I just finished writing a story on J Street's disastrous week and the possible consequences of the revelation it's leaders lied for two years about George Soros' contributions - consequences on Capitol Hill, in voting booths and in the Jewish communal world.
In looking the story over, I was particularly struck by one quote from my old friend Doug Bloomfield, once the legislative director of AIPAC, now a columnist for – gasp – Jewish newspapers.
Few Jewish organizations have generated feelings — pro or con — as intense as those ignited by J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action committee created two years ago to provide a left-of-center address for politicians and activists who support more aggressive U.S. peace process diplomacy.
That intensity took another quantum jump with last week’s Washington Times disclosure that the group has been getting substantial donations from financier George Soros despite repeated denials from its leaders.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- J Street acknowledged substantial donations from George Soros, reversing years of claims by the group that it had nothing to do with the liberal financier.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the director of the dovish pro-Israel lobby, confirmed to JTA a report that first appeared in the Washington Times that it had received $245,000 from Soros and his children in 2008, and added that it had received another $500,000 in subsequent years -- altogether, about 7 percent of the $11 million it says it has taken in since its 2008 founding.
Reading Ron Kampeas' story on a pre-Rosh Hashanah interview with the Jewish press (which I missed, due to other commitments) I was struck by the dilemma Israeli leaders face in these days of unrestrained, unfiltered political animosity.
According to Ron, Oren said that “Obama often doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Israel.”
Update: Now we've heard from the Conservative movement. In a statement, the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Theological Assembly and eight other movement groups said this: "As leaders of the Conservative/Masorti movement, we deplore these recent comments of Former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef that, like many of his comments over the years, constitute irresponsible incitement to violence.
Update: in this blog, I asked what Jewish leader would be the first to condemn Rabbi Ovadia Yosef''s death wish for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people. Answer: Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). This just in from Foxman:
Here's a great cartoon from Steve Kelly at the New Orleans Times-Picayune (download and enlarge for best viewing). The cartoon shows Obama saying of Imam Rauf, "I support the right of religious groups to build on their property..." In the next panel, Obama adds, "Sometimes," holding his "Freeze Settlements" edict while standing next to Israel's Netanyahu.
J Street called for an investigation into American charities — including one based in the Five Towns — that fund Israeli settlement activity.
J Street, the self-proclaimed political home for “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” launched a campaign Monday calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to look into whether organizations named in a July 6 New York Times report have broken the law.