It's 4 AM, I have a huge headache and my voice is hoarse from the Yankee-Oriole game tonight. (Yanks won a pitchers' duel after 15 long innings!) BUT I have an important Thought. Well, not really. First off, let me say that I've been trying hard not to make this a blog about Israel, a, because there are enough important bloggers who write about Israel in a more clever and eloquent way thn I ever could and b, I'm interested in a lot more than just Israel.
But that having been said, I was looking through the confirmed speakers for the AIPAC conference next week and marveling about how impressive the list is, when I decided to refresh myself on who spoke at the J Street conference earlier this year, in February. Comparing the list of AIPAC's confirmed speakers to J Street's confirmed speakers, I think, make huge statements about which pro-Israel group matters more in Washington DC. The highest American official J Street brought, for example, was Dennis Ross (who sent his resignation letter into Obama only a few weeks later; I would suspect that when he spoke at the conference, he already knew he was leaving), along with five or so other Congressional representatives, while it amazes me that AIPAC is bringing President Obama, Speaker of the House John Boehner, majority leaders of both the House and the Senate, and several more. (Another consideration, by the way, is quality over quantity- if J Street could have brought in a top governmental official, they could have lost the Congresspeople.)
This isn't a statement about why AIPAC is given more legitimacy by Obama and the American government, or if they're right to do that; that's a different conversation. But in terms of who's part of the legitimate political conversation? It's not even close.
If you're curious about people or papers to read about Israel news, by the way, let me help! Here's a very basic primer:
A. Read all of obvious ones- Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, YNet, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal.
B. Read commentary by almost everyone at the New Republic (they'll all talk about Israel eventually, journalists can't help it, writing about Israel is an addiction), The Atlantic (especially Jeffrey Goldberg), Ben Smith at Politico, The Economist, and Andrew Sullivan.
Though you may disagree with plenty of the analyses, it doesn't seem too bold to acknowledge a clear link between reading/ knowledge expansion and critical thinking.