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Wednesday, July 13, 2016 

State Department funded anti-Netanyahu campaign

A new Senate report reveals how the US State Department funded a campaign to topple Netanyahu's government:
A bipartisan subcommittee in the U.S. Senate has confirmed what Israel Hayom reported more than a year ago: The Obama administration meddled in the Israeli general election in 2015 with the help of a group called Victory 15 ("V15") in an effort to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a report on Tuesday that V15 tried to topple Netanyahu using the grass-roots network that had been built using U.S. State Department grant money. The grant was originally given to nongovernmental organization OneVoice Israel.

According to a Politico piece from Tuesday, the State Department grant to OneVoice was "intended to rally support for peace," but was also used to "set up political infrastructure that was later used for a campaign opposing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015," in the months leading up to the March 17 general election.

Politico noted that although the "report found no legal wrongdoing by the State Department, since the $349,000 in grants for OneVoice were used to further the Middle East process as intended," V15 did get access to the "voter databases constructed with the grant money."

The subcommittee's chairman, Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, criticized the State Department on Tuesday, saying it failed to apply proper oversight on how the database was used, and he accused it sabotaging the democratic process of a U.S. ally.

"The State Department ignored warning signs and funded a politically active group in a politically sensitive environment with inadequate safeguards," Portman said. "It is completely unacceptable that U.S. taxpayer dollars were used to build a political campaign infrastructure that was deployed -- immediately after the grant ended -- against the leader of our closest ally in the Middle East."
But will they ever apologize? Unlikely.

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