There’s no way this revelation, coming after two years of denials, will not be seen as confirmation in the minds of many that J Street is what its detractors say – a group that is something less than pro-Israel. The critics, it turns out, were right about Soros; isn’t that going to fan suspicion they were right about other things, as well?
There’s no way this isn’t going to make the politicians supported by J Street and those who may be considering accepting its endorsement incredibly nervous. Instead of providing protection for the politicians they supported, J Street essentially hung them out to dry – not by accepting Soros money, but by lying about their connection to the controversial philanthropist.
And there’s no way this doesn’t sow mistrust among commentators and reporters who write and speak about J Street, and who were repeatedly misled by its officials. J Street sought to create a climate of trust with a press corps that was being spun heavily by its opponents; this news undoes a lot of that effort.
J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami comes a little cleaner about misleading everyone about the Soros connection, on the group’s blog today:
I accept responsibility personally for being less than clear about Mr. Soros’ support once he did become a donor. I said Mr. Soros did not help launch J Street or provide its initial funding, and that is true. I also said we would be happy to take his support. But I did not go the extra step to add that he did in fact start providing support in the fall of 2008, six months after our launch.
J Street does not reveal the names of donors to its 501(c)(4) corporation or the amounts of their contributions. Neither do nearly all such entities in the United States. The law guarantees donors their privacy and confidentiality. Nevertheless, my answers regarding Mr. Soros were misleading. I deeply and genuinely apologize for that and for any distraction from J Street’s important work created by my actions and decisions.