Guess who’s not hosting a dinner

In this post, I reported that 160 members of Congress, including 29 Senators, are hosting a “gala” dinner at the end of the month for “J Street,” a collection of leftists who claim to represent the “sensible mainstream of pro-Israel American Jews,” but who in reality are anything but pro-Israel. Among the 160, I noted, are Mike Castle, a Republican congressman from Delaware who is running for the Senate, and Kristen Gillibrand, the Senator appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat who will trying to win it on her own in 2010.
Noting that Chuck Schumer was not on the list of hosts, I suggested that “to the extent that clueless Senate Dems are pro-Israel, they might have consulted with Schumer. . .before jumping into bed with the Israel-bashers at J Street.” Schumer has often been described as Gillibrand’s political mentor.
Now Ben Smith at Politico reports that both Gillibrand and Castle have asked to be removed from the “host” committee. Gillibrand pleaded cluelessness — a spokesperson said she was “unaware” she had been included on the J Street supporter list.
Smith also reports that Schumer himself had initially agreed to be on the list, but then thought better of it. The key point, though, is that Schumer’s name, unlike those of Castle and Gillibrand, never appeared on J Street’s list. For this he deserves credit. But let’s give Castle and Gillibrand a little credit too for dropping out.
As we learn yet more about J Street, other members of Congress may wish they had followed their example.

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