Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and president of J Street, the liberal Jewish group, e-mailed Goldblog last night: "Reports of our demise (including from you) are greatly exaggerated...." He was referring to a question I posted earlier in the day: "Will J Street even be around in its current form in coming days, now that it is enveloped in a scandal (more of a cover-up than a crime, in the traditional Washington style)?"
The scandal grows from a decision by Jeremy Ben-Ami to cover-up, over a long period of time, something he knew to be true: That George Soros, the billionaire investor and non-friend of Israel, provided J Street with almost $750,000 in funding. James Besser, at The New York Jewish Week, frames the impact of this cover-up in stark and simple terms:
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.
An Atlantic reporter, Chris Good, was one of the journalists lied to by J Street; he ripped the organization a new one once he learned he was the target of a disinformation campaign.