Is President Obama Working Toward Regime Change In Israel?
Bill Collier- A new organization in Israel, manned by Jeremy Bird (who was the field director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign) is causing some to suspect that the President is seeking regime change in Israel. Recently, the White House pushed back on House Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak before Congress. It was argued by the White House that allowing such a meeting with the Prime Minister, and allowing him to speak before congress, would be “interfering” with Israeli elections.
The emergence of this organization has raised eyebrows about the claims by the Obama administration to be concerned about ‘interfering’ with the Israeli elections. The organization itself is well funded by “wealthy American Jews.” It is staffed in large part (and at the top leadership levels) by top operatives from the President’s Presidential campaigns in 08 and 12. The sole aim of the group is to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu.
While the White House argued that meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu was wrong because it was close to an election it would appear that, at the very least, many of the US President’s political operatives are actively and openly engaged in an attempt to unseat the sitting Prime Minister. This charge, if true, is far more intrusive to the Israeli election than meeting with Netanyahu at the White House would be.
The organization, V-15 (meaning Victory 2015), is not associated with the main opposition party, Labor, and is solely focused on working against the current Prime Minister. As its source of funding is foreign, by its own admission, Likud, the party in power, is seeking to ban it from any further activities.
Netanyahu has also been accused of trying to unseat President Obama. During the 2012 election, an ad by Romney showed a picture of Netanyahu, while a voice-over stated, “The world needs American strength, not apologies.”
It was obvious at the time that Netanyahu was warm and cordial with Romney (whom he met with) even as his relationship with the US President was seen as tense, as it remains even more today. During that time, Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, said that the TV spot had “not been coordinated with us, we were not consulted and no one asked us for our permission.”
There was not then and is not now, any accusation that either Netanyahu or his supporters provided expertise or funding for President Obama’s opposition.
The mysterious foreign-led and foreign-funded group has no ties to Labor, according to Labor Chairman Eitan Cabel, who said he knows “nothing about the group “ or its activities. But one organization noted to be working with the mysterious group is “OneVoice”.
According to the group- “The OneVoice Movement, founded in 2002, is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution.”
Until November of 2014, the US State Department admitted that they were providing funding to this organization, which observers note “has a clear and partisan political bias” in favor of the left. Funding of this organization by the US has itself been considered to be an act of “interference” in Israeli elections. The group notoriously targets the Israeli political process while doing nothing to promote a “two-state solution” among Arab politicians who lead Gaza and the West bank (Judea and Samaria) and who have consistently espoused a “one state” solution in which the State of Israel ceases to exist.
These assertions, that OneVoice is essentially an anti-Israel movement, have not prevented Palestinian groups from accusing the group of being a mere faux peace movement meant to serve the interests of the Jewish State. A Pro-Palestinian group called “Another Voice” accused OneVoice of being a front for American and Israeli interests back in 2007. But its track record of supporting leftist causes and being led by leftists puts it in the category of being more about promoting liberalism in Israel than peace between Arabs and Jews, in the eyes of many.
But Another Voice said this about OneVoice- “We did not care to demonize the individuals behind OneVoice, nor did we assume bad intentions on their part. However, we were, and continue to be concerned with simplistic, high profile initiatives that equate the occupier with the occupied, and that do not recognize Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, including gross violations of Palestinian human rights, which are the reasons behind the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian “conflict.”
According to Haaretz, “V15 is partnering with the pro-peace organization OneVoice. Its goal is to recruit thousands of volunteers who will go door to door before the election to persuade as many as one million people to vote to change the government.”
“Two candidates for the Knesset are among the heads of OneVoice – Yoel Hasson and Danny Atar,” said David Shimron, a lawyer and close confidant of the Israeli Prime Minister, at a recent press conference.
“Both of them are candidates of the Zionist Camp for the Knesset. OneVoice is financing V15. There is a clear political affiliation here. We can see a clear criminal act whose purpose is to buy the election with money that may not be used,” Shimron stated.
While State Department funding for OneVoice may have ended, as of last November, the amount of money has not been disclosed and, it is argued, that money is only now being deployed to support this electioneering.
V15 countered in its own statement, “Since Likud’s campaign staff has accepted the fact that Netanyahu has lost the field and the street, the party’s lawyers are trying to stop the energy and buzz around Victory 2015. We are bringing in innovative work plans learned from successful campaigns overseas. Obama’s ‘recruitment’ to the campaign exists only in the fevered brains of right-wingers and Likud. The Likud’s panic and paranoia from the right’s loss of the street to the V15 field operatives is not a reason for fantastic delusions such as a connection and cooperation with one of the parties or the American administration. We will continue to win and they will continue to whine.”
Regardless of this statement, it is clear that many of the President’s allies are engaged, that US taxpayer dollars went to OneVoice, and that the US President has done all he can to diminish the Israeli Prime Minister, especially regarding his upcoming speech before the US Congress. That speech is now being boycotted by the same American left who are so deeply involved in the organization seeking his ouster.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry met with Isaac Herzog, the Israeli opposition leader, while the Secretary of State, John Kerry, took the time to be photographed with Herzog. This occurred during an international security conference in Munich, Germany. Of note, this meeting, which Herzog claimed was not “scheduled” by either American official, also took place a month before the March 17 elections in Israel.
Engaging in regime change is not really a new thing for any state in the world, especially powerful states. It can be claimed that both the American and Israeli governments are active in trying to engage in each other’s political process. What has ruffled feathers among some is the denial by the current American President that this is not currently the case in the face of the overwhelming, if under-reported, facts on the ground.