The PJ Tatler

J Street Seeks ad campaign seeks to support new Obama Arab tilt

There is a great deal of speculation that in the wake of  bin Laden’s killing President Obama might try to curry Arab favor by striking out at Israel. There are some reports the President will do just that in a special Middle East address planned for delivery at the State Department on Thursday.

The reports are that the President will issue new demands upon the Jewish state to unilaterally withdraw to 1967 borders and make other concessions in the name of the peace process. This prospect was stoked by an article in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, which was reported yesterday in the Tatler by colleague Bryan Preston.

Now it appears pacifists in Israel and the left leaning J Street organization are anticipating such a call and pushing for it with an ad campaign that will include a full page ad in the New York Times on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Washington visit scheduled for next week.  Over the years there have been numerous reports the President’s advisers have regularly briefed J Street leaders in advance on the President’s Middle East policy.

Today in an email to supporters, J Street solicited contributions for a New York Times ad, saying it should echo an Israeli full page ad calling for Israel to accept 1967 borders and recognize a new Palestinian state.  J Street founder Jeremey Ben-Ami told potential contributors today:

“With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday and President Obama laying out his own Middle East strategy in a speech tomorrow, we’ve got to make sure decision makers in America, in Israel, and in the Palestinian territories hear their message loud and clear.”

There is, of course, a whole lot wrong with this call.  Among other things, it has long been U.S. policy that  future Israeli-Palestinian borders must be the result of two-way negotiations in a peace process, with both sides making concessions. It was always concluded that a final peace agreement, including permanent borders, would involve reciprocal Palestinians concessions .

If the President abandons that strategy, it could destroy any future negotiations as it awards the Palestinians a major victory without needing to make any concessions to the Israeli government. There would be little incentive for the Palestinians to return to any future discussions with the Israelis as they would believe they could win other concessions outright from Washington.

The sudden resignation of George Mitchell President Obama’s Mid-East negotiation on the eve of this new Middle East speech raises additional suspicions that there might also be discord among the President’s advisers about this new and controversial strategy.