Sen. Cruz fires off letter to SecState Kerry demanding info on political campaign against Netanyahu by administration-funded organizations

The intervention in Israel’s forthcoming election by groups that have received funding from the U.S. government, and which are staffed by veterans of the Obama campaign, certainly sounds like intervention on the internal politics of another nation – a big no-no on the world stage.  It demands investigation, and unsurprisingly, Senator Ted Cruz, joined by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), is at the forefront.  He has sent off a letter to Secretary of State Kerry asking specific questions – questions that can be repeated at Senate oversight hearings.  Israel Matzav excerpts some of the key issues:

“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Sen. Cruz asked. “This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.”

“It is completely unacceptable to use U.S. tax dollars to influence the elections in Israel,” said Rep. Zeldin. “State Department grants should never be given to entities working to overthrow strong allies like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We have great allies around the world, but Israel is our strongest, and a beacon of freedom in a region filled with radical Islamic extremists and state sponsored terrorism. Today, I join with Sen. Ted Cruz in calling for a U.S. Department of State investigation into this important matter.”

As specified in the letter, a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that a U.S. taxpayer-funded non-profit organization called OneVoice is actively working with a campaign operation called Victory 2015 (V15) in an effort to influence the upcoming elections in Israel on March 17, 2015.

As a result, Sen. Cruz and Rep. Zeldin request answers to the following eight questions:

  1. How much funding has the U.S. Government provided to OneVoice, PeaceWorks Network Foundation, and any connected initiatives, projects or subsidiaries?
  2. Who approved providing such funds?
  3. What is the oversight and accounting process for how these funds are being spent?
  4. How often and on what dates has such funding been provided?
  5. What were the specific reasons and terms for providing funds, and how are these funds specifically being spent?
  6. Can the Department of State guarantee that none of these funds have been or will be used in the endeavor detailed above, namely the partnership with V15, or any similar effort to exert undue influence over the Israeli political process?
  7. Was there any knowledge from the State Department or other U.S. government officials of the partnership with V15 prior to providing funds to OneVoice?
  8. Does OneVoice’s work with V15 violate its 501(c)(3) status (or the status of the PeaceWorks Network Foundation) as a tax-exempt organization and should such status be revoked?

In the letter, Cruz and Zeldin write, “Of course private American citizens are free to engage in political activities according to their inclinations, but given the overtly partisan nature of this particular case, we are deeply concerned by the relationship that also exists between OneVoice and the U.S. Department of State.”

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

The intervention in Israel’s forthcoming election by groups that have received funding from the U.S. government, and which are staffed by veterans of the Obama campaign, certainly sounds like intervention on the internal politics of another nation – a big no-no on the world stage.  It demands investigation, and unsurprisingly, Senator Ted Cruz, joined by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), is at the forefront.  He has sent off a letter to Secretary of State Kerry asking specific questions – questions that can be repeated at Senate oversight hearings.  Israel Matzav excerpts some of the key issues:

“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Sen. Cruz asked. “This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.”

“It is completely unacceptable to use U.S. tax dollars to influence the elections in Israel,” said Rep. Zeldin. “State Department grants should never be given to entities working to overthrow strong allies like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We have great allies around the world, but Israel is our strongest, and a beacon of freedom in a region filled with radical Islamic extremists and state sponsored terrorism. Today, I join with Sen. Ted Cruz in calling for a U.S. Department of State investigation into this important matter.”

As specified in the letter, a recent article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that a U.S. taxpayer-funded non-profit organization called OneVoice is actively working with a campaign operation called Victory 2015 (V15) in an effort to influence the upcoming elections in Israel on March 17, 2015.

As a result, Sen. Cruz and Rep. Zeldin request answers to the following eight questions:

  1. How much funding has the U.S. Government provided to OneVoice, PeaceWorks Network Foundation, and any connected initiatives, projects or subsidiaries?
  2. Who approved providing such funds?
  3. What is the oversight and accounting process for how these funds are being spent?
  4. How often and on what dates has such funding been provided?
  5. What were the specific reasons and terms for providing funds, and how are these funds specifically being spent?
  6. Can the Department of State guarantee that none of these funds have been or will be used in the endeavor detailed above, namely the partnership with V15, or any similar effort to exert undue influence over the Israeli political process?
  7. Was there any knowledge from the State Department or other U.S. government officials of the partnership with V15 prior to providing funds to OneVoice?
  8. Does OneVoice’s work with V15 violate its 501(c)(3) status (or the status of the PeaceWorks Network Foundation) as a tax-exempt organization and should such status be revoked?

In the letter, Cruz and Zeldin write, “Of course private American citizens are free to engage in political activities according to their inclinations, but given the overtly partisan nature of this particular case, we are deeply concerned by the relationship that also exists between OneVoice and the U.S. Department of State.”

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman