Before the final votes were counted on election night, the Progressive political action committee J Street was scrambling to save face. Failing to win competitive races and losing some of their strongest allies the self-declared “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group is taking chutzpah to a new level with the hope of convincing its donors and activists they still matter.
As the J Street spin machine was declaring victory Wednesday morning, I was reminded of my father’s timeless observation: “Only in America can you get blown out in an election and still tell people you won.” That is exactly what J Street is doing.
According to the organization’s website, “With votes still being tallied, endorsees are leading or have won in 77 of 95 races, and 90% of JStreetPAC endorsed incumbents are leading or have won.“
Inexplicably, the organization then reminds supporters of its failures, stating “JStreetPAC was a top bundler in the key Senate battlegrounds of New Hampshire, Georgia, Iowa and Colorado, raising an average of over $190,000 each for Jeanne Shaheen, Michelle Nunn, Bruce Braley and Mark Udall.”
Unfortunately for J Street, with the exception of Ms. Shaheen in New Hampshire, all their Senate candidates lost. And a couple of those failed efforts were double-digit defeats.
The Washington Free Beacon wrote, “Democrats Mark Udall (Colo.) and Bruce Braley (Iowa), both of whom lost yesterday, received repeated endorsements and cash from J Street.”
In fact, those races were so important to J Street that Political Director Dan Kalik told supporters in a September email, “We can’t afford to lose these two [Senate] races.” He went on to urge supporters to contribute to these eventually losing candidacies.
The organization’s boast that “90% of JStreetPAC endorsed incumbents are leading or have won” is misleading at best and dishonest at worst.
J Street darling Democrat Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) faced a Republican challenger who is allegedly mentally unstable. Even the Illinois GOP refused to recognize and endorse Schakowsky’s challenger due to her state of mind. Not exactly a victory worth bragging about.
Democrat John Conyers (MI-13), who serves a district that regards the Republican Party as an extension of the Ku Klux Klan, won his 26th consecutive term in Congress. Way to go out on a limb, guys.
What J Street isn’t advertising is that it lost key allies. Some of the most prominent anti-Israel voices in Congress are soon to be unemployed.
The most notable has to be West Virginia Democrat Rep. Nick Rahall (WV-3). After 38 years in Congress, he was soundly defeated by Republican State Senator Evan Jenkins. The longtime J Street-endorsed congressman has been arguably the most blatant anti-Israel voice in the House — he has referred to Israel as a “monster,” a “spoiled child,” “bullies,” and the “Israeli Occupation Forces.” J Street’s disingenuous “pro-Israel, pro-Peace” moniker has given Mr. Rahall cover after a history of voting against the Jewish State.
J Street was unable to save Democrat Rep. Joe Garcia (FL-26), who made headlines earlier this year for accepting campaign donations as well as speaking at the annual fundraising dinner for the radical-Islamic group EMERGE. The soon-to-be unemployed congressman appeared on the same bill with Dr. Sayed Ammar Nakshawani, who has denounced the two-state solution, stating, “It is barbaric that this Zionist state is allowed to continue.”
In an effort to deflect attention from its endorsement of candidates who exhibit disdain for the Jewish State, J Street attempted to appease its supporters by releasing a poll to reassure activists and donors that “defying national trends, American Jewish voters overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates in 2014.”
This statement only reaffirms my recent argument in The Hill that J Street is “pro-Progressive, not pro-Israel.”
J Street references its poll that claims 69 percent of American Jews supported the Democratic candidates. What they fail to note is that from a historical perspective, that figure should concern leaders of the Democrat Party. Other polls clearly indicate Jewish voters trending toward the GOP. In fact, 2014 would be the strongest Jewish showing for Republicans since 1988, when George H. Bush received 35 percent of the Jewish vote. J Street also doesn’t want its donors to know that since its arrival on the scene, American Jewry supporting GOP candidates has continued to climb.
If it weren’t for J Street’s specious “pro-Israel” agenda, which gives Progressives cover in the eyes of Jewish Democrats, President and Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami would have trouble getting a 30-second appointment with a congressman as they used adjacent urinals.
While the organization does not raise or donate a lot of money, they still have to appease donors in order to keep the telephone and the electricity on, as well as keeping Mr. Ben-Ami living his one-percent lifestyle.
J Street has never been about telling the truth about Israel, so it only makes sense they would maintain the tradition and deceive their supporters. Not exactly Tevye’s “Tradition!”
Paul Miller is a contributor to the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. He serves as principal of Pauliegroup LLC, a Chicago-based new media and political consulting firm.