BenjaminNetanyahu

A new report released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concludes the Obama administration funded an effort to overthrow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, one of America’s closest and most ardent allies.

The investigation concerned about $350,000 in grants given by the United States to a group called OneVoice to “support peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.”

The organization pursued that goal but later used the grant money to campaign against Netanyahu, with whom President Obama had been at odds.

WND reported last year the investigation focused on State Department grants to a non-profit group that has been leading field organizing efforts openly aimed at replacing Netanyahu’s government with a center-left coalition.

The use of taxpayer funds to oppose Netanyahu technically wasn’t illegal, because of the apparent negligence of administration officials who did not specify exactly how the leftovers from the peace campaign could be used.

The Senate report explains: “OneVoice Israel fully complied with the terms of its State Department grants. OneVoice designed and executed a grassroots and media campaign to promote public support for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations for the department, as it said it would. Under the grant, OneVoice expanded its social media presence, built a larger voter database, and hired an American political consulting firm to train its activists and executives in grassroots organizing methods in support of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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“The subcommittee found no evidence that OneVoice spent grant funds to influence the 2015 Israeli elections. Soon after the grant period ended, however, OneVoice used the campaign infrastructure and resources built, in part, with State Department grants funds to support V15. In service of V15, OneVoice deployed its social media platform, which more than doubled during the State Department grant period; used its database of voter contact information, including email addresses, which OVI expanded during the grant period; and enlisted its network of trained activists, many of whom were recruited or trained under the grant, to support and recruit for V15. This pivot to electoral politics was consistent with a strategic plan developed by OneVoice leadership and emailed to State Department officials during the grant period. The State Department diplomat who received the plan told the subcommittee that he never reviewed it.”

The report continued: “OneVoice’s use of government-funded resources for political purposes was not prohibited by the grant agreement because the State Department placed no limitations on the post-grant use of those resources. Despite OneVoice’s previous political activism in the 2013 Israeli election, the department failed to take any steps to guard against the risk that OneVoice could engage in political activities using State-funded grassroots campaign infrastructure after the grant period.”

At the Weekly Standard, writer Jim Swift pointed out the American tax dollars were used to build up the resources of an activist group, then “once the infrastructure was built, it was used in an attempt to topple the government of one of America’s closest allies.”

The report noted the State Department previously has been described as lax in its attention to the requirements and limits of grant proceeds.

“Specifically, in more than 80 percent of the grants reviewed, GAO found that State officials either failed to look for risks at all or skipped ‘key elements of the risk identification process, such as a review of the recipient’s financial systems and international controls. GAO further reported that State failed to assess or mitigate the risks of more than half of those grants for which it identified at least partial risk.”

The committee got involved when there were allegations, now documented, that American tax dollars were being used to take down Netanyahu.

The Obama administration was unable to produce all of the documents involved because it failed to retain the email records of Michael Ratney, then U.S. consul general in Jerusalem.

Similar to Hillary Clinton’s arbitrary disposal of emails, the report said Ratney also deleted emails randomly to keep his inbox under the storage limit.

“Within days after the grant period ended, OneVoice deployed the campaign infrastructure and resources created using grant funds to support an anti-Netanyahu political campaign called V15,” the Senate report said.

The report confirms the plan already was developed during the time period when the American grants were coming in.

“The subcommittee finds that the State Department failed to adequately guard against the risk that resources built with government grants would be deployed for political purposes,” the report found. “The … department failed to conduct any assessment of the risk that, were an election called, OneVoice would continue its political activities using State-funded resources.”

That’s even though officials admitted “influencing foreign elections is a ‘red line’ that State grantees cannot cross.”

And the group, OneVoice, even “held itself out publicly as a ‘partnen’ of the State Department and the U.S. Embassy-Tel Aviv, including on its website and annual reports to donors.”

“On its website, OneVoice noted that its ‘partnerships reflect the validation our work on the ground has received from like-minded organizations.’

“OneVoice also cited its relationship with State in donor pitches to raise additional funds,” the report said.

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