A top campaign operative in President Barack Obama’s election campaigns, along with 14 other Obama campaign operatives and the U. S. Department of State are now working to defeat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming March election in Israel.
Jeremy Bird, dubbed “the Obama campaign’s secret weapon” by Rolling Stone Magazine, served as the national field director for Obama’s 2012 campaign and helped create and implement the Obama ground strategy utilizing cutting-edge digital technology and data analytics to design a very effective turnout machine which was instrumental in helping Obama defeat Romney. Bird and the other Obama operatives are part of an advocacy group called 270 Strategies which is now working in Tel Aviv with an Israel-based group, V15, to develop a grassroots and social media strategy. V15, the Israeli group, is financially backed by a U.S.-U.K. group, OneVoice International. “We are working with OneVoice,” confirmed Lynda Tran, who co-founded Bird’s campaign firm.
V15’s sole focus today is on defeating Netanyahu. Their motto is ABB – Anyone But Bibi.
OneVoice is a left-wing advocacy group which partners with other left-wing advocacy groups to support progressive causes including Obama and Kerry’s recent attempt to broker a peace pact between Israel and the Palestinians. Its advisors include Imam Usama Hasan, the British Muslim cleric, Abbas Zaki, a chief Palestinian Authority negotiator and Abbas’ son, Yasser Mahmoud Abbas, among others. Of even greater significance is the partnership between OneVoice and our U.S. Department of State.
Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO Monitor, confirmed in an interview with Algemeiner that our State Department is helping to fund this effort to oust Netanyahu through OneVoice, saying, “US State Department funding provided to this ostensibly non-governmental organization [OneVoice] is another example of the lack of due diligence and accountability in the dispersion of taxpayer funding.” OneVoice has received two grants from the State Department over the past year. Although OneVoice development and grants officer Christina Taler has stated that “no government funding has gone toward any of the activities we’re doing right now whatsoever,” she acknowledged receiving State Department money to “build public campaign support for the [Israeli-Palestine] negotiations,” referring to the negotiations launched by Secretary of State John Kerry last spring.
The claim that State Department funds are being used only to support negotiations and not for the V15 anti-Netanyahu campaign is simply not credible. Dollars within an organization are fungible and funding designated for one purpose in an organization will simply free up other funds for use for other purposes.
Steinberg also pointed out that in 2012, American taxpayer funds in the millions had been used by USAID, the U.S. government agency primarily responsible for providing civilian foreign aid, to fund the “Geneva Initiative,” another grassroots project to pressure the Israeli government to make concessions to the Palestinians. After this fact was publicly exposed, this funding was suddenly discontinued, according to Steinberg.
Recently, the Obama administration has blasted the House GOP for inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress. Obama aides claimed that by accepting this invitation, Netanyahu “spat in our face publicly” and threatened that “there will be a price” for this Israeli affront. Both Obama and Kerry have refused to meet with Netanyahu when he visits in March to address Congress because they claim they don’t want to influence the Israeli elections. Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick has pointed out the hypocrisy of Obama’s refusal to meet with Bibi because it would be too close to the Israeli elections and the decision to send his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat the Prime Minister.
Much has been written about the antipathy between Obama and the current Prime Minister of Israel. Some describe President Obama’s attitude towards Israel and its Prime Minister as the most dysfunctional in the history of US-Israeli relations. There is abundant evidence that Obama wants Netanyahu defeated. He harbors obsessive personal animosity towards the PM, thinks Netanyahu is an obstacle to his efforts to strike a peace deal between Israel and the Jew-hating Palestinians and takes personal affront that, in his opinion, Bibi is working to defeat his deal with Iran by insisting that the U.S. place tough sanctions on the terrorist state.
It is extremely doubtful that Jeremy Bird and the other Obama campaign strategists would have chosen to work with anti-Netanyahu organizations in Israel to defeat the Prime Minister without Obama’s tacit approval. Bird and 270 Strategies would quickly lose their reputation and their lucrative business were they to participate in a venture that the sitting president opposes. And the U.S. State Department would not be funding this effort without the OK from Obama.
So here we have President Obama and this administration’s State Department meddling in the internal affairs of another nation-state and ally while at the same time accusing the Israeli PM of meddling in our affairs by accepting the invitation to address Congress. Outrageous and hypocritical? I’d say so.
Presidents have tried to influence Israeli elections before. President George H. W. Bush refused to give then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir loan guarantees to fund the cost of settling the newly arrived Russian immigrants in order to help Yitzhak Rabin’s party win in 1992. In 1996, Clinton hosted Shimon Peres at the White House and all but said that those who wanted peace should support Peres and oppose Netanyahu.
President Obama has admonished, bullied, and isolated Israel, dangerously galvanizing her enemies, disparaged the Prime Minister of Israel with behavior unfitting a U.S. president and now Obama’s political operatives and his State Department are using taxpayer monies to interfere in the democratic election process of a sovereign nation. This behavior is unprecedented in the history of relations between the U.S. and a long-standing ally.