The V15 campaign is nothing less than an internationally backed campaign to defeat a democratically elected incumbent government they don’t like.
Far from simply sharing political interests, V15 and the Labor Party have very close ties · While the legal significance of this requires examination, one thing is clear: there’s a lot of foreign money tied up in the “Zionist Camp” and the campaign to defeat Bibi
Recently, the activity of V15 and One Voice, those “spontaneous” groups established to defeat the reigning government in elections, were revealed to the public at large. They have been pounding the pavement, going door-to-door, and conducting a campaign with a very simple message: “Anyone but Bibi” and “Bring Back Hope.”
So, who is their alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu? After all, despite the strident denials, the people behind this campaign are a long list of known Labor activists. They understand that Labor’s uncharismatic leader, Isaac “Bujie” Herzog can’t do the job alone, and so they’ve decided to lend a hand.
V15 is funded by the resource-rich One Voice, which is based in the US, where it’s known as the Peace Network Foundation, supported by a holding company known as Peaceworks, which is run by a businessman named Daniel Lubetzky. The organization is defined as an “international organization” whose goal is “solving” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I’ve exposed the partisan nature of One Voice in Mida before, and these ties have been maintained over the years. Veteran Labor activist and One Voice head Tal Harris was replaced by Laura Talinovsky, former parliamentary advisor of Shelly Yachimovitz. Roi Neumann, One Voice Spokesman, became Tzipi Livni’s Spokesman in 2014. Yoel Hasson, member of One Voice’s Executive, in spite of his vehement denials on the subject, is now a realistic number 16 on the Labor Party’s candidate list. Another member of One Voice’s executive is another Labor member, Assaf Halahmi, who was elected to the Party Committee four years ago and today serves as a party member in the Ramat Hasharon branch.
Even if all this activity is technically legal, it’s still very problematic. What makes it worse is the massive funding from foreign governments. Democracy means rule by the people, and the intervention of foreign countries is nothing short of subversion. According to the screenshot below from One Voice’s website (accessed on January 29th this year), One Voice’s funding sources are “corporations and governmental sources in Israel, the PA and the international community.”
Unsurprisingly, days after this statement, One Voice changed their list of donors, arguing that it receives its money from private donors, with the exception of a one-time grant from the American government in 2013.
But even this isn’t accurate: last month, Christina Taylor, in charge of grants to One Voice in the US, said told Front Page Magazine that One Voice had received two grants from the American State Department in2014. Taylor claimed that the money was not meant to assist intervening in Israeli elections. The present heightened activity and presence of V15 in elections makes this disavowal dubious to say the least.
In addition, the list of “partners” to One Voice on the English website includes the European Union, the U.S. State Department, and the British Labour and Conservative Parties. Strangely, none of these last appear on the Hebrew-language website. Instead, we see other partners, including “Shatil” – the practical arm of the New Israel Fund.
These facts raise serious questions: Is the money provided by foreign governments being used in a campaign to defeat the incumbent government? How deep does this involvement go?
This question was raised by Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Lee Zeldin, who demanded the State Department investigate its conduct with One Voice and cut off funding.
Local or International?
One Voice is billed as an international organization with branches in the US, Israel, and Europe. However, to prevent problems, none of the local branches are connected to the main headquarters, and appear to be listed separately in their host countries. Thus, it can declare in tax reports that it does not “maintain offices, employees or agents outside the United States,” and that it did not “take part in activities…to promote a campaign for or against a candidate for public office” – all this while engaging in just that.
One Voice in the US will try to convince the tax authorities there that it simply provides “grants” to its “subsidiaries,” and it warns them to be “non-partisan.” One Voice will try and convince the authorities that it inspects its subsidiaries’ activitie to ensure this. Since activity in both the United States and Israel is run by Daniel Lubetsky, this is seriously doubtful. A similar problem could arise in the Israeli branch, listed at the Corporations Registrar as an organization whose goals are “promoting public causes, involving civilians from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Replacing the Prime Minister doesn’t appear in the description.
Meanwhile, “Anyone but Bibi” is gaining steam: One Voice and V15 are pushing the public to vote for any party that ensures a change of government, and in this case the Labor Party’s faction is the only realistic option.
As of now, the questions are far more satisfactory than the answers. It would seem that for the left, all ends justify the means. But the public deserves to know the truth.
“One Voice is not calling for votes for a particular candidate, but is a partner in a campaign whose purpose is to bring about a new leadership. One Voice has cooperated with all parties including Shas, Likud, Yesh Atid, Kadima, etc. While Prime Minister Netanyahu was conducting negotiations, One Voice organized a campaign of support for him. Our list of donors was handed over to the State Comptroller and does not include foreign governments. This is a baseless invention.”
“The organization does not act to promote particular parties. It is in favor of replacing the Netanyahu government and calls to vote for center-left parties. Its funding sources rely on a number of central donors: Daniel Abrahms, Daniel Lubetsky, Ori Weiss, and Alon Kastiel. We don’t believe that there is a violation of the law here. More than that, we had no need for a Likud appeal. Already two weeks ago, we approached the State Comptroller to initiate a process of pre-ruling to ensure everything is legally in order. The documents were accepted in his office and we are waiting for his answer. Nimrod Dweck is manager of the campaign and was one of the founders of V15. Itamar Weitzmann was also one of its founders. Beyond this, there are thousands of volunteers and activists in the organization. This group of volunteers operates the organization’s Facebook page and website.”
Editor’s note: The State Comptroller has not validated the activity of either One Voice or V15; the matter will be brought before the Israeli Supreme Court soon.
English translation by Avi Woolf.