WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and director of J Street, apologized to followers for misleading them about George Soros’ role in funding the dovish pro-Israel group.
"I accept responsibility personally for being less than clear about Mr. Soros’ support once he did become a donor," Ben-Ami said Sunday on the J Street. "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."
As a corporation that does not have tax-exempt status, Ben-Ami noted, J Street was under no obligation to reveal its donors.
"Nevertheless, my answers regarding Mr. Soros were misleading," he said. "I deeply and genuinely apologize for that and for any distraction from J Street’s important work created by my actions and decisions."
The Washington Times revealed last Friday that Soros and his children had donated $245,000 to J Street in 2008. J Street confirmed that amount and added that the Soroses had donated similar amounts in subsequent years.
Soros has come under fire over the years for views that mainstream Jewish organizations see as too far left of the pro-Israel mainstream. As an example, he has called for not counting out negotiations with a Palestinian Authority that includes within it Hamas, a terrorist group.
He also has said that Israeli and pro-Israel officials should take consider how anti-Semites might use the officials’ words and actions as a pretext to attack Jews — a position that some of his enemies have claimed justifies anti-Semitism.