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Mr. Ben Ami said in an interview Thursday that his group had no qualms about getting money from Mr. Soros.

“I am very, very proud that our movement and what we are trying to do is aligned with the values and principles of George Soros, and we are proud to have his support,” he said.

Mr. Ben Ami said Mr. Soros “made the public decision not to support us once we launched. Once we got started, he provided us with some money.”

Those comments Thursday contrasted sharply with statements posted on the J Street website concerning the group’s receipt of funding from Mr. Soros.

In a section of the website called “myths and facts,” the group includes a section that reads: “George 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.”

After Mr. Ben Ami spoke with The Times, the website was abruptly amended Thursday night with a new entry on the “Myths and Facts” section to address The Times‘ article.

Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Mr. Soros, said the billionaire “has made no secret of his support for” J Street and that Mr. Soros plays no operational role in the organization.

The J Street website says Mr. Ben Ami “has stated many times that he would in fact be very pleased to have funding from Mr. Soros and the offer remains open to him to be a funder should he wish to support the effort.”

When asked about Ms. Esdicul, the Hong Kong-based donor, Mr. Ben Ami said she gave J Street the money in multiple wire transfers at the urging of William Benter, a Pittsburgh-based philanthropist and the chief executive officer of Acusis, a medical-services firm.

“She is trying to make the Middle East a Happy Valley,” Mr. Ben Ami said. “She is a business associate of Bill Benter, and Bill solicited her for the contribution.” Happy Valley is a Hong Kong suburb.

Mr. Obama and the White House have expressed concerns about untraced foreign influence on the U.S. political system through donations to tax-exempt “501(c)(4)” nonprofit organizations in recent months.

J Street is a 501(c)(4) organization that is allowed to remain tax-exempt as long its political activities are not the primary purpose of the group. J Street also has established a political action committee, or PAC, the standard way for interest groups, corporations and labor unions to contribute directly to political candidates and parties.

Mr. Ben Ami said he agreed with Mr. Obama “about the need for overall reform of the influence of money in our system. But 501(c)(4)s are allowed to accept money from foreign nationals.”

For now, J Street may come under scrutiny in the Jewish community for its connections to Mr. Soros, whose sharp criticisms of certain Israeli policies and of U.S. foreign policy under Mr. Bush have led even some groups and candidates he supports to distance themselves from his activities.

When Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, was running for president in 2008, his campaign was quick to disown some of Mr. Soros‘ suggestions that the Democratic Party “liberate” itself from the influence of the pro-Israel lobby.

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