J Street’s Loss Is George Soros’s Loss

Abraham H. Miller Emeritus Professor, University of Cincinnati
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The anti-Zionist Zionists, J Street, lost its bid to become a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The prestigious and influential group said no to George Soros’s fifth-column attempt to gain admission to the Jewish community’s big tent. Even some liberal Jews, despite their mantras of inclusion and outreach, showed they still understood the difference between tolerance and self-inflicted sabotage.

J Street, after much subterfuge, finally admitted in 2010 that it receives funds from Soros, a man who says the upsurge of anti-Semitism in Europe is a result of the policies of Israel and the United States. According to Soros, Jews are being beaten in the streets of Paris, Amsterdam, and Malmo not because of fundamentalist Islam’s hateful teachings but because of Israel and America.

To divert attention from Soros’ controversial and embarrassing role in J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, created a straw man. According to Ben-Ami’s diversion, the issue was never about Soros’ funding but about his founding the group.

Ben-Ami pointedly denies that Soros founded the group and shifts ground to minimizing his support as a mere seven percent of the total funding. But then there is the inconvenient Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, a Hong Kong businesswoman, whose admiration for J Street and its quest for peace in the Middle East so moved her that her contributions outstripped Soros’.

Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, regrettably, has the distinct appearance of a Soros proxy. And Ben-Ami’s attempts at explaning both her beneficence and who she is require that one substantially lower the bar of credulity.

Soros is known for many things that caused human misery, including betting against currencies that, when they crashed, took the life savings of people across the globe. But Soros, a non-practicing Jew, seems to have taken a peculiar and succulent delight in being an accomplice to the Nazi expropriation of Jewish property in his native Hungary.

In a “60 Minutes” interview with Steve Kroft, which Soros’ partisans have been continually reinterpreting, Soros said that the war years were the happiest time of his life. During that period, Soros went out with his faux godfather and helped in the confiscation of property of fellow Jews, a fact he acknowledged.

Kroft thought this might put most people on the psychiatric couch, but Soros admitted that he did not feel any guilt.

Although the experience did not send Soros to the psychiatric couch, it might explain his dissonance toward Israel and his embrace of anti-Zionist Jews like Ben-Ami. The organizations Soros’ charitable groups support are known for their attempts to undermine and delegitimize the Jewish state.  Media Matters, another recipient of Soros and Esdicul’s largess, has been condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center not just for its anti-Zionism but also for old-fashioned anti-Semitism.

It is not surprising then that J Street would be a recipient of Soros’ charitable giving. J Street has rarely seen a position that Israel takes that it could support. J Street unequivocally condemns any Israeli or US military action to keep Iran from developing its nuclear program, even as Iran calls for Israel’s annihilation. J Street does not support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. When the United States Senate sought to cut off funds to the Palestinian Authority if it used its upgraded status at the UN to level specious charges against Israel, J Street mobilized to undermine the Senate’s policy.  As the Jewish community worked to marginalize the virulently anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, a group so rabidly anti-Israel that it is willing to partner with Students for Justice in Palestine, J Street worked to hinder the community’s campaign.

From its inception, J Street’s mission was to undermine the pro-Israel community’s most successful interest group, AIPAC. This is precisely what Soros, with his anti-Israel agenda, desires.

The New York Times has cast J Street’s defeat as a loss for the liberal voices in the Jewish community.  The New York Times has long shown that it is not Israel’s friend.  Its anti-Israel propaganda, masquerading as journalism, has raised the ire of the broad spectrum of pro-Zionist groups. Any decision that upsets the New York Times and J Street furthers Israel’s right to survive in a neighborhood that is continually descending into violence and tyranny.  The vote against J Street is a vote in support of Israel’s future.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati.  He was also on the faculty of the University of California, Davis and the University of Illinois, Urbana.