The State Departments Other Email Scandal
Email problems just continue to plague our great State Department. The emails in question, this time, may have implicated them in indirectly funding a campaign to defeat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. How convenient. This is according to a report issued by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. The controversy started in 2015 after reporter Roi Arad wrote a story claiming the group One Voice, a political nonprofit, “is bankrolling” the V15 campaign, a group that was advocating for left wing control of Israel’s government. In their words, because they weren’t legally able to support a specific candidate, they supported “just not Bibi.”
The report issued by the Permanent Senate Subcommittee on Investigations said the controversy centered around a grant issued to a nonprofit named One Voice. The political activist group received a grant for more than $300,000 that they used to garner public support for peace talks between Israel and Palestine. According to the report, the group used this funding to build up online infrastructure and a grassroots network, then used their newly formed apparatus to affect the election after their 14 month grant period. According to the report the group One Voice “expanded its social media presence, built a larger voter database and hired an American political consulting firm to train its activist and executives in grassroots organizing methods.”
The group launched a campaign to promote the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The committee found no evidence to suggest they used grant money to influence the Israeli 2015 election directly. This, of course, doesn’t negate the fact that US tax dollars were used to beef up this organization’s clout so they could wield it to sway the elections.
“Soon after the grant period ended, however, One Voice used the campaign infrastructure and resources built, in part, with State Department grants funds to support V15. In service of V15, One Voice 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 activist, 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 One Voice 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.”
As early as August 2014 the leadership in One Voice were crafting a strategy to take on what they referred to as a right-wing government saying in an internal email provided to the committee. “SHIFT SUPPORT WITHIN THE KNESSET AWAY FROM LIKUD/RIGHT WING COALITION BY ADVOCATING TO SWINGCENTRIST VOTER’S [sic] POLICIES AND SUPPORT POLITICAL CANDIDATES WHO EMBRACE AN EXPEDITED NEGOTIATION TOWARD A [TWO-STATE SOLUTION] AND THE END OF SETTLEMENT EXPANSION.”
For more read my story in TheNewAmericana.com