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Soros-funded lobby helping Palestinian statehood bid

Jeremy Ben-Ami

JERUSALEM – The left-wing Jewish lobby J Street has been aiding the Palestinian Authority in its bid to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state at the United Nations, according to PA officials speaking to WND.

The officials said J Street has been helping the PA to set up Capitol Hill meetings with mostly Democratic lawmakers in a search for diplomatic support for their U.N. statehood move. Israel strongly opposes the plan to unilaterally declare a state in September.

J Street did not return WND email and phone requests for comment.

J Street’s founder and president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, has acknowledged receiving seed money from left-wing billionaire activist George Soros.

J Street had long denied it received Soros funding.

The group also has come under fire for accepting funds from numerous Arab sources as well as pro-Arab organizations.

J Street states on its website that it seeks to “promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.”

The lobby group supports talks with Hamas, a terrorist group whose charter seeks the destruction of Israel. The group has opposed sanctions against Iran and is harshly critical of Israeli offensive anti-terror military actions.

The Israeli government has been distancing itself from J Street. When its ambassador, Oren, refused to attend last year’s annual J Street dinner, Israeli embassy spokesman Yoni Peled told the Jerusalem Post his government has some “concern over certain [J Street ] policies that could impair Israel’s interests.”

The Powerline blog previously documented how far-leftist Israelis are influential in the J Street leadership, including former Knesset Speaker Avrum Burg, who generated controversy when he stated, “To define the state of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end.”

Another key J Street member, Mideast expert Henry Siegman, has compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.

WND reported from the Philadelphia launch of J Street’s campus outreach program in April 2010. At the event, one J Street figure paid tribute to the radical 1960s theorist Saul Alinsky, calling him “our rabbi.”

Despite J Street’s alleged efforts, the PA’s drive to declare a state at the U.N. has been garnering opposition on Capitol Hill.

Last month, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution threatening to suspend financial assistance to the PA if its leaders “persist in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies.”

The resolution called President Obama to veto a U.N. vote on unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

WND reported in April that the Obama administration is concerned that support for a U.N. declaration of Palestinian statehood could have a negative impact on the president’s 2012 re-election bid, according to a top PA official.

The official told WND at the time that the White House in April asked the PA to take its U.N. state request directly to the international body’s General Assembly, the only U.N. organ in which all member nations have equal representation, instead of to the Security Council, where the U.S. holds veto power.

Previously, PA officials stated the Obama administration would not veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a Palestinian state.

In 2009, Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, told WND in an interview that the PA “reached an understanding with important elements within the administration” to possibly bring to the U.N. Security Council a resolution to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.

Asked to which “elements” he was referring, Qurei would only say they were from the Obama administration.