J Street, the progressive Zionist lobby group that developed as a counterweight to the hawkish lobbyists at AIPAC, has itself spawned an antagonist: Z Street, a new activist group that has planted itself firmly on the right wing of the American Zionist spectrum. On the conservative web magazine American Thinker, Z Street founder Lori Lowenthal Marcus describes the organization’s “ironclad positions,” which include “the right of Jews to live freely anywhere, including inhaling oxygen in areas the world insists are reserved for Arab Palestinians.” She explains that the group developed “in part as a response to organizations whispering into the ear of this US administration that pervert the meaning of ‘pro-Israel,’” and she compares her efforts to those undertaken by American Jews who fought to draw attention to Nazi atrocities during World War II. But how will her group be different from political allies like the Zionist Organization of America and Young Israel? “We intend to be more activist, not so involved with the academic side and the lobbying side,” Marcus told Tablet. “We want to have people’s attention grabbed and then confront them with the facts that have been obscured by the current discussion on the Middle East.” Currently, she’s working to get comedians in on the effort: “Humor is not a tool that’s been used from the staunchly pro-Israel organizational efforts.”
Luckily or unluckily for Marcus, Z Street’s cofounder, Allyson Rowen Taylor, is excellent at grabbing attention. In 2007, shortly after her resignation from the position of assistant regional director for the American Jewish Congress, the blog Muzzewatch accused her of having written an anonymous email to an employee of the American Friends Service Committee that asked, “Why do you hate being a Jew, why are you in favor of murdering Jews?” Taylor later confessed to the Forward.
Z Street [American Thinker]
Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.