TEL AVIV – A consulting firm almost entirely composed of former staffers of President Obama’s re-election campaign has been hired to run an election effort in Israel aimed at defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The conservative blogosphere is reporting Jeremy Bird, national field director for Obama’s 2012 campaign, is now working for a new non-profit group, V15, that is running an effort to defeat Netanyahu in the upcoming election.
A closer look at Bird’s consulting firm as well as its working relationship with the Israeli groups finds he is just one of scores of former senior Obama election campaign staffers now working on the anti-Netanyahu effort.
Last week, the Obama White House rejected an opportunity to meet with Netanyahu in March when he is in Washington to address a joint meeting of Congress, saying it didn’t want to influence the Israeli elections. The White House criticized House Speaker John Boehner for inviting Netanyahu, accusing him of “breaking protocol.”
The left-leaning Haaretz daily in Israel reported V15 is “trying to replace Israel’s government” and cause “nothing less than an electoral upset” in elections here in March.
Haaretz reporter Roy Arad writes that he directly asked V15 founder Nimrod Dweck whether his group’s goal was “anyone but Bibi,” referring to Netanyahu by his popular nickname.
Dreck replied: “We say ‘replace the government,’ it’s not directed at specific individuals. There have been many years of right-wing governments during which little happened, it’s time to change course and give people hope.”
V15, or “Victory 2015” is backed by a U.S.-U.K. group called “One Voice,” whose official Tel Aviv offices are adjacent to those of V15.
One Voice bills itself as an “international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians.” It has a clearly leftist tone.
One Voice put out a press release Tuesday that was decidedly anti-Netanyahu.
“We believe that it’s critical that the majority of Israelis who are concerned about the numerous security and socio-economic challenges we face have their voices heard in the next election,” said OneVoice Israel’s executive director, Polly Bronstein.
“We need a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”
The release announced that OneVoice Israel and V15 “are working with premier grassroots consulting firm 270 Strategies to leverage the most cutting-edge mobilization techniques.”
270 Strategies is led by Bird, who was described in the Haaretz articles as V15’s “secret campaign weapon”
Haaretz reported Bird has arrived in Tel Aviv with a team of four consultants “that will try to channel the energies of V15 into an organized methodology.”
Part of the strategy includes a door-knocking campaign as well as a social media blitz.
While the conservative blogosphere focused largely on Bird’s role, WND has found that his firm, which was hired for the V15 campaign, is composed of scores of former Obama campaign employees.
270 Strategies’ team of 45 staffers includes 16 who worked directly for Obama’s campaigns.
Most of the former Obama staffers comprise the senior posts at the firm. Others worked for the Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee or grassroots groups involved in progressive efforts, including a group to enroll Americans in Obamacare.
Besides Bird, the 270 Strategies team includes the following former Obama staffers:
- Mitch Steward, a 270 Strategies founding partner who helped the Obama campaign build what the U.K. Guardian called “a historic ground operation that will provide the model for political campaigns in America and around the world for years to come.”
- Mark Beatty, a founding partner who served as deputy battleground states director for the Obama campaign. He had primary responsibility for Obama’s election plans for the battleground states.
- Marlon Marshall, a founding partner at 270 Strategies who joins the team after holding several key positions in national Democratic politics, most recently as deputy national field director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Betsy Hoover, a founding partner who served as director of digital organizing on the Obama campaign.
- Meg Ansara, who served as national regional director for Obama for America where she was responsible for overseeing the 2012 programs in the Midwest and southern states.
- Bridget Halligan, who served as the dngagement program manager on the digital team of the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Kate Catherall, who served as Florida deputy field director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
- Alex Lofton, who most recently served as the GOTV director of Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Martha Patzer, the firm’s vice president who served as deputy email director at Obama for America.
- Jesse Boateng, who served as the Florida voter registration director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
- Ashley Bryant, who served most recently as the Ohio digital director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
- Max Clermont, who formerly served as a regional field director in Florida for Obama’s re-election campaign.
- Max Wood, who served as a deputy data director in Florida for the 2012 Obama campaign.