jackass’ bibi sabotage bid fiasco

Netanyahu is the last who should complain about foreign money in Israeli politics. Does the name Mimran (a convicted money launderer) ring a bell? The judges note that a cross-referencing of Mimran’s testimony in all the evidentiary material reveals that his trip to Israel in 2009, at the height of the fraud that was carried out from leased offices in Tel Aviv and Herzliya, was undertaken for the purpose of a meeting in a hotel with Netanyahu. “That was an election year. I’m close to Netanyahu, to whom I donated $200k,” Mimran testified – RB

‘Israel ha-Yom’ fumes over Pindo money in Israeli politics
Shuki Tausig, +972 Magazine, Jul 13 2016

(Correction: A previous version of this article stated the amount of the State Dept grant to One Voice in millions instead of thousands of dollars. The mistake was made in translation. We apologize for any confusion.)

Adelson & Bibi in Jayloomia, Aug 12 2007. (Photo: Flash90)

Wednesday’s front page of Israel ha-Yom, the Netanyahu family mouthpiece owned and funded by Adelson, appeared seriously flustered by the news that a campaign to topple the prime minister enjoyed Pindosi resources. According to the article in Israel ha-Yom, the Pindosi State Dept funded “One Voice” to the tune of $349k for politically neutral purposes, but that organization then made available the resources built with that money to another organization, V15, which used them for political purposes. For comparison’s sake, Shlomo Ben-Zvi, Adelson’s former partner in establishing Israeli, the free daily newspaper that preceded Israel ha-Yom, testified in a 2011 legal battle between the two men, that according to his calculations Israel ha-Yom loses roughly $3m each month. The newspaper has been in operation for nine years. According to Haim Shine, the free-sheet’s resident political commentator:

The fact that the Pindosi government gave more than $300k, which was indirectly used for a political campaign against Netanyahu, is proof that Obama used Pindosi government mechanisms against the election of Netanyahu, and was neck deep in an attempt to affect the results of an Israeli election. The Pindosi administration treated Israel like a South American banana republic, and thought it could use money to influence citizens’ opinions.

I wonder what Shine would write if a Pindosi Jewish billionaire injected tens of millions of dollars into an Israeli political campaign to put Bibi into power, tens of millions more to keep him there, and then distributed that campaign’s political materials to hundreds of thousands of Israelis every day.

Pindosi Senate Report: State Dept Resources Used Against Netanyahu in 2015 Israeli Election
Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Jul 13 2016

3042996516V15 activists (Itamar Weizmann, centre), election night, Mar 17 2015. Photo: Ilya Melnikov

Resources and databases belonging to a public diplomacy project on the peace process funded by the Pindosi State Dept were used by a local group that sought to topple Netanyahu in last year’s election, according to a report by a Senate investigative committee issued Tuesday. The report, issued by the Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations, said the money was not obtained by the V15 organization due to a deliberate diversion, but due to negligence by mid-level diplomats. The investigation was launched last year, when the relationship between One Voice, which received State Dept funding to promote the peace process, and V15 came under scrutiny by right-wing media outlets. According to the Senate report, the State Dept in 2013 gave $349k to the Israeli and Palestinian branches of One Voice, a “private group” (RB) trying to influence Israeli and Palestinian public opinion in favour of the two-state solution, in conjunction with Jackass Kerry’s effort in Jul 2013 to renew Isro-Pal talks. The funding, transferred through the Pindosi Embassy in Tel Aviv and their Consulate in Jayloomia, was used to build a database of Israelis and Palestinians of voting age; to expand One Voice’s presence on social media; and to recruit a Pindosi political consultant to train One Voice’s executives and “activists.” The report states that after the project ended with the peace talks’ failure in Apr 2014, One Voice put the project’s resources to a different use; a few weeks after Netanyahu declared new elections in late 2014, One Voice gave the database and social media infrastructure it had developed with State Dept expense to V15, which was founded to campaign against Netanyahu. According to the report, One Voice informed the State Dept that it had diverted the peace project’s resources to V15 and even sent American diplomats the strategic plan behind the move. According to the report, the diplomats who got the email on the matter told Senate investigators that they never read it and thus were not aware that the project’s resources were being used for a different purpose. The report states that the “recycling” of the peace project’s resources was not forbidden by the terms of the grant, since the State Dept had not set any restrictions on their use once that project ended. This constituted negligence on the diplomats’ part, the report said, because One Voice had been politically active in the 2013 election. Nevertheless, the department failed to take any steps to guard against the risk that One Voice could engage in political activity using the Pindo-funded grass-roots campaign infrastructure, the report said.

Jennifer Rubin goes ballistic:

NGO connected to Obama’s 2008 campaign used Pindo tax dollars trying to oust Netanyahu
Jennifer Rubin, WaPo, Jul 12 2016

Under the auspices of Chairman Sen Rob Portman (R-Ohio) the Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations has released a report today confirming allegations that an NGO with connections to Obama’s 2008 campaign used Pindo taxpayer dollars attempting to oust Netanyahu in 2015. Obama has had the worst relationship of any Pindosi president with the elected prime minister of the Jewish State. A press release states:

Today, Pindosi Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations, released a bipartisan report examining the State Dept’s grants to One Voice, a NGO operating in Israel and the OPT. The group received nearly $350k in grants from the State Dept to support peace negotiations between Israelis and the PA over a 14-month grant period ending in Nov 2014. In Dec 2014, Israeli elections were called following the collapse of peace negotiations.

The Sub-Committee’s investigation concludes that One Voice Israel complied with the terms of its State Dept grants. Within days after the grant period ended, however, the group deployed the campaign infrastructure and resources created in part, using Pindo grant funds to support a political campaign to defeat the incumbent Israeli government known as V15. That use of government-funded resources for political purposes after the end of the grant period was permitted by the grant because the State Dept failed to adequately guard against the risk that campaign resources could be repurposed in that manner or place limitations on the post-grant use of resources. Sen Claire McCaskill dutifully defended the administration:

While this report shows no wrongdoing by the Administration, and should put to rest such allegations, it certainly highlights deficiencies in the Department’s policies that should be addressed in order to best protect taxpayer dollars.

Asked for a quick summary of the report, Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Portman said:

The campaign’s explicit goal was to elect “anybody but Bibi” by mobilizing center-left voters… The State Dept permitted One Voice to use a taxpayer-funded grant to build valuable political infrastructure, large voter contact lists, a professionally trained network of grassroots organizers/activists, and an impressive social media platform, for the putative purpose of supporting peace negotiations. But during the federal grant period, One Voice devised a plan to target Netanyahu; immediately after the grant period ended, One Voice deployed its taxpayer-funded campaign resources to launch the largest anti-Netanyahu grassroots organizing campaign in Israel in 2015. Despite One Voice’s known history of political activism in Israel, the State Dept did nothing to guard against the clear risk that One Voice could engage in electioneering activities using a taxpayer-funded grassroots campaign infrastructure after the grant period. Remarkably, according to the State Dept, One Voice’s conduct was fully compliant with State Dept regulations and guidelines.

Among the report’s most damning findings, evidence was found that the “durable campaign resources” built during the grant with taxpayer dollars included “a larger voter contact database, a professionally trained network of grassroots activists across the country, and an enhanced social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. One Voice was even permitted to use State Dept funds to hire a Pindosi political consulting firm called 270 Strategies, run by Obama 2008 campaign veterans, to train its activists in how to execute a ‘grassroots mobilization’ campaign.” While the administration has shown exceptional deference to “moderates” in Iran, his administration (sic – RB) couldn’t be bothered to avoid gross interference with the elections in the only democratic country in the region. Netanyahu survived the election, of course, and Obama will not face the voters again. Nevertheless, the report won’t help the unprecedented antagonistic relationship between USrael’s elected leaders. If an Israeli NGO had attempted to do the same in a Pindosi election, there would be howls of protest. No matter who the next president is, the USrael relationship is likely to improve. Nevertheless, Obama’s successor would do well to apologize to Israel for the current president’s divisiveness.

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