Talk:J Street/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

new article

from American Thinker JStreet is selling snake oil Lori Lowenthal Marcus.

I would like to see a section with the criticism or controversy surrounding this org neatly laid out, and another section with the JStreet perspective, instead of the current method which is just a list of back-and-forth and is (really) difficult to read and understand as presented. Stellarkid (talk) 15:46, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Guardian article

This may be of interest. An article by Chris McGreal, the Guardian's Washington correspondent from 23 October 2009. Who speaks for America's Jews? J Street lobby group works to loosen big beasts' grip on Congress Sean.hoyland - talk 12:24, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

"College Campus Activity"

An editor recently created a new "College Campus Activity" section under heading "Activities", consisting solely of this sentence:

J Street's campus arm has dropped the "pro-Israel" part of its slogan to avoid alienating those college students which would find the tag offensive. J Street Campus Branch drops 'Pro-Israel" Slogan

Since the sentence doesn't say anything about J Street's college activities, I've reverted it and moved it here for safe-keeping. — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 02:06, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

ZOA press release

J Street's Ben Ami Worked For Firm That Helped Set Up Anti-Israel Campus Campaign Oct 20th 2009 - (ouch!) Well worth a read, come to one's own conclusions. Perhaps some of this might be worked into the article. After all, the ZOA is a pretty relevant org, no? Stellarkid (talk) 06:04, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

A press released based on a blog! Now that's a reliable source if ever I saw one. — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 06:43, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I believe Fenton communications campaign for women's rights too, shocking! Interesting how "advocates for the accountability of those who participated in attacks against schools in Gaza" becomes Anti-Israel. What's slightly more puzzling is the mismatch between what ZOA say and what the documents http://www.fara.gov/docs/5945-Exhibit-AB-20090928-4.pdf and http://www.fara.gov/docs/5945-Exhibit-AB-20090928-3.pdf say. I assume the ZOA aren't opposed to "protecting education from violence during war or conflicts, specifically in Gaza". Still, it's pretty shocking that the Qatar Foundation are trying to raise awareness of the state of education in Gaza and the West Bank. Sean.hoyland - talk 06:54, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
..having said that, unless someone establishs that this has anything to do with Ben Ami it's not relevant. Sean.hoyland - talk 06:56, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Certainly not relevant to the Gaza War! or Women's Rights! But I guess you were just indulging in a little soapboxing, eh? But not relevant to Ben Ami or J Street? Considering that he is headlined one would think so, but I guess you know more about this sort of thing than I. Stellarkid (talk) 03:37, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
No, I wasn't. I was simply indulging in some sarcasm for my own amusement because I'm contantly amazed by the blatant misrepresentation that goes on out there in the real world. In order to soapbox you need to care about these issues and I don't. What I care about is the quality of sourcing and information in Wikipedia. It's important to be able to distinguish between high quality sources that provide accurate/balanced information supported by empirical evidence and propaganda. Many editors seem to be somewhat blind in this respect probably through no fault of their own. Apparently you didn't understand what I meant by "unless someone establishs that this has anything to do with Ben Ami it's not relevant". I am referring specifically to the guilt by association, sleight-of-hand, typical-of-propagandists statement in the ZOA document that says "It is not known if Ben-Ami severed his ties with Fenton in 2008 to take up his position with the then-newly formed J Street, whether he retained any role or holdings in Fenton thereafter or whether he was aware of the negotiations or the contract signed on March 12, 2009 with the Qatari foundation mounting the anti-Israel campaign." To me that means "we have no information to indicate that this has anything to do with Ben-Ami". Sean.hoyland - talk 03:53, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Well that is why I did not add any of the material to the article. I thought perhaps there was more information and until there is, I certainly would not advocate putting it in, although there might be something in the article of value, possibly a better understanding of JStreet. This article is not about Ben Ami anyway, but an advocacy group that he steers, if I understand correctly. But as I said, I did not put it in the article but on the talk page. Considering that both JSTreet and ZOA are "pro-Israel" advocacy groups, I figured it had some relevancy and at least some interest to readers. Nothing more than that. Stellarkid (talk) 04:34, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

You would not advocate putting it in? So when you said Perhaps some of this might be worked into the article that meant what exactly? This talk page is not here to provide "interest" to readers, it is here to discuss the article. This "source" does not belong in the article. nableezy - 17:58, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm assuming you wrote this before you were aware of your block topic-ban, so I will answer you here: I believe a sentence like this "ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “ZOA has been concerned for some time with the many and varied false and misleading claims made by J Street regarding its bona fides as a genuine pro-Israel organization." would not be unreasonable. ZOA is a very important Jewish organization and its opinions are meaningful to the Jewish community. And while it is also apparently true that Ben Ami was recently an employee of a communications company (registered under the Foreign Agent Act for Qatar) that recently received a grant "to lead an international public opinion awareness campaign that advocates for the accountability of those who participated in attacks on schools in Gaza" and to "assist students in developing an effective 12 month fundraising campaign to reach 100 million$ and "assist in the recruitment of student leaders on US and international college campuses" this does not mean that Ben Ami knew anything about this. Nor does this say that any of this is illegal activity. It is perfectly legal as long as it is duly registered. The links presented in the article are broken, here they are [1] & [2]- I agree that the rest of the stuff should not be in, until and unless it becomes more mainstream. I figured that editors on a subject here would want all the latest information available on a their subject, so they can be the most informed, since they are presumably informing others. I hope this answers your question. Stellarkid (talk) 04:57, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Where to begin? nableezy was topic-banned, not blocked. The ban was put into place more than 3 hours after this message was posted. And what does any of that have to do with J Street?
ZOA is a very self-important Jewish organization whose existence is unknown to most of the Jewish community. Does ZOA have any members beside Mort Klein?
You really need to learn the difference between a press release and a news article. This is a press release, not an article, yet you repeatedly refer to it as an article.
This crankery from a right-wing nut no more belongs in the article than would a press release in which Mort Klein wrote that "ZOA has been concerned for some time with the many and varied false and misleading claims made by Jeremy Ben-Ami that he was born on Earth." — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 05:18, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Pardon me for the confusion over a block vrs a topic ban. I corrected that. I should have checked the time out before I commented. However it appears in the WP article on Zionist Organization of America that it is considered a "prominent pro-Israel group." Perhaps you want to change that to "self-important Jewish organization whose existence is unknown to most of the Jewish community." While you are at it you could rewrite the Morton Klein article to read that he is a crank and a "right-wing nut". Actually I don't know that you should even put such blatantly anti-BLP stuff on the talk pages. Stellarkid (talk) 18:32, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Stellarkid, please take the time to find out who Fenton Communications are before you make any more statements about them here or anywhere else. http://www.fenton.com/ ...for the sake of the children, because they're the future...apparently. Sean.hoyland - talk 09:43, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Looking at "Public responses] section, it looks like the article is already unbalanced with too many criticisms - more than one finds for some antisemitic groups! IF there was currently a balance (through more positive comments and shorter criticisms), it might be proper to have one sentence in a criticism section saying something like "ZOA criticized Ben Ami for (neutral description of what he did) which ZOA characterized as "anti-Israel." But first the unbalance problem has to be fixed. Anyone want to do that work? CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:03, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Oren on J Street

"Breaking with his previous restraint, Israel’s ambassador to the United States delivered an unprecedented blast against J Street, the new dovish Israel lobby that has made waves in Washington and throughout the Jewish community." [3] Stellarkid (talk) 17:04, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

"U.S. official blasts Israel envoy's 'unfortunate' J-Street remarks" [4] — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 20:44, 25 December 2009 (UTC)
"US diplomat with J Street ties slammed for criticizing Oren" [5] "The official said news reports that Jewish leaders are calling the White House to protest the interview "are accurate." Stellarkid (talk) 15:43, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
"State Dept. backs its anti-Semitism envoy" [6] "Special Envoy Rosenthal has the complete support of the department." — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:57, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Reception by Israel

Given that J Street defines itself as "the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement." it is weird to have Israel's relationship to J Street embedded in the long section "public reception" It merits a section of its own. AMuseo —Preceding unsigned comment added by AMuseo (talkcontribs) 00:53, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Criticism section

I have said in the past and still believe that the article on this organization cries out to have a Criticism or controversy section. There is plenty of criticism of J Street that should be documented. In fact, in this article in Israelnationalnews.com, it is written "J Street has been heavily criticized for lobbying against the positions of the Israeli government, opposing sanctions against Iran and receiving funding from pro-Arab and Iranian groups." Furthermore, it seems to be a convention at WP to have a criticism section for various Jewish advocacy groups (and individuals) such as the following, which each have a criticism section:

The following have a Controversy" or "Controversies" section:

These two have a "Reception" section:

I would like to see a reconsideration of the idea of rewriting this article with a "criticism" section instead of rejecting this out-of-hand, as previously. Thanks Stellarkid (talk) 03:30, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Would you also like to include a "praise" section? They both fall under "reception", which this article has in the form of a "public response" section. nableezy - 04:04, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
See WP:STRUCTURE, a section of WP:NPOV, which cautions that separate sections to segregate POVs may cause POV problems. "A more neutral approach can result from folding debates into the narrative, rather than distilling them into separate sections that ignore each other."
Also look at WP:CRIT. While it's only an essay, I think it makes a convincing argument why a "Reception" or "Reception history" section is preferable to a "Criticism" section. (One idea from the essay might be to rename the section "Critical reception".)
In the end, it's simply a matter of presentation. I think it's preferable to integrate the praise with the criticism. I don't think you've made an argument for a separate "Criticism" section except that other articles have it. I think you need to have a better rationale than that. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:42, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Also, can we not fill yet another article with partisan pro vs con soundbites and instead aim for a more measured, meta-level, encyclopedic approach using neutral sources that talk about it's reception. Stellarkid, the very fact that you said "this organization cries out to have a Criticism or controversy section" is why it shouldn't have a criticism section and why you probably shouldn't be working on this article. It will fill up with inane commentary, people won't make any effort to balance anything they add and the article will become the normal pile of crap we are so familiar with (that oddly you are suggesting we use as examples of conventional wisdom). Other than that it's a good idea. Sean.hoyland - talk 09:38, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree with this on "practical" basis. Where available, Criticism sections often gradually grow to occupy much of the article (see e.g. Avigdor Lieberman), an unhealthy situation regardless of the political standing. The only way out at that point is to create a separate article (such as Criticism of The New York Times) which makes its own POV problems (really, there is no separate "Praise of the NY Times"). Mhym (talk) 18:06, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I would just note that the article Israel Lobby also has a criticism section. The editors of this particular article are for "integrating" criticism with praise, which makes for a biased presentation (at the very least an inconsistent presentation) with respect to virtually all of the related articles. There is a lot of criticism out there about this organization as I pointed out. "J Street has been heavily criticized..." Further, to consolidate the points of criticism would help to make sense of actual newsworthy events surrounding J Street, such as the latest where Danny Ayalon refuses to meet with a number of US Senators sponsored by J Street.
This idea to have a criticism section is not my own as shown by the list above, and to suggest that since I brought it up I should not be working on this article is self-serving at best. One person's idea of "inane commentary" is another person's idea of legitimate criticism. I have no objection to a "Praise" section as well, but merging the two does nothing to clarify what is really going on in the press. It serves as and sounds like whitewash to most aware readers. Stellarkid (talk) 20:01, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Is that it? WP:OTHERCRAP? — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 20:10, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
No it isn't "it" if you bothered to read what I wrote. That section refers to an AfD and I am not attempting to delete anything, but to rearrange some things. I am talking about consistency and neutrality and editing for clarity. There is criticism of J Street. That criticism is not merely part of the reception but part of the ongoing notability of J Street. There are RS that claim that there is heavy criticism. The recent events with respect to J Street illustrate that. Your argument "it's simply a matter of presentation. I think it's preferable to integrate the praise with the criticism" is based on what again? Stellarkid (talk) 06:11, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
All the above articles do not have POV problems. If it is acceptable for all of them, why is it suddenly unacceptable for this article? We are not bound by some kind of bureaucratic nicety to call criticism "reception." Stellarkid (talk) 06:17, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
So the essence of your argument is "other crap exists". I cited policy above. Please take a moment to read it. Thank you. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 06:20, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
No, the basis of your argument is that my argument is one that is not even related to the issues I brought up which are, once again, consistency, neutrality and clarity. With respect to consistency, the Manual of Style says "An overriding principle is that style and formatting should be consistent within a Wikipedia article, though not necessarily throughout Wikipedia as a whole." So while consistency throughout WP is not necessarily an overriding principle, it is apparently desirable. With respect to the neutrality argument and structure, WP:NPOV says, "Segregation of text or other content into different regions or subsections, based solely on the apparent POV of the content itself, may result in an unencyclopedic structure, such as a back-and-forth dialogue between proponents and opponents. It may also create an apparent hierarchy of fact: details in the main passage appear "true" and "undisputed", whereas other, segregated material is deemed "controversial", and therefore more likely to be false — an implication that may not be appropriate. A more neutral approach can result from folding debates into the narrative, rather than distilling them into separate sections that ignore each other." Now this may well be true in some cases, but in this particular article the strength of both the positive and the negative critical comments become entirely lost, and nothing at all is "folded into the narrative." What we have here instead is a laundry list of both, which makes for horrible reading as well as zero clarity as to the actual issues of contention or points of virtue. Certainly while this approach may create an unencyclopedic structure, it does not have to, as witnessed by the articles above, which as far as I know are considered acceptable and encyclopedic enough, and offer acceptable guidance as to consistency and logical structure. This is not the same as the WP:OTHERCRAP which you seem so keen to accuse me of. A stable article should "present competing views on controversies logically and fairly, and pointing out all sides without favoring particular viewpoints". However, if yawl are happy enough with this laundry list supposedly "folded into the narrative", fine. I guess one can't do an AfD on the grounds that the article is uninteresting and unreadable. Stellarkid (talk) 05:35, 20 February 2010 (UTC)


seriously if there is no real criticism section on a very highly controversial organization but many sections on others so pseudujudical arguments about WP are kinda crippled. let's say the truth , just about anyone not kadima or israeli left related has something to say , which is not always so good or accepting while some publicly ignore them. now if you have problems with things in general I'd like to hear and see how do they apply on broader things around this issue , namely let's whitewash and apolegise for other organizations. Shiftadot (talk) 18:48, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

This article already has a reception section, it's called "public response" and contains both praise and criticism. It's one of the better sections of this type that I've seen around, not only because of the neutral mixed-response approach because also because it provides context to the criticisms by mixing them with comments and explanations from the organisation, making for a narrative that is less choppy and easier to follow. Ryan Paddy (talk) 18:37, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Funding

The article already contains the information that Soros has been a large source of the funding for J Street. This edit uses very poor sources such as Arutz Sheva to further make that point and introduce blatantly non-neutral phrasing. Could the editors who insist on returning this crap to the article please explain why? nableezy - 18:34, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

The fact that Soros was a secret donor is highlighted by high quality reliable sources - The Jeruslam Post calls out this fact in the headline, no less. Could the editors who insist on edit warring to remove notable, well sourced material from reliable sources in violation of wikipedia policy please explain why? HupHollandHup (talk) 18:50, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
We already say that. Did you not notice that? The article says In 2010 it was revealed that George Soros has been a significant funder shortly after the organization was founded in 2008. I have explained why I removed the other edits. They rely on unreliable sources, such as Arutz Sheva, and use non-neutral language, such as the unsourced line that Ben-Ami "admitted" that he was "misleading" (WP:V requires inline sources for all quotes BTW, in both you and brewcrewer's reverts you reinserted material that did not comply with core Wikipedia policy). nableezy - 18:55, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I've added sources for the material that had none, and replaced Arutz Sheva with a UPI source saying exactly the same thing. I also removed the "non neutral" language regarding contributions to Arabs that was complained of. Hopefully this addresses your concerns. This is a notable controversy that received significant coverage , and we can't simply pretend it never happened.HupHollandHup (talk) 19:20, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
re HHH: at this moment JPost and WaPo are in. What's wrong? -DePiep (talk) 18:57, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
what's wrong is that material form those sources, such as the fact that Soros had been a secret funder, or the amount of funding he has contributed has inexplicably been removed. There has been significant controversy over the recent funding revelations, which has been removed entirel form the article. HupHollandHup (talk) 19:04, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
That's the Washington Times, not the Washington Post. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:02, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
The language in question was filled with WP:Words to avoid. The prose was overheated and hopelessly POV, and it contained irrelevant information (Soros has made contributions to Arabs but not to Israel, Avital is "left wing"). There were also sourcing problems (A7 and FrontPage). — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:00, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
"secret" is a word to avoid? really? The amount of fundign is a fact to avoid? HupHollandHup (talk) 19:04, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
can we request that editors clearly delineate their problems with sourced material instead of deleting en masse with a handwaive at some policy.--brewcrewer (yada, yada) 19:24, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes you can. However as that has already happened I am unsure what you think would happen if you make such a request. What I do know is that users you usually tell others to not edit-war and follow BRD are decidedly not doing that here. nableezy - 19:27, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
the concerns you raised were: (1) Use of Arutz Sheva - I've fixed that. (2)Lack of source for the Ben-Ami quote saying he was "misleading" - I've fixed that. (3) Non -neutral langauge (I assume this means the sentence about Soros contributing to pro_Arab and not pro-Israeli causes) - I removed that. Despite that, Malik reverted my entire edit with the same edit summary he used for his previous revert. This is disruptive, and will likely lead to sanctions. HupHollandHup (talk) 19:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
What a surprise, another editor joins the party, reverting without saying one word here. How lovely. I think my time is better spent filling out a couple of SPIs. Bye. nableezy - 19:29, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
There's some pretty shocking, non-neutral stuff being shoved into this article. Loaded terminology like "revealed", "secret" and "controversial" is unacceptable in Wikipedia's voice. Cast-iron sourcing using this terminology is required before you can even think of using those sorts of words, regardless of whether or not the information is correct. I recommend building a consensus for inclusion on this talk page before attempting to shove it back into the article in its present form. -- Scjessey (talk) 19:33, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
All the words you complain of were used by the reliable sources we use to describe the controversy. Do you have alternative phrasing you would like to suggest? HupHollandHup (talk) 19:35, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
In addition, if you find fault with some of the wording, why don't you just fix it, instead of deleting in entirety?--brewcrewer (yada, yada) 19:38, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that the loaded terms are being used in Wikipedia's voice. Either cease using those terms, or ascribe them to the individual using them. For example, "[Individual] of [Organization] referred to the donations as 'secret'." Do you see where I'm coming from? As to requests to "fix it", I'm only passing through on Recent Changes Patrol, so you may consider my view as a third opinion (which, judging by the squabbling above, is probably needed). -- Scjessey (talk) 19:45, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I see where you are coming from, but the problem is that there are multiple sources using these terms. For example, the donations were referred to as secret by The Jerusalem Post(Soros a secret J Street donor since ’08), the JTA, ("Ben-Ami said J Street's board kept contributions secret as a matter of policy"), and The Jewish press ([7], while Ha'aretz referred to them (and Soros) as 'mystery'.

Then there's the problem of you making a wholesale revert, including the removal of well sourced info from UPI that had none of these loaded terms, and then what appears to be a reluctance on your part to participate in a meaningful discussion intended to improve the article ("I'm only passing through ")., If you just want to offer a third opinion, don't revert. HupHollandHup (talk) 20:09, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I reject your "advice" on how I should or should not edit. There were significant problems with the edit, including an awful lot of WP:BLP-busting, non-neutral comments being presented in Wikipedia's voice. A "wholesale revert" was by far the best solution, coupled with an immediate explanatory comment in this thread. As I recommended previously, with such controversial comments being added to the article about a living person, it would be better to propose some text on this talk page and then seek to build a consensus for it. You can with the non-controversial stuff I removed and build from there. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:18, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Just passing through: I read the prose added (or re-added) by AMuseo here and subsequently removed by Scjessey. That prose is indeed overheated and clearly not neutral in its very word choice. Wikipedia articles should not suggest mystery and nefarious money transactions, and paragraphs such as that citing Cantor have no encyclopedic value: just because some notable person says something about a notable topic doesn't mean it has to be included. The goal is evident: lining up sourced evidence against some entity, and promoting guilt by association and lexicon ("controversial" etc.). The same goes with the hand-delivered letters (oh! by hand! that's suspicious!). No, not everything that can be sourced is worthy of inclusion. Drmies (talk) 02:18, 5 October 2010 (UTC)


Edit warriors: here is possible language that nobody will want to include:

Noted pro-democracy pro-civil-society philanthropist George Soros has contributed seven percent of J Street's first three years' income. Except for reporting some start-up funding, J Street's board and management has kept these contributions secret, as they are entitled to do by law. Soros has no known direct or indirect influence over J Street's activities.

I don't believe that people are edit-warring because some big-time philanthropist gave a little money to an organization with simpatico aims. It is not encyclopedia-worthy knowledge. In newspaper terms, it is dog-bites-man.

In my opinion the editors who want the long paragraph regard that which Soros touches as tainted. To them The Mark of Soros is properly noteworthy. Editors who argue that contributions from Soros are necessarily controversial please ask yourselves: controversial to whom.

I can think of two possibly appropriate places for several paragraphs on Soros' support for J Street. The material might be included in a representative list of organizations that Soros has funded, on the grounds that it contributes to a fuller picture of Soros. It might be placed in some resource other than Wikipedia where support from George Soros is for political reasons a noteworthy and significant event.

I can argue for including a short as-neutral-as-possible version in this article on the grounds that it is in the news and there is indeed an interested sub-population. Interested people can follow the links.

But generally speaking I feel that this article already contains quite too much material about George Soros. Including more than a couple of sentences in this article---even well-sourced and factual sentences---is inherently POV. Their presence endorses the notion that the Mark of Soros is akin to the Mark of the Devil.

M.boli (talk) 02:38, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

(Merged into Funding section, as Hoyland properly requested. M.boli (talk) 02:59, 5 October 2010 (UTC))
  • Thanks, M.boli--but a phrase like "Noted pro-democracy pro-civil-society philanthropist" should not be acceptable to either side. "Noted" is an unnecessary vanity term, and the other two appellations are loaded with POV. Drmies (talk) 03:17, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I could be wrong but I assumed M.boli's point was that it is possible to spin the infomation in the other direction and frame it it a promotional, positive way too i.e. anyone can play POV pushing game and we shouldn't do that. This sums it up "Including more than a couple of sentences in this article---even well-sourced and factual sentences---is inherently POV." Sean.hoyland - talk 03:30, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, you could be wrong--but you aren't. Thanks for setting me straight; I should have read that more carefully the first time around. Good point, thanks again, and sorry M.boli. Drmies (talk) 04:40, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Why is this article protected in the wake of the major Soros scandal? J street kept Soros funding a secret since day one. Now it is revealed Soros has been the principal bankroller of the organization, why is it barely mentioned in the article? Everyone is talking about it: 1, 2, 3, 4. This is the same Soros that said "I am not a Zionist, nor am I a practicing Jew." At least unlock the article so the section can be revised to reflect reality. Wikifan12345 (talk) 05:15, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Everyone ? Reality ? You mean various partisans/commentators are talking about it in opinion pieces, blogs etc that we could add but then we would have to make sure we balance them all with another bunch of partisans etc etc. I assume it's been protected to prevent people edit warring over things like that i.e. the usual reason. Sean.hoyland - talk 05:45, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Funny. You know what I meant Sean. This is a deal-breaker for J street, the article needs to be opened up to reflect the present situation. It is absurd to totally lock the article in the midst of a scandal like this. Wikifan12345 (talk) 06:10, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I know what you mean but look at the way you describe it and the sources you brought, scandal, deal-breaker, not a Zionist/practicing Jew (shock-horror). I've already had to remove someone saying that Hong Kong based supporter wasn't Jewish, apparently an important point according to the editor who made up the no doubt accurate information that the source used to support the statement didn't bother to include. It's puzzling why people want to edit things when they have a transparent conflict of interest. Protecting the article makes sense to me. It allows things to settle down and it gives you time to work on something interesting like the Granfalloon in Bokononism and its role in contemporary theories of propaganda. I'll start you off with a source, here you go. Sean.hoyland - talk 07:59, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
@Wikifan12345: a) It is protected because of edit warring. b) Soros has not been the "principal bankroller" of the organization. c) His "day one" involvement was not a secret. d) As a 501(c)(4) organization adhering to certain restrictions on activities, J Street was not required to tell the public who or what gave it money. I fail to see any scandalous behavior. e) My own opinion as a Wikipedia editor is that your feelings about a particular person's low degree of religious practice do not belong in this encyclopedia article about the Israel advocacy organization J Street. f) Other people may disagree.
So g) the good news is that because of the protection you found and joined the discussion here instead of joining an edit war in progress. M.boli (talk) 06:27, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Boli, yes it was a secret and the reason is pretty obvious. A pro-Israel lobby being funded by a non-Zionist progressive Jew doesn't compete with organizations like AIPAC. This is a huge scandal for J street and mainstream sources are actively covering it. And yet, the article is still locked and the funding section contains 2 weak sentences. It seems the lock was imposed after an editor reverted material that illustrates the current reality. If people are edit-warring they should be punished, an indefinite lock like this is premature at best. Wikifan12345 (talk) 07:09, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I think you are wrong on a few items relevant to this discussion. 1) The protection is not "indefinite," it comes with a pretty short time limit. 2) The 3RR rule is apparently a bright line, protection was not "premature." 3) There are more than two sentences discussing Soros' support for J Street in this article, they are just not all at the place you linked. 4) Soros' "day one" (as you put it) support for J Street was not only public knowledge, you could read it right here in the J Street article!
Now for opinion about the topic at hand, viz: what to write in the J Street article. When a pro-democracy, pro-civil society advocacy group receives 7% of its funds from a pro-democracy, pro-civil society philanthropist, it ain't exactly encyclopedia-worthy knowledge. The same "non-Zionist" sprinkled money all over the world to promote these aims, but he is definitely non-Polish, non-South African, non-Kazakh non-most-places-he-has-helped. And there is no evidence that he has any control over J Street.
I still don't grok the relevance of the style of Soros' religious observance. It is the second time you have mentioned it. Are you proposing to include that in the J Street article?
As near as I can discern, the argument for discussing Soros in the J Street article boils down to two ideas: some people don't like him or think he contaminates everything he touches, and J Street kept much of his contributions a secret from the people who don't like him. So what? Here is an example. I am a Jew. Sometimes, when I am dealing with people who I think might be prejudiced against Jews, I don't mention that I am a Jew. No doubt they would feel betrayed if they ever found out. "But you kept your Jewishness a secret," they would yell. "What a shanda!" I am joking, they would use the word "scandal" instead.
I refer you now to my discussion above, which I won't repeat except for the conclusion. Talking overly much about George Soros in an article which isn't about George Soros injects POV. In this case the POV it injects is that the Mark of Soros somehow taints its object. Perhaps you believe that to be the case. Many people do. You may honestly feel it is a betrayal of the truth to neglect to mention it. And that point of view, in my opinion, is best expressed elsewhere. M.boli (talk) 09:08, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
@Wikifan12345: And Another Thing (TM). Looking it over, it seems to me that you should take heart that things are not as bad (from your point of view) as you thought. The page protection is short (not indefinite) and not arbitrary, there is more about Soros in the article than you noticed. I will continue to read what you and others post, especially since you are trying to get your argument in order and you have a few more days to get a consensus, but I've said my piece and I have other things to work on. M.boli (talk) 09:46, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Am I supposed to read all of that? The reality is a lot of information is now available revealing the Soros-J street relationship. You are right, the article does mention Soros support, it also says J street patently denied receiving contributions. But wait, that would be lying? You see, these are issues major political commentators are taking seriously and yet editors are not. The edit that included current information was dubiously reverted, and then the article was locked 2 hours later. Under-playing the significance of the story and justifying an obscene 4 day lock is not going to solve problems with the articles. Wikifan12345 (talk) 10:09, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
But it has solved problems with the article. People come here to edit war things into the article because they are morally outraged, don't like Soros, feel obliged to stand up for J Street or whatever. They can't do that anymore because it's locked. There's nothing stopping you from proposing content changes. There's no deadline. The situation is developing. Discussions and the consensus process can still proceed in a civilized way while it's locked. Sean.hoyland - talk 10:23, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Clearly the page protection was very timely, and anyone describing it as "obscene" needs to take a step back. Page protection is chiefly used to protect against vandalism, but it is also frequently used to prevent edit warring (as it was in this case). This is a normal Wikipedia mechanism, not "obscene". I'll be watching this article when protection expires to make sure everyone behaves themselves. -- Scjessey (talk) 15:31, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Ben-Ami says here that his answers regarding Soros were misleading. Apparently, while some editors here think that it wasn't a big deal, Ben-Ami thinks it's enough of a big deal to release a statement about it. It was certainly enough of a big deal to get quite a bit of coverage, at least in Jewish circles. This is not because J-street is a "a pro-democracy, pro-civil society advocacy group", but because it "represents Americans, primarily but not exclusively Jewish, who support Israel and its desire for security as the Jewish homeland" [8] and Soros doesn't exactly fit that bill.
The current wording does not " clearly describe, represent, and characterize" this dispute and thus is a violation of NPOV. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 18:24, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Has a non-partisan quality RS written an article about all this yet that clearly describes, represents, and characterizes the dispute ? I haven't seen one largely on account of not looking. That would be useful to get some RS based perspective. Sean.hoyland - talk 18:37, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
There are several articles linked above. Not sure what's you'd consider non-partisan in this context. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 18:59, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I meant not like those, not opinion pieces, not sources that say things like "he ripped the organization a new one once he learned he was the target of a disinformation campaign." (Jeffrey Goldberg), "Yes, as I've written, J Street's leaders were stupid." (James Besser), "an organization as noxious as J Street" (Jennifer Rubin), "The arrogant presumption of hawkish pro-Israel conservatives that there can be only one acceptable pro-Israel position in Washington" (Matthew Duss). I was thinking of something like a straight forward factual report by a journalist in a decent source (New York Times, BBC, JPost) that simply describes what has happened rather than comments on it. Sean.hoyland - talk 01:46, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Here you go: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/29/AR2010092907376.html, the Washington Post, a reliable, non-Partisan source, in a news article from section A, not an op-ed. Can we now stop the whitewash and bring this article into compliance with NPOV? HupHollandHup (talk) 04:52, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
That looks good to me and the 2 existing sources, JPost and Washington Times, used in the article (...forgot about those) look fine too. Page protection to stop edit warring != whitewash. Why don't you propose new content for discussion rather than use slogans ? Slogans won't get it unlocked. Sean.hoyland - talk 05:43, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting that the page protection was whitewashing. The removal of well sourced information about a notable controversy from reliable sources, using ever-hanging pretexts, is white washing, as is the continuing support for those actions on this page. I propose the following be restored to the article, under the "Funding" section:

In 2010, it was revealed that contrary to statements from J street which implied otherwise, George Soros had been a secret donor to J Street since 2008. J Street received a total of $750,000 from Soros and his family in 2008-2010. [39][40] Following the funding revelations, Virginia Republican Representative Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street and said the organization does not reflect the mainstream position of the pro-Israel community in America. [41] It was also revealed that nearly half of J Street's revenue for the 2008-2009 fiscal year came from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, who gave $811,697 after being talked into it by Pittsburgh philanthropist William Benter.[42]

After the revelations, J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized, and said that his statements regarding Soros' relationship with J Street had been “misleading”, but argued that while Soros and Esdicul together provided more than half of the group's funding in 2008, altogether the two are responsible for providing less than 15% of the aid given to J Street since it was first established.[43] HupHollandHup (talk) 14:31, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Some editors have actively promoted a narrative of denial to describe the Soros-J street scandal. I'd say white-wash is a fairly honest characterization when users reject respectable reliable sources with coded language. Wikifan12345 (talk) 08:16, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh really. Honesty. Interesting. Not sure what was honest about an advocate sockpuppet of a topic banned user being involved in editing the article. That seems more like dishonesty. Setting that aside, I'm looking at the same discussions and content versions as you and I can't see what you see. It seems to me that what has happened is that some editors want something in the article and some others disagree. There was disagreement about the neutrality of language, weight and the quality of sources such as INN etc. The normal kind of things. An edit war started and an admin stepped in to lock the article to prevent further disruption. Now the situation requires editors to collaborate and arrive at a consensus. What's the problem ? They could have started blocking people under the discretionary sanctions but they just protected the article to encourage dispute resolution. Sean.hoyland - talk 09:55, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Saying this whole thing is about "some big-time philanthropist gave a little money to an organization with simpatico aims" does seem like an attempted whitewash to me. I have no problem with the page protection though. There was an edit war going on, an admin stepped in and stopped it. That's how things are supposed to work. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 15:02, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Here is a proposed paragraph (citations to be filled in):
Confidential IRS documents released in 2010 showed that J Street had received about $750,000, amounting to 15% of its funding since establishment, from George Soros and his family and from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul.[cite] An imbroglio among American supporters of Israel ensued.[cite] J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for having been "misleading" when earlier answering questions regarding funding from Mr. Soros, but said about the controversy: "Those who attack J Street over the sources of its funding are not good government watchdogs.... In reality, our opponents are on the other side of a broader ideological battle over American and Israeli policy, looking for any excuse to avoid debating the merits of the issues."[external]
Compared to the language proposed by HupHollandHup I think it fixes the following problems:
  • a) It removes misleading loaded expressions "funding revelations" and "secret donor." All donors to all 501(c)(4) organizations are secret by default, only occasionally is there an organization that releases the names. In this case what happened is that the IRS broke confidentiality, apparently by accident.
  • b) It much more accurately represents Ben-Ami's statement, which primarily is not an apology.
  • c) It much less implies that J Street was tainted by taking money from Soros and Esdicul, it more accurately identifies that within certain circles it was controversial.
  • d) It removes the irrelevant and prejudicial commentary from a Congressional blowhard. It is possible that his thoughts belong somewhere in the Public Response section, but you also have to consider balance.
My feeling is that if including Ben-Ami's statement makes this too long, then best to chop the above after "ensued" and not include it at all.
Signed: M.boli (talk) 17:54, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
(I wrote this about an hour ago but didn't save. Some of the points are addressed below) I think the following changes are needed:
  • Not "Confidential IRS documents released in 2010", but "A report in the Washington Times revealed".
  • I believe the $750,000 is only from the Soros family, not Soros+Esdicul.
  • You're completely missing the fact that J-Street said/implied Soros is not a donor, which is what Ben-Ami said he was "misleading" about.
  • Not so sure about "imbroglio". How about "controversy"?
  • If we're including a long quote where Ben-Ami says stuff about his opponents, a quote from one of the opponents should be included. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 19:49, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
The word apology is taken from a reliable , non-Partisan source - the WaPo. Removing it is whitewash. The word "secret" has been used by numerous reliable sources, as documented above, removing them is whitewash, especially since it is exactly this secrecy and denial of the contributions made the controversy what it is. That said, I'm willing to drop the word, so long as it is made clear that the controversy is about J street implying he was not a donor, when he in fact was. The ensuing controversy was not limited to 'supporters of Israel' - that is POV-pushing original research. The minority whip is a notable commentator, and there's no reason to exclude his opinion, properly attributed and sourced. Using you proposal as a basis, here is what I would be supportive of:

Confidential IRS documents released in 2010 showed that contrary to statements from J street which implied otherwise, George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. J Street had received about $750,000 from George Soros and his family. Together with contributions from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, this amounted to 15% of its funding since establishment. A controversy ensued, following which J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for having been "misleading" when earlier answering questions regarding funding from Mr. Soros. Ben Ami also said that "Those who attack J Street over the sources of its funding are not good government watchdogs.... In reality, our opponents are on the other side of a broader ideological battle over American and Israeli policy, looking for any excuse to avoid debating the merits of the issues." Minority Whip and Virginia Republican Representative Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street and said the organization does not reflect the mainstream position of the pro-Israel community in America. HupHollandHup (talk) 18:55, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

What makes Cantor an expert in the opinions of the "pro-Israel community in America" and what makes his opinion notable? He's a Republican politician running for re-election who's trying to score political points. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:22, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Cantor's not necessarily an an expert in the opinions of the "pro-Israel community in America", but as the Republican Whip , his is certainly a notable opinion, a fact evinced by the quote being picked up and featured in a UPI dispatch and numerous other media outlets. Per NMMNG above, if we're including a long quote where Ben-Ami says nasty stuff about his opponents, a quote from one of the opponents should be included. HupHollandHup (talk) 20:44, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Since the object under discussion is nominally text for the article, let's highlight people's proposed text so it stands out. I picked green color, but anything would do. M.boli (talk) 18:45, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

The above version is quite long and contains simple name-calling. Let's throw out the Ben-Ami quote also, on the grounds that it contains an attack on the motives of opponents. However that leaves several problems:

  • a) It carries the perlocutionary force that J Street did something wrong by not making the contributions public. This can be addressed (if not totally fixed) by using Ben-Ami's defense that it is normal procedure for 501(c)(4) organizations, leaving out the attack on motives.
  • b) It still carries the perlocutionary force that J Street did something wrong in taking money from Soros. This hard to fix because merely saying that something controversial happened creates the wrong implication. Situating so-called "controversy" only within American pro-Israel circles is perfectly accurate, and I fail to see that this is original research. If a knitter had been using a special hook that some other knitters disapproved of, you would write about a controversy in the knitting community. There probably wouldn't be a reliable source that said said in so many words "within the knitting community." If I find a suitable RS I will cite it and try to insist on this point. However if I do not, I won't insist on it.
  • c) I still don't see any controversy. Nothing is being debated. There is no clash of ideas. Some people don't like J Street's agenda and George Soros' agenda, and seize every opportunity to say so. Big whoop. I much prefer "imbroglio," but am open to suggestions.

Putting it all together:

Confidential IRS documents released in 2010 showed that contrary to statements from J Street which implied otherwise, George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family together with similar amounts from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[cite] An imbroglio ensued in American pro-Israel circles.[cite] J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for having been "misleading" when earlier answering questions regarding funding from Mr. Soros. Ben Ami also noted that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law, and challenged critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[external]

Signed: M.boli (talk) 14:56, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

re a) - you're missing the point. Those upset at J street over the recent revelation don't think it did something wrong by "not making the contributions public" - they think it did something wrong by lying (or as Ben Ami puts it, "misleading") about its donors when asked directly about them. I am not opposed to putting in J Street's belated PR spin that it's all a matter of 501 (c)(4) rules, so long as we make it clear that they misled the press and public about Soros, and apologized for doing so.
re b) IF you can't find a reliable source that says the controversy is limited to pro_Israeli circles - it is OR to say so. At least one of the sources covering this controversy is the Washington Post, who calls J Streets actions a "wrong turn" - you'd be hard pressed to claim the WaPo is a "pro-Israeli" organization.
re c) There none so blind as those who refuse to see. When major mainstream publications cover a revelation that a prominent organization has been misleading the public about its funding, that's a controversy. When the minority leader of one of the main political parties thin e US call upon the White House to disassociate itself from said organization due to those revelations, and the WH hints it might do so - that's a controversy.
I am not opposed to removing Ban Ami's name calling form the paragraph, but I am opposed to removing Cantor's opinion. Here is what I suggest:

Confidential IRS documents released in 2010 showed that contrary to statements from J Street which implied otherwise, George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family together with donations from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[cite] In response to the ensuing controversy, Minority Whip and Virginia Republican Representative Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street. J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for having been "misleading" when earlier answering questions regarding funding from Mr. Soros. Ben Ami also noted that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law, and challenged critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[external]

HupHollandHup (talk) 15
49, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
No way. Cantor stays out. He's got nothing to do with this except scoring cheap political points.
Also, the IRS documents weren't "released", they were leaked to the Washington Times, probably by... well, BLP won't let me say by whom. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 16:34, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Whether or not Cantor is inor out will be determined by a consensus of editors making good-faith, policy-based arguments, not by someone declaring "no way". If you have policy-based arguments why the views of a notable commentator, whose relevant opinions about a notable controversy related to J Street were picked up and publicized by mainstream media outlets should stay out, let's hear them.
With regards to the IRS documents, if you prefer, we can go back to my original proposal which simply said "In 2010, it was revealed..." HupHollandHup (talk) 16:50, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Cantor is notable; his opinion of J Street is not. And if you can attack other editors, HupHollandHup, I can write "No way". — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 16:55, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
His opinion of J street has been covered in reliable mainstream sources, thus satisfying our notability requirement. I have not attacked anyone, and while you can write whatever you want, simply writing "no way" is not going to give your "argument" any weight. HupHollandHup (talk) 16:59, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
It's campaign season, and we're writing an encyclopedia, not a tabloid. Cantor's opinion is not notable, he has no expertise in the field (except in the area of denouncing the Obama administration). What next, Glenn Beck's opinion? — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 17:02, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
we're writing an encyclopedia, and when an organization notable enough for an article is embroiled in controversy over its funding, and that controversy leads notable people to comment about it - that's worthwhile of mention. You keep asserting that "Cantor's opinion is not notable" - but that is belied by the fact that it was prominently covered by high-profile mainstream media. HupHollandHup (talk) 17:10, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
While an improvement, there still seems to be non-neutral language and inaccuracies in the proposed text. Compare with this version (I have assumed your references cover your statements):

Confidential IRS documents leaked in 2010 showed that George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family, together with donations from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[cite] Congressman Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street. Jeremy Ben-Ami clarified earlier "misleading" statements regarding funding from Soros, noting that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law, and challenging critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[external]

I've cut out some of the superfluous information (wikilinks are better) and mild non-neutral language ("contrary", "ensuing controversy") but kept all the salient points. This is more of a suggested direction than an actual proposed text. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:49, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but no. The entire controversy stems from the fact that J street lied about its donors, not from the fact that it was revealed who they were. This language is taken directly from non-Partisan reliable sources, and eliding it is simply a whitewash. HupHollandHup (talk) 16:56, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree with HHH. You just removed the controversy from the text. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 17:08, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
That hits the nail on the head. It is your description of this as a "controversy" that is the non-neutral part. Besides, it seems apparent from the sources that there wasn't any "lying" so much as a "half-truth". This really is much ado about nothing, and repeated use of terms like "entire controversy" and "it was revealed" indicates that some editors are not approaching this in a neutral manner. Furthermore, while Malik Shabazz's terse language and hint of ownership ("no way") is unwelcome, he makes a valid point about the importance of Eric Cantor's attempt at points-scoring. I think it is clear that a number of editors here need to take a step back and cool off a bit. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:24, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
The paragraph I suggested does not use the word "lie", but describes the controversy in words used by reliable sources - that J street implied on its website and in verbal communications things that turned out to be untrue. J street itself conceded it had been "misleading". If the WaPo can state J Street made a "wrong turn", and write that 'The liberal group's Web site suggested that J Street had received no funding from George Soros...But confidential tax records mistakenly made public by the Internal Revenue Service seemed to undermine those characterizations" - we can do the same here. If the WaPo writes that this caused 'a major public relations problem '- to suggest that this is "much ado about nothing" is simply incorrect. HupHollandHup (talk) 17:33, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
You used the term "lying" in your comment above. WaPo's use of "wrong turn" is just their clever way of referring to J-turns; moreover, it is not in the body of the piece. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:37, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Do you understand thew difference between voicing my opinion on a Talk page, and suggesting text for inclusion in the article? The WaPo quote above clearly says J street suggested on its web site things that were undermined later. HupHollandHup (talk) 17:49, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I "understand" perfectly. It is your use of the word "lying" in your comment that suggests your opinion on the matter. Wikipedia is not the place to right great wrongs. My example text (above) uses the word "misleading", as stated in the sources, and that should be more than sufficient. -- Scjessey (talk) 18:12, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Your suggested text does not explain what the controversy is. See my comment below. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 19:34, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Sanity check - notability

It's also worth pointing out that this so-called "controversy" is getting very little play in the media. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:30, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

this is a joke, right? The second results links to 63 news articles, the 3rd result to 19 more. HupHollandHup (talk) 17:50, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
No. If it were truly notable, I'd expect to see thousands of results. Most hits are opinion pieces, or articles within the narrow confines of the Jewish press. Please assume good faith, BTW. -- Scjessey (talk) 18:09, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Thank you Scjessey, there is nothing like the hand of an experienced editor. Regarding the proposed text:

  • Ben-Ami's press statement did contain an apology, it was fair to use the word. He "deeply and genuinely apologize[d]" and "accept[ed] responsibility personally" for "misleading" answers.
  • I don't quite understand Scjessey's objection to "controversy ensued." It seems to me that something ensued from the leak, I merely have problems with "controversy". Including HHH's language satisfies the observation of HHH and NMMNG that there was, in fact, a noisy reaction to the news.
  • Trimming Cantor's statement down to just his call upon the White House is a good compromise.

Putting it all together, moving the "clarify" verb to make room for "apologize," and with a minor change to break up a run-on sentence, we get the following. I have highlighted the changes from Scjessy's version in another color.

Confidential IRS documents leaked in 2010 showed that George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family, together with donations from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[cite] In response to the ensuing controversy, Congressman Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street.[cite] Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for earlier "misleading" statements regarding funding from Soros. Clarifying that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law, he challenged critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[cite]

My non-editorial opinions regarding other comments above, not reflected in my proposed text:

  • People raised a stink about Esdicul's contributions also, but J Street had not "lied" about that because nobody thought to ask. The "issue" is that some people do not like J Street and don't like certain donors. (If I ask whether you are stealing, and you say "no," the issue remains stealing---not lying.)
  • Although I don't like the word "controversy" I wouldn't write what I really feel: "a hullabaloo ensued within a small community of perennially faux-offended Israel supporters." The word "faux" would be unfair to some of them. Besides, where would I find a reliable source as to degree of faux-ness? (I am being facetious here!)
  • I still think that if Cantor did not exist Ha-shem would have no need to create him---but that is another story.
  • And I agree that this is a tempest in a teapot.

But for Wikipedia purposes please pass over the non-editorial comments (somebody wrote earlier am I supposed to read all of that?, an unintentionally funny remark in the context of a discussion) and concentrate on the text.

Signed: M.boli (talk) 18:48, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Don't you think explaining what the controversy actually is would be in order? That at launch Soros said he won't participate since that might hurt the organization, that Ben Ami, when asked, said/implied that Soros didn't fund the organization and that it turns out he did? I would remind other editors that this controversy and its specifics meet WP:V and WP:N, and should be included per WP:NPOV.
As for your non-editorial opinions, this is WP:NOTAFORUM. Please stop wasting our time with irrelevant stuff. That you complained that someone asked if they are supposed to read all the stuff you write right after you post a large chunk of irrelevant personal opinions is, well, unintentionally funny? No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 19:33, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
@No More Mr Nice Guy: I think the last proposed text---see multi-colored paragraph above---fairly explains "what the controversy actually is," with the right size and balance for an encyclopedia paragraph. Regarding your specific note, it says that when Soros' involvement became known, his involvement was controversial. It says that Ben-Ami apologized for having misled people about Soros' funding. It links to contemporaneous news articles that describe the incident in more depth.
I put "controversy" and "apology" back in the proposed text in response to your last objection, I point out. Editors have been working in reasonable comity these past few days to produce that text, regardless of some pretty strong feelings on all sides.
That postscript was my first writing that was not wholly dedicated to figuring out the article (the material the "am I supposed to read all that" guy skipped over was quite on-point) and I did mark it as such. It was responses to miscellaneous issues people raised earlier. But you are right, I'll stay off the soapbox.
Signed (happy to be a nice guy): M.boli (talk) 21:07, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the multicolored paragraph still does not explain what the controversy that ensued is about, or what exactly Ben-Ami said which was "misleading". The points that are missing are that initially Soros was involved but pulled out and that Ben-Ami said/implied that Soros was not giving them money, which turned out to be incorrect. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 21:31, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Suggested revision n+1 below. I included a sentence that I think directly addresses HHH and NMMNG's problem. As before, most recent changes in magenta.

  • A Google search turns up quite a few comments from both the broader Jewish community (not just the hard line pro-Israel crowd) and the American right-wing. (It has been a while since I had done the Google search, I confess, so thanks to both Scjessy and NMMNG for prompting me to do that exercise.)
  • A Washington Post article by Dan Eggen described the brouhaha by noting both that J Street has misled people and that Soros "serves as a bete noire for many conservatives." I think it makes sense to include this. Without this explanation, the whole tempest in a teapot makes no sense whatsoever.
  • I am inserting the references, and putting the Reflist template below my signature. I hope the other editors will check them.
  • Maybe some experienced Wikipedia editor can help making the text more Wikipedia-like?

Confidential IRS documents leaked in 2010 showed that George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family, together with donations from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[1] In previous statements and on its web site J Street had seemed to deny receiving support from foreign interests and from Soros, a conservative bete noire.[2][3] Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for earlier "misleading" statements regarding funding from Soros. Ben-Ami also clarified that that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law and challenged critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[4] In response to the ensuing controversy, Congressman Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street.[5]

Signed: M.boli (talk) 12:20, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ Lake, Eli (Sept 24., 2010). "Soros revealed as funder of liberal Jewish-American lobby". The Washington Times. Retrieved 11 Oct 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Eggen, Dan (Sept. 29, 2010). "On George Soros, J Street acknowledges a wrong turn". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 October 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Kampeas, Ron (Sept. 28, 2010). "Insiders: Why was J Street so scared of Soros?". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 11 October 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "Explanation of George Soros & J Street Funding" (Press release). J Street. Sept. 26, 2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help);
  5. ^ Lake, Eli (Sept. 27, 2010). "Jewish group falls from favor at White House". Washington Times. Retrieved 11 Oct. 2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)

I just moved the Cantor Quote to the end, for reasons of textual coherence. M.boli (talk) 12:35, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

That looks much better. The system works! No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 12:44, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
It is much better, but I still have some concerns. "Ensuing controversy" falls foul of WP:LABEL unless it can be demonstrated that "controversy" is the word chosen by a preponderance of mainstream reliable sources; moreover, I am not convinced Cantor's comments were a "response" in the first place (and the cited source does not verify this statement either). If Cantor's view is necessary (and it arguably isn't), a more neutral approach would be something like this:
"Following what he called "this revelation", Congressman Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street."
Although the loaded term "controversy" is removed, it's replacement ("revelation") is properly attributed within the cited reference. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:22, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Click! I now understand your previous post on this issue. And if the Cantor Quote has to be included, your formulation is much better for the reasons you state. What do other editors think? M.boli (talk) 14:07, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. Sorry if I am not making myself clear. If you need clarification on any of my comment, don't hesitate to ask. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:12, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I have no problem with Scjessy's suggestion. Alternatively, I wouldn't mind changing it to a quote about what this means for J-Street (rather than what someone thinks someone else should do) by some other notable figure. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 16:06, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Do you have a quote by a notable (and relevant) person stating "what this means for J-Street" then? -- Scjessey (talk) 16:17, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't have anything specific in mind. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 16:58, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Please only suggest something if you have a reference for it. -- Scjessey (talk) 18:28, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Why? The two of us are not the only people reading this. Maybe someone saw another quote which they think would fit? I don't see how saying I'm open to other options is a problem. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 18:44, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
The problem here is that you said that you'd like to see "a quote about what this means for J-Street", but by not bringing such a quote to the table yourself you implied that you personally think the funding issue "means" something. The goal here is that contributions to this discussion should be as substantive and dispassionate as possible, with individual biases checked at the door. There is a danger that editors construct a narrative based upon their own biases and then seek to find citations to support that narrative, rather than letting the narrative emerge organically from the mainstream coverage available. -- Scjessey (talk) 19:09, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
With respect, that's nonsense. I said I'd prefer a quote that relates to what impact this event might have on the organization rather than the current one which is someone's opinion on what someone else should do. That's not constructing a narrative by any stretch of the imagination. Anyway, either there is such a quote or there isn't. If it exists and meets wikipedia policy, does it really matter if someone put it in the article because they saw it and thought it was appropriate or because I asked on a talk page and it reminded them they saw it somewhere? Editors have POVs. That's normal. You said that you thought that "This really is much ado about nothing" above. That's your POV. So what? As long as the article is NPOV, that's all that matters. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 20:17, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Firstly, it isn't "nonsense". Please tone down your rhetoric. Secondly, "this really is much ado about nothing" was my take on the magnitude of the issue based on a Google News search I performed and linked to in the discussion, not my POV. I have no horse in this race. I only came to this article because I spotted edit warring while patrolling recent changes. Please heed my call for dispassionate editing. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:27, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

We could potentially use a quote from the same WaPo article - ' Rabbi Steve Gutow, a president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, called J Street "irresponsible" for its handling of the issue. He said "It will be somewhat damaging" to J Street's credibility". ' Another issue I have with the current proposal is that it says the IRS documents were "leaked". There's no source for that, and the WaPo article says they were "released by mistake", and subsequently "discovered" by the Wash. Times. HupHollandHup (talk) 19:20, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

If he thinks "it will be somewhat damaging", why bother quoting it at all? It doesn't seem like a particularly notable or substantive comment. The IRS described the leak as an "errant disclosure" (source), so perhaps that would be the best way to describe it. -- Scjessey (talk) 19:29, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I didn't say we should quote him - I'm happy to leave Cantor's response. But if you are looking for a quote, that one may be ok. Alternatively, we might use the source you provided above (Politico), to quote Ben Smith saying 'The liberal Jewish group J Street took a very serious hit last week over the emergence of documents revealing that -- contrary to what many reporters took to be its statements flatly to the contrary -- it had depended heavily on the Soros family and on an obscure woman in China to fund its operations for a time.' You will note this source, which you cite approvingly, uses terminology very similar to the one I suggested originally - "contrary to what many reporters took to be its statements flatly to the contrary", "documents revealing". As a side note, that source does not say the IRS described the leak as an "errant disclosure" , it quotes a J street spin-master saying that. Elsewhere in the same source, the person who actually made the discovery is quoted saying he found them on J street's own the Foundation Center's web site. Either way, I am ok with describing them as "mistakenly released", "errant disclosure" or some similar terminology - but not as "leaked", unless there a good source for that. HupHollandHup (talk) 20:07, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
(after ec) - I misread the source with respect to "errant disclosure". The article itself is an opinion piece, which isn't suitable for anything other than referring to the opinion of its author. Please don't claim I cited it "approvingly" - I am not sure how a set of parentheses constitutes approval. All the sources I have viewed thus far have referred to how the Washington Times "obtained" the documents, which doesn't really explain how the documents came to be illegally disseminated. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:22, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
now I'm a little confused. Above you suggested (based on a misreading, as it turns out) that we use a certain source to described the documents' discovery as an "errant disclosure", going as far as saying that "that would be the best way to describe it" (this is what I mean by citing it "approvingly"). Now that I accept your suggestion, and suggest we use other material from that source it suddenly "isn't suitable for anything other than referring to the opinion of its author."? I am trying really really hard to assume there's something here beyond the fact that the material you wanted from that source is unfavorable to the IRS, and thus casts J street in a good light, while the material I suggest , from the same source is not as favorable to J street , but to be honest, I don't see what that could be. This is especially so given that part of what I want from that source is exactly what you said is fine - the opinion of its author. HupHollandHup (talk) 20:46, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't see how it could be confusing. When I first saw the source, I read it as "IRS representative called it an 'errant disclosure'", which is clearly incorrect. I thought the opinion piece had stated an unequivocal fact. There are rules governing news organs with respect to the stating of facts, so they are (usually) safe to use as sources. But for the opinion part of the article, it is only useful for quoting the opinion itself. Wikipedia's rules for reliable sources are quite nuanced, but if you are in need of assistance on this particular issue I urge you to open up a thread at WP:RSN. With respect to quoting the author, you need to be careful. Is the author sufficiently notable in his/her own right in this topic for his/her opinion to be useful? I offer no opinion of my own on this. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:10, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

M.Boli here again:

  • Let me suggest: "Confidential documents obtained from the IRS in 2010...." I agree that "leaked" does not match the news articles, and "errant disclosure" came from a J Street spokesperson, not the IRS.
  • People are searching for quote to characterize the reaction to the disclosure. After google-searching, I (reluctantly) decided it is a plausible view. This I think is the basis of NMMNG's interest in changing the quote. But I also think that the paragraph works just fine without it. That J Street misrepresented the information and later apologized (which of course means that it needed to apologize) arguably pretty well sums it up.
  • Likely not needed at this point, but here is the paragraph again with the "leak" repaired, Scjessey's rewritten Cantor Quote sentence (marked optional), and one blooper fixed:

Confidential documents obtained from the IRS in 2010 showed that George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family, together with donations from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[1] In previous statements and on its web site J Street had seemed to deny receiving support from foreign interests and from Soros, a conservative bete noire.[2][3] Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for earlier "misleading" statements regarding funding from Soros. Ben-Ami also clarified that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law and challenged critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[4] Optional: Following what he called "this revelation", Congressman Eric Cantor called upon the White House to disassociate itself from J Street.[5]

Signed: M.boli (talk) 20:46, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

this works for me - with either the Cantor reaction, or one of the quotes I suggested above (Ben Smith's or Rabbi Gutow's) HupHollandHup (talk) 20:51, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I would adjust it to specifically state "confidential documents obtained from the IRS by The Washington Times in 2010..." because in the absence of a "how", at least the "who" sheds some light on the matter. I have no opinion on the choice of quote. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:15, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I would change "a conservative bete noire" to "a bête noire to conservatives". Also, I still don't see the relevance of Cantor's quote. He and his fellow conservatives have been calling on the White House to dissociate themselves from J Street from Day 1. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 21:16, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
The relevance of Cantor's quote is that it was picked up and publicized, in this context, by numerous mainstream media outlets. But if you prefer, we can instead included Ben Smith's quote, saying "J Street took a very serious hit" over the documents. I am fine with you version of the bête noire phrasing. The other change I would make is that since we don't know how the WT got the documents (and hence, can't state as fact that the got them from the IRS), instead of "confidential documents obtained from the IRS by The Washington Times in 2010..." we should write "confidential IRS documents obtained by The Washington Times in 2010..." HupHollandHup (talk) 21:23, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree with HHH on the tax form issue. No real opinion on the Cantor quote, except to say that this matter is a tiny blip on the radar (given the lack of sources), so within that context a quote from Cantor has a significant footprint. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:29, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

All good suggestions to tighten up the language and make it more accurate. (Soros shouldn't be confused with a "conservative." My bad.) Here it is with the Gutlow quote option, which seems more germane in that it directly addresses the issue at hand:

Confidential IRS documents obtained by The Washington Times in 2010 showed that George Soros had been a donor to J Street since 2008. The approximately $750,000 from Soros and his family, together with donations from Hong Kong-based businesswoman Ms. Consolacion Esdicul, amounted to about 15% of J Street's funding since establishment.[6] In previous statements and on its web site J Street had seemed to deny receiving support from foreign interests and from Soros, a bête noire to conservatives.[7][8] Jeremy Ben-Ami apologized for earlier "misleading" statements regarding funding from Soros. Ben-Ami also clarified that donors to 501(c)(4) organizations are promised confidentiality by law and challenged critics to make public the contributors to opposing organizations.[9] Improved optional quote: Rabbi Steve Gutow, a president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, called J Street "irresponsible" for its handling of the issue.[7]

Signed: M.boli (talk) 21:38, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Minor change to first sentence per suggestion. M.boli (talk) 21:41, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

looks good to me.HupHollandHup (talk) 22:09, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Me too. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 22:23, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

OK, I edited the paragraph into the article. It looks cute with all those pretty colors. :-) I wonder whether somebody should modify the sentence or two in the Management section that refers to this issue. But in any case, I merged the duplicated ref from that section.

This has been a trip, and I have learned a thing or two. Tip of the hat to everybody. (And I will monitor this thread in case there is further discussion, of course.) M.boli (talk) 22:31, 11 October 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by M.boli (talkcontribs) 22:29, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Since you guys seemed to have worked this out, I'm de-watchlisting the page now. Well done, everyone. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:10, 13 October 2010 (UTC)