There’s going to be a vote in Congress, probably Tuesday, on a resolution condemning the Goldstone Commission report into war crimes committed in Gaza by both Israel and Hamas. The text of that resolution is here, and it’s way harsh. J Street says it’s “unable to support” the resolution in a statement I put on the Windy about an hour ago.
The resolution — let’s be real. It puts J Street in a really tight spot. I haven’t seen any polling on what the broader American Jewish community feels about the report, but institutional Shtetlry and certainly Israel hates the Goldstone report. And so you see J Street threading its needle very carefully. It doesn’t, for instance, make the point in the statement that unless Israel conducts its own investigation into Operation Cast Lead, it’s going to hasten the prospect of Israeli leaders facing war crimes trials — or, at the least, bring Israel into greater tension with the international community and the Palestinians. Mahmoud Abbas is already in a horrible bind after losing support domestically by accommodating U.S. pressure to slow-walk Goldstone, and may not seek reelection as a result. It’s negative-sum, in other words, to just oppose Goldstone. But that’s what Netanyahu is doing, and what Obama is supporting, and what the resolution is hastening.
But to go all-out against the resolution heightens the tensions between J Street and much-if-not-most of the American Jewish community. Jon Chait thinks that’s a good thing. But that’s really a meta-point, ultimately. The question is whether the resolution, in this context, helps or hurts Israel; and J Street, delicately, says it hurts.