Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Taxpayer money used to stop 'Bibi' Netanyahu

U.S. Money Used to Take Down "Bibi" Netanyahu
Right-wing Israeli politicians reacted angrily on Wednesday to a US Senate inquiry that found that State Department funds had been indirectly used to organize election campaign efforts to defeat the Likud party and its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in last year’s election.

The bipartisan inquiry, led by senators Bob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), found that some $350,000 (NIS 1.3 million) in US government funds given to the OneVoice group were indirectly used to help organize voter outreach efforts of the Israeli V15 organization, which campaigned to unseat Netanyahu ahead of the March 2015 election.

The probe found no illegal activity in funding the OneVoice group, though its report chided the State Department for having failed to prevent state funds being used, albeit legally and indirectly, to influence an allied country’s internal political process.

U.S. taxpayer dollars were used to build a campaign infrastructure that was later deployed against the leader of our closest Mideast ally’

Ze’ev Elkin, Likud’s minister of Jerusalem affairs, slammed the “callous intervention in the Israeli democratic process, which only proves the necessity for transparency laws for foreign state funding of political organizations.”

He added: “The people in Israel choose a government that will look after the national and security interests of the citizens of the State of Israel, and not to carry out the dangerous plans that foreign states are trying to arrange for us.”

The inquiry findings “prove conclusively that there was a crude, clear intervention from the US State Department in the internal affairs of Israel,” MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) said in a statement. “This is scandalous, a callous attempt to replace the government of Israel through funding from the US government.”

According to the report, authored by the permanent subcommittee on investigations of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the State Department gave grants totaling $349,276 to One Voice’s Israeli and Palestinian branches “to support peace negotiations” over a 14-month grant period that ended in November 2014.

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