Maybe as a separate organization with more credibility on the left J Street can help Israel more by way of helping curb the wacky initiatives of the far left (like divestment in Berkeley).
Richard Silverstein responds to that suggestion by saying:
I’d never quite thought of the fact that J Street either intentionally or unintentionally may serve to co-opt the political energy of the American Jewish peace movement. Progressives funnel their energy into the organization which transmutes it in turn into faintly liberal pro-Israel substance that bears only a slight resemblance to the actual political values of many of those progressives. In this way, J Street contributes to the dumbing down of progressive Jewish politics.
“Dumbing down” might be a charitable way of characterizing what J Street is doing. What J Street itself might claim to be a moderating influence in its efforts to occupy the supposedly all-powerful political center, can also be seen as classic Israeli divide-and-rule politics.
Where does Israel face some of its most serious political challenges coming from? The Goldstone Report, the embryonic but significant BDS movement, and the broad political trend that with increasing vigor and fearlessness is questioning Israel’s legitimacy. On all counts, J Street stands resolutely on Israel’s side. Yet even as it does so, it attempts to appeal to American Jews who already have a critical view of the Jewish state. It says, we hear you, we embrace you, and now you can quiet down.
To call J Street, AIPAC’s Trojan horse does not have to imply some kind of nefarious conspiracy behind the scenes but simply suggests that J Street by design or accident is on the way to becoming an integral part of the Israel lobby.