Wednesday, July 13, 2016

US State Dept. funds aided Israeli left's election campaign - David Rosenberg

by David Rosenberg

State Department grants for Arab-Israeli peace used for infrastructure later used by Israeli left during 2015 Knesset election.

A newly released report by the US Senate chided the State Department for grants given to a left-wing NGO which developed political infrastructure used in the 2015 Knesset election in an effort to topple Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The bipartisan report by the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was headed by Republican Rob Portman of Ohio, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a Democrat.

According to the report, the State Department gave $349,000 in grants to the OneVoice organization, a New York-based left-wing NGO whose mission statement calls for efforts to "propel" Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders "toward the two-state solution."

Despite claims it is a non-partisan organization, OneVoice aided the Israeli left in the 2013 election. The group later used the State Department grant to create an extensive set of voter databases, which were later handed over to the Victory 15 organization, which aided Zionist Union chief Isaac Herzog's bid to defeat Netanyahu in the 2015 election.

The committee criticized the State Department's indirect interference in Israel's election, noting the NGO's past involvement in Israeli politics.

“The State Department ignored warning signs and funded a politically active group in a politically sensitive environment with inadequate safeguards,” said Portman. “It is completely unacceptable that U.S. taxpayer dollars were used to build a political campaign infrastructure that was deployed — immediately after the grant ended — against the leader of our closest ally in the Middle East.”

“Despite OneVoice’s previous political activism in the 2013 Israeli election, the Department failed to take any steps to guard against the risk that OneVoice could engage in political activities using State-funded grassroots campaign infrastructure after the grant period," the report said.

David Rosenberg


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