Has the Obama administration been meddling in Israel’s election campaign by funding left-wing organizations campaigning against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Likud Party?
A US Senate investigatory committee has launched a bipartisan probe into American funding of efforts by left-wing organizations to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These funds ostensibly came from the Obama administration’s State Department, which gave the non-profits working against Netanyahu US taxpayer-funded grants, a source with knowledge of the panel’s activities told FoxNews.
According to the source, the probe is looking into funding of the 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, guided by top operatives of the White House, which openly seeks to “replace the government” of Israel.
The Senate subcommittee, which has subpoena power, is the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ chief investigative body with jurisdiction over all branches of government operations and compliance with laws.
The fact that both Democratic and Republican sides of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations have signed off on the probe could be seen as a rebuke to Obama, whose adversarial relationship with the Israeli leader has been well-documented, FoxNews points out.
Netanyahu himself stated on several occasions that “foreign governments” and “foreign-based organizations” have been working to eject him.
Speaking in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 on Saturday, Netanyahu said the coalition seeking to oust him is generously funded by foreign donors who are also encouraging a high voter turnout among Israel’s Arab and left-wing voters in a bid to replace the existing leadership. Netanyahu called the campaign “unprecedented.”
No direct link has been confirmed between Obama and the anti-Netanyahu campaign in Israel, FoxNews adds.
In February, reports repeatedly surfaced that Obama was attempting to influence the outcome of Israel’s elections through funding and that one of his former top campaign advisers, Jeremy Bird, was in Israel helping the left-wing campaign.
At the time, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the reports.
Cruz and Zeldin demanded to know, for instance, how much funding the US government has provided to these groups and who approved the funding.
“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Cruz asked. “This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.”