Report: Senate Panel Probing Whether Obama Administration Funded anti-Netanyahu Campaign

Fox News reports that a bipartisan probe is looking into State Department funding of OneVoice Movement and its subsidiary V15.

V15 anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem, February 17, 2015.
V15 anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem, February 17, 2015. Olivier Fitoussi

Fox News reported on Saturday that a bipartisan probe is being launched by a U.S. Senate Investigatory committee, designed to look into the funding of a not-for-profit group that has been trying to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One source told Foxnews.com that the State Department apparently gave the group taxpayer-funded grants.
 
On Friday, Netanyahu said that "left-wing and media elements in Israel and abroad have conspired to bring [Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni] to power illegitimately, by means of slander at home and unprecedented money from abroad." In a Facebook post, the prime minister added that "left-wing elements in Israel and abroad who are streaming tens of millions of dollars to NGOs running an 'Anyone but Bibi' campaign in its various guises."

The Senate investigatory subcommittee has subpoena powers, but no comments on the investigation were available. One source disclosed that the probe was looking at the OneVoice Movement, a group in Washington which has received $350,000 from the State Department. Until recently the group was headed by a veteran diplomat from the Clinton years.

A subsidiary of OneVoice is the Israeli-based V15, which is claimed by Fox News to be guided by administration officials. V15 is advocating a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is thus committed to removing Netanyahu.

No direct link between Obama and such a campaign has been established, and the State Department announced that funding for the group stopped in November, before the elections were called. However, OneVoice did link up with V15 in January. Jeremy Bird, Obama’s previous campaign director, arrived in Israel to help direct V15, which was trying to reach a million households in an effort to remove Netanyahu. OneVoice is prohibited from directly targeting Netanyahu, but its Israeli partner V15 can carry out the campaign.

State Department documents show that funding was also directed to Palestinian activists and to a resumption of peace talks. Despite OneVoice’s backing of V15, funds were not used for election campaign activities, State Department officials there claim.