Aw man! This year the Jewlicious Festival and the JStreet National conference were at almost the same time! Had the scheduling been different I might have braved the snow in DC and the lack of Kosher food at the JStreet conference in order to attend. Luckily, there are oodles of videos online about the event – some even featuring just your every day conference attendees – this is important because as everyone knows, at conferences, it’s all about the shmooze. In any case, the video below features random interviews with random J Street conference attendees. They have some interesting things to say:
UPDATE: Oh crap. Working the Jewlicious Festival really kicked the crap out of me and it seems I missed a whole big kerfuffle regarding this video! OK so here it is. William Daroff tweeted a link to the video above. If you haven’t seen it yet, it features some “random attendees at J Street’s second national conference making loony left-wing statements about Israel and Hamas.” The Washington Jewish Week, which wouldn’t post the video, quoted one person on the video as follows:
One participant, for instance, is asked by the anonymous videographer if she believes Hamas is terrorist organization. Her smiley response: “Not anymore than the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] is.”
In any case, you can read the twitter dust up between William Daroff and Repair the World‘s Director of Digital Strategy, Dan Sieradski (who was not tweeting as a representative of RTW) by reading the The Washington Jewish Week post on the issue.
Now, you know me, I have been critical of J Street on more than one occasion. While I think that some members of J Street definitely fall within the “Loony Left” category, I can’t say that they all do or that the people in this video are representative of the J Street organization. I mean, look at this video:
Aren’t those kids cute representin’ with their Hashomer Hatzair shirts? What about Shawn Landres who attended the J Street National Conference despite his declaration that he doesn’t always agree with them? Here’s the link to that. Not posting the video because Shawn isn’t wearing a cute tie. The point is that in this case I am kind of sympathetic to J Street. I know that if someone went through the Jewlicious Festival and cherry picked interviews, they could paint the Festival any way they wanted to – from a right wing, pro settler Orthodox celebration, to a drunken frat boy orgy. Luckily, no one has done that (yet) and if they did I would find them and ki… uhm, hug them and shower them with love because unconditional love is how we hasten the arrival of the Mashiach! Yeah.
One of the people caught in the video sting, I guess Harpo Jaegger is his name, tries to explain his and the others’ comments on his blog. He seems kind of young and certainly earnest but I don’t know that he did such a good job defending J Street from the “smear” represented by the video. Read his post, tell me what you think. Dan Sierdaski for his part wrote a comment in the aforementioned Washington Jewish Week article where he stated “As we endeavor to figure out “how big the ‘pro-Israel tent’ should be,” we should be mindful not to take people’s words and ideas out of context in order to score cheap political points.” I agree. That’s why I think that some of Max Blumenthal’s videos are unfair – but where was the outrage from the progressives when Blumenthal does what he does? Don’t ask me – I don’t know. Daroff also wrote a comment, gotta read that too.
My final take on this is that this is what happens when extremes collide. Anyone reasonable would know that the people in the video are not representative of J Street as a whole. They made the cut specifically because of the extremity of their words. The right does it to the left and the left does it to the right. Those who love partisan bickering, will either love or loathe this sort of thing – those of us who actually care about peace and justice will just ignore this nonsense.