A new Washington Times investigative report reveals that billionaire, and liberal political activist, George Soros has been funding the Jewish-American advocacy group J Street, despite previous claims from the organization to the contrary.
According to the Times, Soros and his two children gave $245,000 from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 -- which represents a third of the group's revenue from U.S. sources during that period.
With the funding now in the open, J Street executive director Jeremy Ben Ami has changed his group's stance on Soros's contributions. In an interview with the Times, Ami said that the $245,000 was part of a $750,000 gift from the Soros family to his organization made over three years, and admitted that during that same period Soros had raised $11 million for J Street and its political action committee.
J Street has long billed itself as the more reasoned Jewish-American organization, contrasting itself with organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). For example, the group advocates for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict. That apparently caught the eye, and wallet, of Soros, who has decried "hawkish" Isreali policy, and who has funded such liberal organizations as MoveOn.org and Media Matters for America.
And while earlier versions of the group's website claimed no connection to Soros, J Street now boasts about the new revelatioin. "I am very, very proud that our movement and what we are trying to do is aligned with the values and principles of George Soros and we are proud to have his support," Ami told the Times.
In the past, certain groups and individuals have chosen to distance themselves from Soros because of his views on Israeli foreign policy. During the 2008 election even then-candidate Barack Obama chose to repudiate some of Soros's comments.
But for now, J Street is glad to have the endorsement of Soros, and has not indicated that it disagrees with any of his beliefs. Soros has returned the favor, according to his spokesman Michael Vachon: "Mr. Soros believes that J Street makes an important contribution to the debate on Mideast policy."
The documents revealing Soros's contributions to J Street can be viewed on the website "The Lid."
"J-Street is a fraud," the website's author Jeff Dunetz writes, "it says it is pro-Israel while taking anti-Israel positions."
According to Dunetz, J Street has said in the past that it had difficulty in distinguishing "between who is right and who is wrong" and "picking a side" when it came to Israel's conflict with Hamas. Dunetz also says that the group has previously advocated U.S. negotiations with Hamas.