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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Confirmed: Soros funds J Street

George Soros, who spent World War II confiscating Jewish property on behalf of the Nazis, and then rationalized it by saying "someone had to do it," a significant source of funds for the 'pro-Israel, pro-peace' J Street according to an article in Friday's Washington Times (which unfortunately did not go online until after the Sabbath started here) by Eli Lake.
Tax forms obtained by The Washington Times reveal that Mr. Soros and his two children, Jonathan and Andrea Soros, contributed a total $245,000 to J Street from one Manhattan address in New York during the fiscal year from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009.

The contributions represent a third of the group's revenue from U.S. sources during the period. Nearly half of J Street's revenue during the timeframe — a total of $811,697 — however, came from a single donor in Happy Valley, Hong Kong, named Consolacion Esdicul.

Jeremy Ben Ami, J Street's executive director, said in an interview that the $245,000 was part of a $750,000 gift from the Soros family to his organization made over three years. Mr. Ben Ami also said that in this same period he had raised $11 million for J Street and its political action committee.


Mr. Ben Ami said his group had no qualms about getting money from Mr. Soros.

"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," he said.

Mr. Ben Ami said Mr. Soros "made the public decision not to support us once we launched. Once we got started, he provided us with some money."

Mr. Ben Ami's words on Thursday contrasted sharply with statements on the J Street website concerning the group's receipt of funding from Mr. Soros.

In a section of the website called "myths and facts," the group includes a passage that reads: "George Soros very publicly stated his decision not to be engaged in J Street when it was launched — precisely out of fear that his involvement would be used against the organization."

After Mr. Ben Ami spoke with The Times, the website was abruptly amended Thursday night with an addition that stated: "J Street has said it doesn’t receive money from George Soros, but now news reports indicate that he has in fact contributed."


When asked about Ms. Esdicul, the Happy Valley, Hong Kong based donor of nearly half the group's revenue for the 2008 to 2009 fiscal year, Mr. Ben Ami said she gave J Street the money in multiple wire transfers at the urging of William Benter, a Pittsburgh-based philanthropist and the chief executive officer of Acusis, a medical services firm.

"She is trying to make the Middle East a Happy Valley," Mr. Ben Ami said. "She is a business associate of Bill Benter and Bill solicited her for the contribution." Happy Valley is a Hong Kong suburb.

President Obama and the White House have expressed concerns about untraced foreign influence on the U.S. political system through donations to tax-exempt "501(c)(4)" nonprofit organizations in recent months.

J Street is a 501(c)(4) organization that is allowed to remain tax-exempt as long its political activities are not the primary purpose of the group. J Street also has established a political action committee, or PAC, the standard way for interest groups, corporations and labor unions to contribute directly to political candidates and parties.

Mr. Ben Ami said he agreed with Mr. Obama "about the need for overall reform of the influence of money in our system. But 501(c)(4)s are allowed to accept money from foreign nationals."

For now, J Street may come under scrutiny in the Jewish community for its connections to Mr. Soros, whose sharp criticisms of certain Israeli policies and of U.S. foreign policy under President Bush have led even some groups and candidates he supports to distance themselves from his activities.

When Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, was running for president in 2008, his campaign was quick to disown some of Mr. Soros' more outspoken criticisms of the Israeli government.
Read the whole thing.

I don't understand how anyone could argue that the main purpose of J Street's activities are 'not political.' If there's a tax lawyer out there who wants to take a stab at that one, feel free.

And who is Consolacion Ediscul? Next post.


At 3:30 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Money talks. George Soros is funding J-Street for a reason.

And its not to strengthen Israel's standing in America.

What could go wrong indeed

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The timing of the story seems funny. Obama launches his bold new push for peace with J-Street as a prominent supporter.

Then a masterfully executed release of information to bedazzle J-Street & confuse it's membership at the very moment the process begins.

Leaking the SOROS funding story during this period seems intended to leave J-Street and it's supporters spending the next few months chasing their own tails attempting to protecting it's image rather then spending this crucial period focusing on supporting the push for peace.

The timing suggest this is not solely about destroying J-Street but also about knocking out a prominent supporter of the president's peace agenda during the first rounds thereby harming it's prospects. This story by the right leaning Washington Times is either evil or simply smells of it.


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