Continuing with this question of the progressive American Jewish group’s support for the Berman Iran sanctions bill, I interviewed J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami for the Washington Independent. He thinks my interpretation of their position is overly cynical. For instance:

TWI: What do you say to those who think that this is a capitulation by J Street to those — particularly on some of the American Jewish right — that have been attacking your credibility and your authenticity as a Jewish organization and your bona fides as a pro-Israel organization?

Ben-Ami: They haven’t been listening to us. We have said from the very first day that J Street was created that we’re very seriously concerned about the threat of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. That we really believe that diplomacy is the right approach, but that diplomacy can’t be open-ended. Every one of our statements says we are not opposed to sanctions per se. Back in June, when Berman introduced this particular bill we said that we supported the bill, but we agreed with him that the time wasn’t right to move it. So this is completely consistent with everything we’ve ever said. We are ardently opposed to military action. We are deeply supportive of the diplomatic route. But if the diplomatic route is completely disregarded and the offer [rejected] — after probably ten or 20 warnings, they’re practically beyond saying no. They’re sticking a finger in the eye of the world. The U.S. has really tried to find a way to offer them a path to full engagement. There have to be consequences. We can’t just allow that kind of disregard of the international community.

There’s much more, so RTWT.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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