The New York Times is transparently invested in promoting J Street, the left-wing lobbying group of Palestinian-supporting Jewish doves, as an influential counterweight to the more hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as proven by its latest public relations article on behalf of the group: "Lobbying Group Is Being Heard as Moderate Voice on Israel."
According to the paper's blatantly promotional coverage of J Street, which the paper insists on calling "pro-Israel," just keeps moving from strength to strength (as it has for years at the Times, without ever coming close to challenging AIPAC in influence). Here's reporter Eric Lichtblau on Thursday:
There was a time not so long ago when political contributions from Americans supportive of Israel inevitably veered toward those Congressional candidates who were the most hawkish and outspoken in defending Israel and its security.
No longer. While aggressive defenders of Israel still dominate the debate, more moderate voices in the Jewish community are expanding their ability to generate money and political capital for pro-Israel candidates who favor a less confrontational approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues.
Leading the push for a middle-ground approach is J Street, an American Jewish lobbying group that has positioned itself as a pro-Israel alternative to harder-line advocates for Israel. It supports increased diplomacy, a two-state Israeli solution and continued aid to the Palestinian Authority, among other steps to solving decades of fighting. Critics attack it, however, as being soft in its support for Israel.
This week, J Street is expected to land one of its biggest names when it announces its endorsement of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the veteran Democrat from California who sits on the Senate intelligence committee, an important forum for Middle East intelligence. With Ms. Feinstein’s acceptance of J Street’s endorsement, the group’s PAC plans to raise at least $100,000 in support of her re-election bid, the officials said.
Lichtblau barely addressed criticism or labeled the group left-wing or liberal, even turning controversy over the group's left-wing stands around in J Street's favor.
Capitol Hill critics say the group has been unnecessarily sharp-elbowed in attacking lawmakers over policy differences, leading to friction with one-time supporters like Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, who broke from the group last year over its support for a United Nations resolution criticizing Israel’s West Bank settlements as illegal.
For J Street defenders, the vitriol directed toward the group is a sign that they are beginning to have an impact.
Lichtblau finally noted the truth:
Whatever inroads it has made, J Street lags far behind AIPAC in terms of both money and influence. The influence gap was on display in March, when AIPAC and J Street each held their annual conferences in Washington within a few weeks of each other.
The biggest donor to emerge during the current campaign is the billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a pro-Israel hawk. He made headlines during the Republican primaries when he and his wife gave $10 million to a group supporting the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, who called the Palestinians an “invented people” during the campaign.
While the liberal philanthropist George Soros gives J Street about $500,000 a year, it has no donor near the financial scale of Mr. Adelson.
Still, leaders of J Street and politicians aligned with the group say they believe they have helped to shift the debate in Washington, broaden the politically acceptable options in Israel and advance an agenda that they characterize as both “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace.”
Lichtblau skipped what the MRC's Business and Media Institute's Alana Goodman wrote on the Soros donations in September 2010: How J Street had sleazily misled journalists about reeceiving funding from Soros, losing even sympathetic journalists along the way:
A set of half-truths, non-truths and ambiguities from J Street lead a reasonable person to conclude that the group tried to conceal that George Soros has been one of its largest donors for years, and to falsely claim that it had been 'open' about those donations over the past three years,” wrote The Atlantic reporter Chris Good...noting that J Street officials had lied to him earlier that day.