segal could have an upset victory if he has substantial funding and a bit of luck. Last week luck started coming his way when the largest Palestinian newspaper, Al Quds, endorsed his candidacy. This kind of thing has never happened in the Arab world.
Yes – Jerome Segal considers an endorsement from a Palestinian newspaper to be fantastic news!
Segal had been counting on a J-street endorsement and funding. J-Street has 200,000 members and just $25 each would be $5 million, enough, in Segal’s eyes to win.
If Segal expected J-Street to ask its members to give $5 million to his doomed campaign, he is completely crazy. The largest amount J-Street gave to any candidate in 2016 was $341,000, to Russ Feingold (who lost.)
Segal has a point that he is more ideologically aligned to J-Street than Ben Cardin, but J-Street is happy that Cardin is a Democrat and J-Street is far more interested in defeating Republicans than in inter-Democrat infighting.
J-Street, however, has declined to endorse Segal, and will not support his campaign financially. Not only have they given Cardin, a key AIPAC figure in the Senate, a keynote, they have refused to allow Segal to speak at the conference altogether.
In response Segal has prepared a glossy 20-page booklet, “Has J-Street Lost Its Way?” 3000 copies are now being printed and will be given to all attendees and press at the conference.
Segal’s campaign site has a foreign policy section. Here it is in its entirety:
1. Cardin is a vehicle of AIPAC, the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, only second to the NRA in its influence over Congress. AIPAC carries the agenda of Bibi Netanyahu, for Israel and, unfortunately, too often for the United States as well. Twenty-nine years ago, I founded the Jewish Peace Lobby (www.jewishpeacelobby.org) as an alternative vision of what it means to be pro-Israeli. This campaign is the first time we, or anyone, has challenged AIPAC electorally, and challenged their tight grip on Congressional action on all things directly or indirectly related to Israel.
2. AIPAC/Cardin defends and shelters the aggressive settlement activity of the current Israeli government. This is destroying the possibility of the two-state solution, and thus, necessitates an Israeli choice between being a Jewish state or being a democracy. It is clear that democracy is losing in that contest. This is a heart breaking tragedy, and must be fought with all we have got.
3. Secondly, Cardin, again aligned with AIPAC, joined with all 54 Republican Senators in opposing the Iran Nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama Administration. President Obama told us that the choice was either between the nuclear deal or the use of force against Iran. Bibi wanted an American attack. John Kerry confirmed this publicly a month ago. In effect, Ben Cardin voted for war against Iran. Anything he says to the contrary is BS.
4. Cardin, in his blank-check support of any Israeli government policy introduced legislation that would felonize (up to 20 years in jail) any American who joined and supported a boycott of the Israeli settlements, if that boycott was called by the United Nations or any of our European allies. The ACLU has condemned this as un-Constitutional, as has my excellent Congressman, Jamie Raskin, formerly a Professor of Constitutional Law.
Further, I join the Congressional Black Caucus in calling on Israel to halt the deportation of African refugees seeking asylum in Israel. Of course, Israel has to have control of its borders, but as a country that calls itself the Nation State of the Jewish People, Israel must be true to our people’s historical experience. We must remember Exodus 22:21 “And a stranger shalt thou not wrong, neither shalt thou oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Not a word about Syria or Russia or China or Iraq. His entire foreign policy is aimed against the government of a single nation: Israel.
He really is exactly like J-Street – only much dumber.
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