By Bob Bennett
In the run-up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s powerful speech before Congress, the Obama Administration complained bitterly that Netanyahu’s staff had violated protocol by accepting Speaker Boehner’s invitation before notifying the White House. Yet both the Washington Post and the New York Times have admitted that this was untrue, and issued near-identical corrections. Here’s the one from the Times:
“Correction: January 30, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.
The Huffington Post paraphrased another oft-expressed complaint:
“Obama…says it is inappropriate for him to meet with Netanyahu so close to Israel’s March 17 election because it would look like the U.S. leader is injecting himself in a foreign ally’s politics.”
This is indeed ironic, because Obama associates are in fact working hard—inside Israel—to defeat Netanyahu, through V15, an Israel-based group dedicated to defeating Netanyahu’s Likud party in the election. NYT:
“Jeremy Bird, the architect of the grass-roots and online organizing efforts that powered President Obama’s presidential campaigns from Chicago, is advising a similar operation in Tel Aviv. But this time it is focused on ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.” Bird is a founding partner of the political consulting firm 270 Strategies.
The Times says V15 and its partners had asked him and his firm “to share best practices in organizing so they can maximize their impact both online and on the ground,” and says Mr. Bird stated through a spokeswoman:
“We’re witnessing something special happening in Israel right now: There’s a groundswell of organic energy as more than 10,000 supporters are coming together to have a voice in their country….V15’s “efforts are already paying off as they have reached out to more than 200,000 targeted voters, both in person and on the phone, about the need for change in Israel.”
What he didn’t say was those “targeted voters” are Israeli Arabs.
The ever-expanding gasbag of team-Obama mendacity is punctured by the rapier pen of investigative reporter Aaron Klein, who wrote on February 6th, (reprinted in the Jewish Press February 13th), that “a State Department-financed nonprofit based in Israel is currently engaged in a major effort to get young Arab voters to the voting booths in the upcoming Israeli elections.”
Klein interviewed Amnon Beeri-Sulitzeanu, co-executive director of the Abraham Fund, who claimed that “his group’s voter participation activities are entirely nonpartisan and that his organization does not endorse any political party. “
But, on January 21st, “Abraham Fund Initiatives” issued a press release stating that the Fund:
“…has launched a broad-based action plan to encourage Arab citizens of Israel to participate in the upcoming Knesset elections.”
The Fund “[is] running conferences for Arab students in colleges and launching a media and advertising campaign to persuade the Arab public to participate in the democratic process and vote in the elections….”
Though the release claims “the Abraham Fund is not interested in which party Arab voters choose,” it’s plain to one and all that Israeli Arabs will not be voting for the party of Netanyahu. This is true, in spite of wide support among Arab nations for Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, and in spite of the fact that a nuclear attack on Israel would vaporize both Arab and Jewish Israelis.
“In 2010, the State Department provided the Abraham Fund a $999,715 three-year grant for an education initiative in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Education. Another part of the grant was designated to a project with the Israeli security services aimed at fostering closer Arab-Jewish ties.”
Klein says Beeri-Sulitzeanu told him that “U.S. government funds are not being utilized for the voter-participation drive,” but adds “He acknowledged, however, that ‘some [money for the project] comes from our core funding at the Abraham Fund. Since our workers are getting paid anyway, some of their job is dedicated to the vote project.’”
“A source close to the Abraham Fund said the financing for the voter participation project came in large part from private wealthy American donors,” Klein wrote, and “the same source” said “the voter-participation drive was encouraged by staffers from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.”
Klein names, as one of three funders of V15, S. Daniel Abraham (no relation to the Abraham Fund), billionaire founder of Slim Fast and “major donor to the Democratic Party and the Clinton foundation.”
Jeremy Bird’s 270 Strategies, which was hired by V15 (see above), is largely manned by “former top staffers for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.” V15 also partnered with OneVoice, which self-describes as an “international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians.”
“The State Department is also listed as a partner of OneVoice on the group’s website.” Klein tells us this has since been scrubbed. But he provides a pre-scrub screenshot, and adds that Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine carries an image taken in 2014 showing the State Department listed on the same “partner” page.
And then, there’s this:
“OneVoice received a State Department grant for $350,000.
“OneVoice development and grants officer Christina Taler told the Washington Free Beacon last month that “no government funding” has gone toward the V15 voter mobilization effort.
“However, V15′s complete takeover of OneVoice’s Tel Aviv offices may raise some questions, not only about the grant usage, but about the State Department’s current partnership with OneVoice.”
Fox News has reported that “A powerful U.S. Senate investigatory committee has launched a bipartisan probe into an American nonprofit’s funding of efforts to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Obama administration’s State Department gave the nonprofit taxpayer-funded grants, a source with knowledge of the panel’s activities told FoxNews.com.
“According to the source, the probe is looking into ‘funding’ by OneVoice Movement— a Washington-based group that has received $350,000 in recent State Department grants…
“A subsidiary of OneVoice is the Israel-based Victory 15 campaign [V15], itself guided by top operatives of Obama’s White House runs, which seeks to ‘replace the government’ of Israel.”
In a recent interview with Israel Hayom, Israel’s most popular daily, PM Netanyahu said:
“There is a coalition, with overt as well as concealed motives, that seeks to topple the Likud government and replace it with a left-wing leadership.…I am talking about very powerful organizations with foreign funding in the tens of millions of shekels, equipped with strategists and advisers, seeking two main objectives: To increase the voter turnout among the Left and to increase the voter turnout among the Arabs. These are well-funded organizations that can get the Arab list up to 16 seats, thereby determining the result of the elections as a whole.”
The goal is to “topple the Likud government and replace it with a left-wing leadership.”
Speaking of his Zionist Union Party opponents, he said:
“[Tzipi] Livni and [Isaac] Herzog…. are going together into a coalition supported by the Arab voters. “
When asked if he would consider a unity government, if victorious on March 17th, he said there definitely will not be. His reasons will have a familiar ring to Americans:
“Today’s Labor Party is different than what I remember of it. Once upon a time we disagreed on managing the economy, on free market….But today the Labor Party is infused with an anti-Zionist element that entirely throws off the balance. Now there are candidates on the Labor list that talk about Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva, being racist and that they don’t identify with it; that mothers shouldn’t send their sons to the army….They did change their name to the Zionist Union, but there are certainly anti-Zionist elements there.”
Bob Bennett is a New York-based writer who has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post, and has appeared on Fox and Friends and America’s Newsroom. He has traveled widely and written travel pieces for the NY Post, a cover article for the Jewish Press, and an op-ed for the medical journal Cancer Biotherapy & Radioimmunotherapy. Bob was also award-winning producer of a travel radio show heard on New York stations: WMCA, WNWK and 50,000 watt WOR and the national Sky Angel Network. He now blogs on Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Community and Red State Diaries.