Our Donors


 

  • MYTH: J Street is funded by Arab and other foreign and non-Jewish donors.

  • FACT: J Street has thousands of donors, large and small. We don’t know the religious or ethnic backgrounds of all of them, but we do know that they are primarily individual Jewish Americans. J Street accepts no funding from foreign governments or from foreign organizations.

    Even the source of this smear, an article in the Jerusalem Post, said: “The funds that come from these sources [Arab and Muslim Americans] indeed constitute a small fraction of the year-and-a- half-old organization’s political fundraising, which totaled around $844,000 in 2008 – a key election year – and $111,000 so far in 2009. They comprise several dozen of the PAC’s 4,000-5,000 donors.”

    You don’t have to take our word for it. JStreetPAC, by law, reports all of its thousands of donors to the Federal Election Commission, and those reports can be publicly reviewed on the website of the Federal Election Commission.

    J Street also listed the names of its major donors (members of its Finance Committee) in its annual reports. Many of its major donors are also members of its Advisory Council, which can be viewed on our website.

    Again, a quick review will show that nearly all our top donors are leading American Jewish philanthropists and political activists.

    Yes, a tiny portion of J Street’s support comes from non-Jewish Americans (including some Arab- and some Muslim-Americans, as well as some Americans of other backgrounds). J Street, in fact, welcomes support from all Americans who believe in assertive U.S. diplomacy to resolve the conflicts in the Middle East and the establishment of two states living side by side in peace and security.

    As a primarily but not exclusively Jewish organization, J Street believes that support from non-Jews for our pro-Israel positions is actually extremely helpful to Israel – and helps ensure a long-term base of support for Israel’s security. We are proud of our cooperation with non-Jews--Christians and Muslims--who share our recognition that peace and long-term security will only come to the Middle East when Jews find common ground with Arabs – both Muslim and Christian--and a formula for sharing one land among two peoples through a two-state solution.

  • MYTH: George Soros founded and is the primary funder of J Street.

  • FACT: George Soros did not found J Street. In fact, 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. Soros has provided regular annual donations to J Street, that comprise just over seven percent of its funding.

    J Street has thousands of donors, large and small. The supporters of the political action committee (JStreetPAC) can be publicly reviewed on the website of the Federal Election Commission. The top donors to J Street are members of the organization’s Finance Committee – listed in its annual reports. Many of its major donors are also members of its Advisory Council.

  • MYTH: J Street lied about receiving money from George Soros.

  • FACT: J Street has always said that George Soros did not found J Street and did not provide its seed funding – a decision about which he was very public before the organization’s launching in 2008.

    J Street has also always said that it would be very pleased to have funding from Soros. In fact, the organization has received approximately $500,000/year in funding from the Soros family since launching.

    Overall, the J Street family of organizations--its legally-independent PAC, the 501(c)(3) Education Fund and the (c)(4) lobby--has now raised approximately $35 million in just over five years. The Soros family has contributed just over seven percent of the overall funding.

    Our largest sources of funding since 2008 have included the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Sandler Foundation and the Skoll Global Threats Fund which have donated to the 501(c)(3) Education Fund, and donations that have been made or raised by William Benter. As we have publicly acknowledged before, the contributions that made it possible to launch J Street came from Alan and Deborah Sagner and Davidi Gilo.

    Overall, we have over 20,000 donors to the various organizations, and are committed to the full disclosure of our donors required by the law. We are also committed to protecting the privacy of our donors, which is guaranteed by law in the case of contributions to our 501(c)(4) and was egregiously violated by the Internal Revenue Service in erroneously and illegally making our donor schedule available to the public.

    For a full explanation of George Soros’ role as a J Street donor, please see Jeremy Ben-Ami’s statement on our blog.

  • MYTH: J Street is funded by a donor from Hong Kong.

  • FACT: Some press reports have noted a large contribution on our 2009 tax return from a resident of Hong Kong named Consolacion Esdicul. The explanation for this is straightforward: Bill Benter, a philanthropist and political activist from Pittsburgh, is a major supporter of and contributor to J Street. He is a generous donor to a range of causes related to his hometown, national politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and a passionate advocate for peace.

    As we were launching J Street, Benter committed to contribute and to help raise substantial funds for the effort should we get it off the ground. One contribution he helped raise was from Ms. Esdicul, a business associate from Hong Kong, where he lives for part of the year and has business holdings.

    The Esdicul contribution represents a significant portion of the one tax filing that was leaked – and seems high when viewed in isolation – but it represents only a small percentage of the money raised by all aspects of J Street since it was launched.