The US is interfering in Israel’s elections despite Obama’s ostensible “reluctance”

Supporters of the US funded V15 anti-Netanyahu campaign. Their T-shirt logo reads “Simply change”

One of the prime reasons given by President Barack Obama for his objection to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress about the dangers of a deal with Iran and his further refusal to meet with Netanyahu is that he doesn’t want to be seen as supporting one side of the Israeli political spectrum – the right, or the Likud – during Israel’s election season.

One could even agree with Obama were it not for the fact that it is becoming blatantly obvious that the US is interfering with Israel’s elections through several not-so-covert proxies.

Jeremy Bird, former Obama field director for 2012 campaign

To start with, it was reported already a couple of weeks ago that Obama’s former national field director for the 2012 campaign, Jeremy Bird, is here in Israel assisting the Zionist Camp, aka the Labour Party and Hatenuah, with its campaign. Mirabelle at Israellycool has more:

According to the Independent Media Review Analysis, Haaretz reported today in its Hebrew edition that Jeremy Bird, National Field Director for Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, former Deputy National Director of Organizing for America, and South Carolina Primary Field Director and Ohio General Election Director for Obama’s 2008 campaign, will now be running an anti-Netanyahu campaign out of Tel Aviv. According to the report, the funding for Bird’s position appears to be coming primarily from outside of Israel. Front Page Magazine adds that Bird is taking a break from the Hillary Clinton campaign in order to spend this time in Tel Aviv.

A couple of days later Mirabelle reported on the discovery that Bird’s campaign is funded by no lesser an entity than… the US State Department!

The Washington Free Beacon is now reporting that OneVoice, a group that partners with Bird’s V15 in Israel, has received grants from the US State Department.

OneVoice said in a press release on Tuesday that it is teaming up with V15 because Israel “need[s] a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”

OneVoice International received two grants from the U.S. State Department over the past year, and lists the agency as a “partner” on its website. [OneVoice development and grants officer Christina] Taler said the group is not using this money for its Israeli election-related efforts.

Obama and his supporters are basically launching a two-pronged attack on the Israeli Prime Minister: they are attacking him in the US using well-worn antisemitic stereotypes and smears like those made earlier this week by Congressman John Yarmuth, and they are attacking him in Israel by sending US tax dollars to a group that is actively working to unseat him. Meanwhile, they whine that a fully transparent speaking engagement is a breach of protocol, and complain that it is Netanyahu who is interfering in US domestic politics.

Today the indefatigable Mirabelle has uncovered yet more shocking news about further US involvement in the anti-Netanyahu campaign.

 Alana Goodman at the Washington Free Beacon has now revealed evidence that American funded efforts to influence the outcome of the Israeli election are even more widespread than originally known:

A coalition of US-funded progressive groups has planned a massive get-out-the-vote effort to influence the Israeli elections, targeting communities that are most likely to vote against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-leaning Likud Party, according to a confidential strategy memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The US-based 501(c)(3) group Ameinu sent out the fundraising proposal for the campaign to American donors on Dec. 17, 2014.

The $3 million initiative is described in the document as “a massive, non-partisan Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign targeting selected demographic and geographic segments of Israeli society.”

The targeted groups listed in the memo—young secular Israelis, low-income secular Jews, and Arab Israelis—are communities that traditionally oppose right-leaning parties such as Likud.

As I wrote earlier, the notion that such widespread efforts are being undertaken without President Obama’s knowledge and blessing is just not plausible.

Ameinu’s proposal even includes a provision for driving people to voting booths:

Plan and conduct an operational plan for elections day logistics “Leave No Voter Behind” including: 1. Transportation to voting centers 2. Information Center 3. Data transmission 4. Activating Influencers

Israel Hayom has also been documenting the foreign-backed campaign to unseat Netanyahu:

With a massive scope of activities, the funding for these campaigns is also substantial. These are not a group of amateur left-wing activists with a Facebook page and some viral videos. These groups are running organized headquarters with dozens of paid staff, hundreds of volunteers and an estimated bankroll of tens of millions of shekels.

One of these groups is named V15 — Victory 2015. Over the weekend, the Likud Party filed a petition with the Central Elections Committee seeking an injunction against this group. V15 began making headlines last week when it emerged that it hired the same campaign advisers as U.S. President Barack Obama. But V15 is certainly not alone — there are a large number of non-profits and organizations with a similar objective – to end Netanyahu’s leadership — working alongside them.

Another organization currently active online, though far more modestly than V15, is the “Bibi Enough” or “Oust 2015” group, which is also waging a negative campaign against Netanyahu (using his nickname, Bibi). The group’s campaign is focused only on the economic and social issues and aims mainly to convince Likud voters not to support the party that Netanyahu heads.

Another group working to end Netanyahu’s leadership is the Molad — the Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy — which launched a massive campaign titled “Project 61” — a reference to the 61 Knesset seats required for a coalition.

Deputy Environmental Protection Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said that Zionist Camp leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni “are waging a personal campaign of incitement against Netanyahu, at the risk of hurting Israel’s national interests.”

Habayit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked argued that “additional radical left-wing organizations are funding V15, with the help of American money.”

Besides the State Department funding of OneVoice, a further Yisrael Hayom investigative article proves the connection between these organizations and Israel’s left wing parties:

MKs Amir Peretz and Hilik Bar, along with former MK Yoel Hasson, headed a parliamentary lobby in the Knesset established by the “Kol Ehad” (OneVoice) organization. All three are currently candidates to join the next Knesset as members of Labor and Hatnuah parties’ joint Zionist Camp ticket.

Zionist Camp officials assert that there is no link between their Knesset list and the “V15 — Victory 2015” campaign, of which OneVoice is the chief financer, despite the fact that the camp and the V15 campaign share the objective of unseating the current leadership. However, Israel Hayom has discovered that OneVoice has a parliamentary lobby, established several years ago in the Knesset, which was created and headed by Hasson, and subsequently headed by Peretz and Bar.

The issues surrounding the establishment of OneVoice have begun to become clear, raising difficult questions that will possibly require an investigation. Two possible avenues have emerged from this affair, showing a sophisticated system of election propaganda for the Leftist bloc, in a manner that allegedly intended to bypass the country’s Parties Financing Law (which prohibits parties from receiving campaign donations from foreign sources). It could very well be that the judicial system will have to determine its legality.

Another interesting fact discovered by Israel Hayom pertains to OneVoice’s 2014 global activity report. One name appears on every page (except for the page containing the names of the members of the various boards) — Labor Chairman and Zionist Camp co-leader Isaac Herzog. And the name of one other senior Israeli figure appears: Yuval Diskin. Page 15 of the report details how a OneVoice delegation met with Herzog and Diskin.

The report detailing the organization’s activities also features a photograph of one female Israeli politician. That photo is of Hatnuah Chairwoman and Zionist Camp co-leader Tzipi Livni (Page 22). On Page 13, a photograph of another Israeli politician appears, Avishai Braverman, who served as a Labor MK in the previous Knesset — although he is not mentioned by name.

Is it all mere coincidence? Herzog, Livni and Diskin, all in the same report that outlines OneVoice’s 2014 activities?

Moreover OneVoice is connected to many of Israel’s extreme-left (anti-Israel even) NGOs:

On OneVoice’s Israeli board is Oriella Ben Zvi, wife of former Labor MK Daniel Ben Simon, himself a former Haaretz journalist. Ben Zvi founded public relations firm Ben-Or Communications with Jeremy Ben Ami, who later went to create J Street, an advocacy organization that describes itself as “pro-Israel and pro-peace,” and sees itself as a counterweight to the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby.

Also on the board is former Knesset member and now the Zionist Camp’s No. 16, Yoel Hasson. A former Likud member, Hasson switched to Kadima and then later to Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah. According to reports in recent months, J Street transferred thousands of dollars to Ben-Or Communications for “services rendered to the lobby.”

Among Ben-Or’s client list: the New Israel Fund, Betselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, the Peres Peace Center, and Amnesty International. According to various reports, Ben-Or worked for free for any campaigns involving boycotting Israeli products.

The sources of V15’s funding remain mysterious.

Perhaps not so mysterious. The US billionaire funding V15 is one Daniel Abraham – but he denies funding a campaign promoting Isaac Herzog:

S. Daniel Abraham denied that he funded the Zionist Camp party directly. He said he had a strong interest in Israel’s well-being. “I am helping Israel obtain the best prime minister that Israel can have,” said Abraham during an interview with Channel 2 on Friday.

The Jewish-American businessman was vocal about his support for the V15 group — a grassroots outreach organization seeking “change in the government” — and declared his vision for the Jewish state.

“I don’t know [how much money I donated to V15], but I give them my heart, I give my heart to Israel [and] the Jewish people,” said Abraham. “I support the Jewish people with everything I have, because I want Israel to remain a Jewish, democratic, proud and independent and not half-Jewish and half-Arab.

Obama shows his contempt for Israel during this phone call to Netanyahu

It is gratifying to note that these reports have outraged Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Lee Zeldin who ask “Has Obama launched a political campaign against Netanyahu?”:

We write to express strong concerns over the recent media reports that a U.S. taxpayer funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called OneVoice is actively working with a campaign operation called V15 or ‘Victory 2015’ in an effort to influence the outcome of the elections in Israel on March 17, 2015,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry last week.

In an article featured on the news website Breitbart on Friday, Cruz, a potential presidential candidate and one of Obama’s most avid critics, wrote: “Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and his allies?”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet — weapons that our most senior and highly respected statesmen believe will be aimed squarely at Israel. This is the real problem, not Netanyahu’s next election. …” Cruz wrote. “The Obama White House should focus its grievances on the very real enemies we face, and not on our staunch allies.”

Cruz and Zeldin stressed that they were gravely concerned by the fact that OneVoice was ostensibly using government funding to advance political ends. They quoted two American sources as confirming that the organization received at least “two parallel U.S. government grants.”

Adding insult to injury, belying the Administration’s self-righteous claim to be unwilling ot interfere in Israel’s elections, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry met in Munich (of all places) with Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog:

Is the Obama administration tampering with Israel’s electoral process? Top U.S. officials met on Saturday in Munich with opposition leader and Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog, a candidate in the upcoming election.

U.S. President Barack Obama and senior White House staff repeatedly have claimed the upcoming Israeli national elections were too close to allow American administration officials to meet with Israeli candidates, including the prime minister.

Just a matter of policy, after all.

So how does that fit with a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Isaac Herzog? Of course, the meeting was not “formally” scheduled and there were no photo ops.

Following the talks in Munich, Herzog told Israel’s Channel 10 news that Netanyahu “won’t get to meet with a single American official on this visit – not from the National Security Agency, not from the White House, not from the State Department. It’s a complete boycott. Even if that’s not stated, that’s the story.”

And what a story it is. A complete endorsement of Labor party candidate Isaac Herzog, for whom the White House is clearly campaigning, along with the European Union.

One might be tempted to think that U.S. President Barack Obama is fiddling with Israeli politics. Tampering, even, with help from the European Union.

But isn’t that illegal?

To paraphrase Animal Farm, some things are more illegal than others, depending upon which side of the political spectrum we are dealing with.

And just to add the icing to the cake, (h/t Legal Insurrection) the White House is actively agitating amongst members of Congress to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.

Two prominent black Democrats in the House of Representatives are vowing to skip Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next month, a move that a White House insider says was put in motion by the Obama administration.

John Lewis of Georgia and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina both said Friday that they disapproved when House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli leader to address a joint session of Congress on March 3 without consulting President Barack Obama first.

That disapproval apparently was orchestrated, or at least strongly encouraged, by the White House through communications with lawmakers connected to the Congressional Black Caucus.
‘I’m not saying the president called anyone personally,’ a current White House staffer told Daily Mail Online.

‘But yeah, the White House sent a message to some at the CBC that they should suddenly be very upset about the speech.’

It has been mentioned many times that the US mogul Sheldon Adelson funds a great deal of Netanyahu’s campaign. The huge difference that must be born in mind is that Adelson is a private individual, and no one could possible claim that Netanyahu’s, or the right wing camp’s, election campaign is funded by foreign governments. The same denial cannot be said about they hypocritical Israeli left wing and their foreign funders.

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10 Responses to The US is interfering in Israel’s elections despite Obama’s ostensible “reluctance”

  1. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  2. Debby says:

    This has been in news for some time now but our mainstream media is ignoring it.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Debby, it’s also been around the conservative Israeli press for a while, e.g. Yisrael Hayom, Israel National News, but not so much on Ynet or Haaretz, the more liberal newspapers. For the same reasons I would guess.

  3. Reality says:

    The left are as disgustingly behaved as Obama &co.And all the time they push for legal action against Netanyahus bottlegate irregularities.But I forgot,the pure holy left (non/anti)Zionist camp can do NO wrong. Why are there no investigations of all those mentioned above taking place?

  4. DavidinPT says:

    The best thing that can be done is to keep plugging away about this on blogs and social media, as the mainstream press is colluding with the USA and European administrations’ efforts to topple Netanyahu. The Israeli public is no fool, and, as in the past, will vote DAVKA for whoever Obama & co want out. It happened in previous elections and will happen this time too. All we need to do is to keep giving these facts plenty of daylight.

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree about the Israeli vote.

      I actually think this EU funding has upset quite a few European countries who are at best cold, and at worst hostile to the European Union as a governing entity. This news might well work in our favour.

  5. Pingback: A dirty, nasty election campaign | Anne's Opinions

  6. Pingback: US State Department’s perfidy undermining Israeli sovereignty | Anne's Opinions

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