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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

A Big Deal: Bipartisan Senate Panel Investigates Obama Link to Anti-Netanyahu Electioneering

Monday, March 16th, 2015

{Originally posted to author’s website, Liberty Unyielding}

As Israel closes in on the national election scheduled for Tuesday, 17 March, Fox News has come out with an exclusive report.  The U.S. Senate has appointed a bipartisan panel to investigate the use of funds donated from the Obama State Department to the organization OneVoice, which in January partnered with an Israeli anti-Netanyahu group, V-2015 (or V15) to import Obama’s own campaign operatives for the election.  The goal of V15 and OneVoice:  to defeat Netanyahu’s Likud coalition in the Knesset.

That this inquiry has bipartisan agreement is obviously significant.  Senators on both sides of the aisle think something stinks — and that’s just the first-order conclusion.

The Fox story outlines the initial concern of the investigation: the $350,000 the State Department has funneled to OneVoice.  State says the funding is unrelated to the V15 effort in the Israeli election:

One expert told FoxNews.com earlier this month the State Department grants constituted indirect administration funding of the anti-Netanyahu campaign by providing OneVoice with the $350,000 — even though State Department officials said the funding stopped in November, ahead of the announcement of the Israeli election.

Fox quotes an NGO funding expert who considers that a bit disingenuous:

Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor, which tracks money flows to unmask non-governmental organizations that deviate from their stated human rights or humanitarian agendas, said even ostensibly unrelated grants keep an organization going during periods it is not engaged in political activity.

But there’s another reason to parse the timeline closely here.

The timeline

The story has expanded since late January, with additional evidence that U.S. groups are involved in an effort to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu.  Alana Goodman reported at Washington Free Beacon in early February that a U.S.-based group called Ameinu (motto: “Liberal values; Progressive Israel”) sent out a fundraising memo on 17 December 2014, outlining a very Jeremy Bird-like plan to “get out the vote” and transform the Israeli political landscape.

The December memo cited consultation with “American experts,” including Obama campaign operatives.

We are already in touch with a highly talented combination of knowledgeable Israeli professionals and American experts with experience in similar recent operations, including the Obama presidential campaign.

Ameinu president Kenneth Bob told Free Beacon in February that Ameinu had indeed consulted with Bird and V15, but had since parted ways with them:

[Bob] later said that V15 and Bird’s consulting group 270 Strategies were involved in the discussions early on, but have since parted ways with Ameinu.

“When we first began soliciting funds for GOTV efforts ahead of the Israeli elections, we spoke to a number of entities with projects in mind, including Strategies 270, which ultimately became V15,” said Bob.

But that disclosure, even assuming it’s accurate, puts the State Department’s claim about when its funding for OneVoice stopped in an interesting light.  It’s obvious why the Senate thinks it needs investigating.

The State Department, as cited by Fox News, said its funding for OneVoice stopped in November (emphasis added):

State Department officials said the funding stopped in November, ahead of the announcement of the Israeli election.

The early election in Israel was announced on 2 December 2014, when Netanyahu’s governing coalition was officially dissolved.  That means interested parties – like V15, OneVoice, Jeremy Bird, and Ameinu – were certain, less than a month after the State Department funding to OneVoice stopped, that there would be an election.

That alone means it’s hard to make the case that State Department funding was irrelevant to a OneVoice project decision that could have been in progress no later than 2 December.  OneVoice clearly could have been using, in December – and probably in January and February – money it received from the State Department in November.

But OneVoice and its partners could very well have been eying an Israeli election project before 2 December.  And since we also know that Bird and V15 were discussing an election plan with Ameinu sometime before 17 December, it becomes, at the very least, increasingly unbelievable that the OneVoice funding Bird and V15 ultimately went with was on no one’s radar screen earlier than late January, when Bird and his cohort showed up in Israel.

The big picture

The announcement of an early Israeli election didn’t come out of the blue.  In fact, it had been talked about as a possibility for months, and was publicly discussed as likely throughout the month of November 2014.  From statements by cabinet ministers in September, to speculation in October about the meaning of early Likud primaries (see here as well), to MSM statements in November that the “smart betting” was on an early election, to pointed disclosures in mid-November that Netanyahu was telling Likud leaders to get ready for an early election, the word was out.

November, or even October, was when advocacy groups and full-time political professionals would have been putting their scope on an early Israeli election.

Indeed, the phrasing of Kenneth Bob’s statement about the discussions with Bird and V15 evokes a timeline that probably did start earlier than 2 December 2014 – a bare 15 days before the Ameinu fundraising memo went out with its shaping-the-vote plan.

In that light, the timing of State’s last release of funds to OneVoice – according to State, in November 2014 – might even look like a severance for appearances’ sake.  If the Fox News report conveys the Senate’s concerns accurately, one of them seems to be with the coincident timing of Marc Ginsberg’s resignation announcement from OneVoice.  Ginsberg made that announcement on 11 November 2014.

By 11 November, as the links above illustrate, it was received wisdom in MSM reporting that Netanyahu would call for an election in early 2015.  But 11 November was also less than two weeks after the Obama administration had thrown its infamous tantrum by “leaking” the news that someone in its ranks thought of Bibi as a “chickens***.”  Moreover, 11 November was one week after the Democrats lost the Senate to a Republican wave in the mid-term election, and Obama thus lost Congress for the balance of his presidential term.

At that point, Obama’s actions on more than one front – e.g., executive amnesty; executive restrictions on firearms; ignoring Iran’s violations of the 2013 “nuclear deal” in order to press ahead with ill-advised negotiations – were beginning to show an increasing recklessness and disdain, not only for public opinion but for the prerogatives of Congress.  It would actually have been quite in character for the administration’s post-election agenda to include a strategy to campaign against Netanyahu in the widely anticipated Israeli election.

Congress may or may not be able to turn anything up with this investigation.  The Obama administration is likely to stonewall, as it so often does, and the non-profits involved may be able – ironically enough – to hide behind the IRS in declining to reveal their financial information.  (This although it may well be a violation of IRS regulations for OneVoice to fund V15’s activities in the first place – a point Ted Cruz has twice made official inquiries about.)

Apparent certitude and unity in the Senate

The fact that this is a bipartisan investigation is telling, however.

Senate Democrats aren’t moving to protect the administration from scrutiny.  That may represent fall-out from the administration’s thinly-veiled attack on New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, the Democrat who has opposed Obama on both his Iran and Cuba policies.  In part, at least, Senate Democrats are probably sending a signal of their own to the Obama White House.

But this goes beyond not protecting Obama.  The Democrats could have simply not participated, and thereby split the baby: neither protecting Obama nor helping the Republicans put his officials in the hot seat.

Instead, they’ve signed up for a legitimate inquiry: an inquiry whose outcome will matter.  The Fox story indicates that the investigation has been ongoing, apparently for some weeks before the public heard about it.  It’s possible – even likely – that the senators know things we don’t (not yet, at any rate).  And the Democrats, at least, can’t be in this just for the theater.

It would be remarkable for both parties to undertake an investigation they didn’t think anything would come of.  The opposition party (the GOP, in this case) would still be motivated to try to air improprieties in the president’s administration.  But the president’s own party doesn’t have a motive to involve itself, if it doesn’t expect to achieve anything more than that.

It’s not clear precisely what’s going on.  News of the bipartisan panel has been leaked just three days before the Israeli election.  The Senate is well aware that that, too, is political timing.  Whatever’s going on, it seems to be something big.

Some Democrats Aim Venom, Charge Israeli Prime Minister with ‘Fear-Mongering’

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

In a stunning, nearly unbelievable attack by what has been a traditional base of support for the Jewish State, Democrats gathered Tuesday to attack Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following his speech to Congress.

A cluster of 56 Democrats boycotted the historic address to the legislators and it is unclear how many of those even bothered to watch a broadcast of the speech.

President Barack Obama himself said he personally was involved in a conference call with “European partners” but had scanned a transcript. No one at the White house watched the speech, according to reports.

None of that stopped a group of Democrats from gathering to launch a fierce media attack on the prime minister as soon as the speech was over.

Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday of “fear-mongering” and called Israel’s top leader a “child” in “Disneyland.”

Netanyahu was likened to “Dick Cheney” and told that Democrats “resented him sharing his views” in what they described as a “condescending manner.”

Reaction by Democrats and Republicans that followed in sites online, however, was swift and equally venomous.

“I wish we had such a leader here in America!” wrote one reader on The Gateway Pundit. “America stands with Israel!”

Another observed, “The oh so tolerant Democrats hate any views expressed that are not their own.”

It’s an odd position for Democrats to be in, particularly Jewish lawmakers who are in a double bind, opposing their commander-in-chief or their natural Jewish constituency.

An “unscientific” survey conducted by the American Jewish Congress over the past week determined that 72 percent of self-identified American Jews believe Netanyahu was right to come and speak to the Congress on Tuesday.

So Democratic lawmakers will also have to take that finding into account when they stump for votes in 2016 as well: most of those polled form their natural constituency.

Now the question is, how many Jewish Democrats have been offended by Democratic disrespect to Israel’s prime minister?

Senate Resolution Unanimously Welcomes Netanyahu

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously passed by voice vote a resolution welcoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who will address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

The voice vote allowed Democrats to support the bill without their names being printed, and the unanimous vote was a message to the White House that the Democratic party is not his pocket concerning the deal he is negotiating with Iran.

The resolution was co-sponsored by 50 Republican senators but not a single Democrat.

The resolution states in part:

Whereas, in particular, the Government of Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a tremendous threat both to the United States and Israel;

Whereas the negotiations between the so-called P5+1 countries and Iran over its illicit nuclear weapons program are entering a key phase, and Congress has heard the perspectives, both publicly and privately, of a number of close allies involved in the negotiations;…

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate

–warmly welcomes the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his visit to the United States, which provides a timely opportunity to reinforce the United States-Israel relationship;

–eagerly awaits the address of Prime Minister Netanyahu before a joint session of the United States Congress;….

–continues to strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself from threats to its very survival.

John Cornyn, who initiated the resolution, said that “for some reason, some people are trying to turn this into a public controversy, but to me and I imagine to many others, it is mystifying and somewhat disappointing.

“Both of our countries are threatened by radical Islam….

“I would also argue that we have no bigger foreign policy challenges than stopping the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons and keeping those weapons out of the hands of terrorists. A nuclear Iran would make this world a far more dangerous place. For starters, it would dramatically increase Iranian leverage, Iranian power, and Iranian aggression in the Middle East.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported that a pro-Israel political strategist said, “By refusing to block this resolution that passed unanimously, Democrats are showing they’re still grappling with this new political situation surrounding the U.S.–Israel relationship….

“And you can see part of the internal struggle of these members play out in public when Democrats don’t cosponsor the resolution, but don’t object when it’s brought up for unanimous consent. Even the most liberal Democratic senator didn’t object when it would have been easy to do so if they wanted.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu seen as he prepares for his speech ahead of his speech next week in Congress

Prime Minister Netanyahu seen as he prepares for his speech ahead of his speech next week in Congress

Poll: Americans Divided by Race and Party on Netanyahu in Congress

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Most Americans think that President Barack Obama should meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he visits the United States next month, but a large plurality disapproves of House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation for him to speak in Congress, according to a new poll.

The different results made interesting reading for Israeli newspaper readers, with Haaretz headlining that “Americans Disapprove on Netanyahu Invitation to Netanyahu” and the Times of Israel offering ” Poll: Most Americans think Obama should meet PM in March.”

Both headlines are correct but neither one tells the whole story.

Details of the poll, carried out by the British-based YouGov in association with the Huffington Post, revealed a sharp split along racial lines.

Concerning whether it was “appropriate” for Boehner to invite Netanyahu two weeks before the Israeli elections:

All respondents: Inappropriate – 47 percent

Appropriate: – 30 percent

Blacks and Hispanics: Inappropriate – 67 percent

Appropriate – 12 percent.

An even sharper difference was shown when respondents were asked if their local Congressman should attend Netanyahu’s speech:

All respondents  Yes – 46 percent

No – 24 percent

Black respondents: Yes – 16 percent

No – 47 percent

More than half of the respondents – 58 percent – said that President Barack Obama should meet with the Prime Minister , something which the president has said he will not do, while most Afro-Americans said Obama should not meet with him.

Not surprisingly, half of Republican respondents said their Congressman should attend Netanyahu’s speech, while only 30 percent of Democrats agreed.

J Street Poll Shows Obama Out of Touch with US Jews

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

A poll of American Jewish voters carried out by the left-wing J Street lobby shows an overwhelming number of Jew support building in some Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The results of the survey should be a wake-up call to President Barack Obama, who has surrounded himself with left-wing Jewish advisers and has given J Street a free pass to the White House while distancing traditional Jewish lobbies, particularly AIPAC.

J Street has been a consistent opponent of almost everything the Netanyahu government does, as reflected in President president’s holy ghost, otherwise known as the “Peace Process.”

A whopping 72 percent of polled American Jewish voters said they support construction in Jewish communities that are not outside the core settlement blocs. Twenty percent of that number back building for Jews in all of Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem.

Only 28 percent said Israel should freeze all construction in the same areas.

All of the respondents in the poll voted in last week’s mid-term elections. Nearly one-third of the respondents did not describe their affiliation with a stream of Judaism, while the breakdown for the others was 37 percent Reform, 20 percent Conservative and 10 percent Orthodox.

That means that the support for building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has deepened among Reform Jews, previously thought to be heavily left-wing and against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

A majority of American Jews polled also said they have a favorable view of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, contradicting assumptions that most Jews in the United States oppose him and his policies.

The survey also verified other estimates that 69 percent of American Jews voted for Democratic candidates last week, another indication that President Obama cannot assume that Jewish Democrats back his and J Street’s view that settlers are “illegal” and “illegitimate.”

The Obama administration’s constant pointing fingers at Israel for allegedly blocking a peace agreement appears to be wearing thin on American Jews.

While 85 percent support an active role for the United States in the Arab-Israeli conflict, slightly more than half of the respondents “oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States publicly stating its disagreements with Israel.”

In answer to the question, “Would you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States exerting pressure on Israel to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace?” 54 percent replied in the negative.

The poll also showed massive support for Israel in the Protective Edge counter-terror war with Hamas this past summer. The 80 percent approval showed how little J Street’s lobby against Israel has influenced American Jews.

Most of its influence seems to have been felt inside the White House, and anyone thinking of running for the Democratic presidential nomination in two years will pay close attention to the poll.

Hillary Clinton is the most highly favored candidate among the Jewish who were polled, winning support of 66-69 percent if Jeb Bush were running as the GOP nominee, and 70 percent if Rand Paul were the Republican candidate.

The poll also showed that only 25 percent of U.S. Jews support the Boycott Israel-BDS movement.

As usual, Israel was near the bottom of the list of subjects that concern American Jews, but more significant was that “terrorism and national security” were the number four issue, after the economy, health care and Social Security/Medicare.

The Islamic State beheadings of two Americans, one of the them Jewish, and an increasing number of Islamic-linked attacks on American soil have brought terror closer to home and brought all Americans to better understand Israel’s refusal to consider sponsors of terrorism “peace partners.”

Reflecting the overall mood of the United States, 57 percent of American Jews “feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track” in the United States.

Nevertheless, Obama remains more popular among American Jews than among most other voting blocs. Fifty-seven percent either “somewhat” or “strongly” approve of how Obama is handling his job as president and 53 percent approved the way Congress is functioning.

Why is Soros’s Money Kosher, but Sheldon’s Not?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

$39.3 million dollars.

That’s how much George Soros and friends plan to steer to left-wing groups in America through the Democracy Alliance in 2014, according to an exclusive report in the Washington Free Beacon (they’ve been getting a lot good scoops lately).

A secretive dark money group backed by George Soros and other liberal mega-donors is looking to steer nearly $40 million to left-wing groups in 2014 to support high-profile political and policy efforts, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The documents reveal for the first time the Democracy Alliance’s full portfolio of supported organizations, a large network of powerful liberal groups looking to win key electoral and legislative victories.

The Democracy Alliance connect major donors to influential left-wing activist groups to affect political change.

Doesn’t this sound a lot like the New Israel Fund?

Among the recipients is Organizing for Action, a Barack Obama/White House sanctioned advocacy group.

The Free Beacon’s report says the secretive Democracy Alliance is responsible for around 20% of the financial support for the left-wing organizations they’re helping fund.

The Democracy Alliance does not actually accept those contributions. Instead, it connects donors to a network of groups that it has vetted and strategically endorsed. The goal is to create a collaborative fundraising apparatus that maximizes the effectiveness of large contributions to left-wing groups.

Personally, I have no problem with Soros doing this. The free market of ideas should be free, even for the super rich.

But it does raise the very real question, why is George Soros’s money kosher when it comes to influencing politics and elections (and obviously not only through this organization), while Sheldon Adelson’s money is not?

We all know the answer to that.

Perhaps Adelson needs to also set up an organization that quietly directs funds indirectly to the causes he supports.

Would that win him that highly vaunted Kashrut certification against left-wing criticism?

Of course not, but it would shine the hypocrisy light a little brighter on the double standard.

Jewish Democrats Blast Kerry for ‘Apartheid’ Remark

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Jewish Democrats called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Monday to apologize for warning that the failure to achieve a two-state solution could lead to apartheid.

“We express our deep disappointment that the Secretary of State has chosen to invoke the specter of ‘apartheid’ in discussing his concerns about the failing peace process,” the National Jewish Democratic Council said in a statement.

Kerry made the remarks during a meeting of the Trilateral Commission, which includes senior officials from the United States, Europe, Russia and Japan.

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative,” Kerry said, according to the Daily Beast, “because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.”

The remarks drew sharp criticisms from Jewish groups, chief among them the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, but the NJDC statement was notable in that partisan groups rarely criticize party leaders.

“We reject entirely that racially-based governance inherent in that word in any way describes Israel, as well as the implication that the government of Israel uses such prejudice to formalize disadvantages for any of its citizens or neighbors,” the NJDC said. “It is surprising that Secretary Kerry would use this term and he should apologize and eschew the use of that formulation in the future.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is Jewish and who has strongly defended the Obama administration’s Israel record, also slammed the remarks on Twitter. “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and any linkage between Israel and apartheid is nonsensical and ridiculous,” she said.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-democrats-blast-kerry-for-apartheid-remark/2014/04/29/

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