Carol Shea-Porter Likes Israel… Not That Much, Actually

While looking at something else, I noticed that my own CongressCritter, Carol Shea-Porter, was one of only (by my count) 58 candidates explicitly endorsed by the "J Street PAC".

J Street sounds innocuous enough. It bills itself on its front page as the "political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans". And who's not for peace?

But in practice, behind the soothing slogans, J Street is mostly in favor of US pressure on Israel to concede, concede, concede. While billing itself as "pro-Israel", it in practice opposes most of what Israel actually does in order to defend itself from its enemies. Last year, Noah Pollak wrote in Commentary:

In order to transform relations between the U.S. and Israel, J Street intends to provide political cover for an American campaign to pressure the Israeli government into making more concessions for the sake of what it believes will be peace. In his op-eds and speeches, [J Street founder Jeremy] Ben-Ami frequently cites his family's history in Israel as evidence of the depth of his commitment to the Jewish state, but he nonetheless considers the sovereign nation incapable of making healthy decisions for itself.
Pollak's article is a pretty good outline of where J Street is on the ideological map: waaay off to the left.

I also noticed this pro-Israel letter, addressed to President Obama, recently gathering signatures in the House of Representatives. Written in response to the "Gaza flotilla incident," it expresses "strong support for Israel's right to defend itself." It urges that the President use "U. S. influence and, if necessary, veto power to prevent any biased or one-sided resolutions from passing" the United Nations Security Council. It asked that efforts be made to "focus the international community on the crimes of the Iran-backed Hamas leadership against Israel and the Palestinian people."

The letter was advocated by the primary American Jewish lobby group AIPAC. J Street, on the other hand, urged that Congressmen and Senators not sign it.

As it happens (as I type) the House version of the letter garnered 338 signatures, nearly four-fifths of the current membership. Conspicuously absent from the signatory list: Carol Shea-Porter.


I am (relatively) sure that Congresswoman Carol is not fueled by anti-semitism. She's unlikely to start sounding like Pat Buchanan, entertaining as that might be. I would bet if someone posed her the question that sent Helen Thomas into her too-belated retirement, she'd give a more acceptable answer.

But, from the above facts, she's apparently pretty far out of the mainstream on the Israel issue. It would be nice if, sometime in the next (say) 126 days or so, someone would nail that down.

[I should also note that our state's retiring Senator, Judd Gregg, has not signed the Senate version of the letter. 87 Senators have done so, which means only 12 (living) Senators haven't. This guy did the math to determine that only two GOP Senators didn't sign: Gregg and Bunning of Kentucky, also retiring. So what's up with that, Judd?]


stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This 1991 David Mamet movie was recently given the "Criterion Collection" DVD treatment, and I realized that I'd never gotten around to seeing it. And Netflix sent the Criterion DVD, all the better. (They don't always do that—they're expensive.)

Joe Mantegna plays Bobby Gold, a detective on the homicide squad of a decaying city. (Unnamed, but it was filmed in Baltimore.) He and his co-workers are asked to pick up the pieces of a botched FBI drug raid during which a bunch of people were killed and the targeted drug dealer escaped.

Bobby and his partner (William H. Macy) are off on their dragnet when, by sheerest coincidence, Bobby gets roped into investigating the murder of an elderly Jewish woman, shot while defending her variety store in the middle of a nasty ghetto, full of anti-semitism. Was it a simple robbery gone wrong, or was the victim the target of a neo-Nazi conspiracy, due to her militant Zionist past? Bobby initially resists the temptations of Jewish solidarity, but eventually succumbs. This works out poorly for everyone.

It's a Mamet movie, so nearly everyone is colorfully foulmouthed and non-PC, spouting intricately-constructed dialog you'd never hear in real life. Mantegna gives (probably) the acting performance of his life (so far).

The DVD looks great. Extras: modern-day interviews with a few cast members, including Mantegna, and a gag reel. There was also a commentary from Mamet and Macy, which I didn't listen to.

Last Modified 2012-10-03 11:44 AM EST