My article in today’s FrontPage magazine:
Obama Funding the Anti-Bibi Campaign
By Matthew Vadum
The Obama administration is using taxpayer dollars to fund a radical anti-Israel group that aims to drive Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office in March parliamentary elections.
And the U.S.-based group receiving the U.S. government money, OneVoice International, in turn is working with V15, an “independent grassroots movement” in Israel, according to Ha’aretz. V15’s unofficial motto is said to be “anyone but Bibi,” a reference that includes the prime minister’s nickname.
OneVoice has reportedly hired Obama campaign aides such as Jeremy Bird of political consulting powerhouse 270 Strategies to take on Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Bird was national field director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, but now he is apoplectic, frothing at the mouth as he spouts conspiracy theories over House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) invitation to Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress in coming weeks.
“What do you think [GOP mega donor Sheldon] Adelson promised GOP in exchange for this insane BiBi [Netanyahu] House visit? Blatant attempt to bolster Israeli PM before elections,” Bird tweeted.
President Obama too is angry about the unexpected Netanyahu visit. The administration claims Boehner violated “protocol” by extending the invitation on his own initiative instead of sending a request for the executive branch to extend an invitation. The sure-to-be-televised congressional address counteracts Obama’s efforts to unseat the prime minister whose electoral fortunes at home can only be helped by the speech. This infuriates Obama whose newly feigned interest in “protocol” is hard to take seriously from a man who rammed Obamacare through Congress without regard to proper procedure and who just weeks ago issued a kingly fiat granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.
In a recent interview Obama offered a flimsy excuse for his refusal to meet with Netanyahu on the upcoming visit. “We don’t meet with any world leader two weeks before their election,” said the president. “I think that’s inappropriate.”
OneVoice International has reportedly taken in two grants from the U.S. Department of State over the last year. The group describes the agency as a “partner” on its website.
OneVoice development and grants officer Christina Taler told Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman that her group is not using this taxpayer money to intervene in the Israeli election. That money has been used to “build public campaign support for the [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations” led last spring by Secretary of State John Kerry, Taler said.
“No government funding has gone toward any of the activities we’re doing right now whatsoever,” she said.
Of course, there is no way to assess the truthfulness of Taler’s statement. Money is by its nature fungible and the Obama administration doesn’t enforce rules against its political allies, as the IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups has shown.
Taler said her group will collaborate with V15 on voter registration and voter mobilization efforts.
“We’ve formed a partnership with [V15], but it’s important to know we’re absolutely nonpartisan,” Taler said unreassuringly. “Our biggest emphasis and focus right now is just getting people out to vote.”
A OneVoice press release two days ago said it is working with V15 because Israel “need[s] a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”
OneVoice is not some neutral group functioning as some kind of honest broker in Middle Eastern politics. It is hostile to Israel and treats the Palestinian terrorists as Israelis’ moral equals. It uses soothing political buzzwords, claiming on its website to be “an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution.”
And just look at who funds OneVoice.
OneVoice acknowledges on its website it is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and that its formal name is PeaceWorks Network Foundation (PWNF).
PWNF is no stranger to the world of high-dollar left-wing philanthropy. Among its benefactors are some of the most radical charities in America: Ford Foundation ($1,018,150 since 2004); Nathan Cummings Foundation ($375,000 since 2003); Skoll Foundation ($150,000 since 2011); Walter and Elise Haas Fund ($145,000 since 2007); Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc. ($100,000 since 2012); and William & Flora Hewlett Foundation ($25,000 since 2004).
These groups give money to PWNF because it shares their radical anti-Israel positions.
Outside the U.S., the Ford Foundation is especially notorious for its activism aimed at dismantling the State of Israel. Many of its grantee groups participated in the infamous United Nations “World Conference Against Racism” in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, and supported resolutions there that equated Zionism with racism. The Ford Foundation was a major underwriter of the conference itself.
PeaceWorks Network Foundation has important donors in common with other left-wing activist groups that claim to support Israel but which critics say do the Israeli cause harm.
Among the most hostile to Israel is J Street, a high-profile 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose formal name is J Street Educational Fund Inc. Back in the days when the activist Left was more interested in transparency, J Street was called the Union of Progressive Zionists. The anti-Zionist J Street has received grants from the Nathan Cummings Foundation ($1,060,000 since 2009) and Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc. $225,000 since 2010. J Street has also taken in $1,310,000 since 2010 from the Skoll Global Threats Fund, an official spinoff of the Skoll Foundation.
The New Israel Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which has served as an administrator in the Middle East for Ford Israel Fund, which is an arm of the Ford Foundation. As FrontPage contributor Ronn Torossian wrote, the New Israel Fund has “granted nearly $27 million to left-wing and progressive NGOs in Israel” and “systematically works to destabilize Israel.”
NIF’s funders in common with PWNF are: Nathan Cummings Foundation ($11,607,225 since 1999); Skoll Global Threats Fund ($974,050 since 2011); Walter and Elise Haas Fund ($125,000 since 2006); and William & Flora Hewlett Foundation ($6,200 in 2009).
Another anti-Zionist group that shares donors with PWNF is Jewish Funds for Justice. Among its donors are: Nathan Cummings Foundation ($3,823,000 since 2008); Ford Foundation ($3,660,000 since 2008); Walter and Elise Haas Fund ($655,000 since 2007); and Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc. ($610,000 since 2007).
Add to this rogue’s gallery the most recent funders of OneVoice/PWNF: You, the taxpayer.