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Cruz and Zeldin Demand State Department Investigation over Israeli Election Interference

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Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) teamed up on a strong letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry on January 29. It demanded a thorough investigation into the details behind news reports that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to oust Prime Minister Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli election.

“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Cruz asked in a press statement.

Breitbart News reported on the anti-Netanyahu, left wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz report on a group called “One Voice,” reportedly funded by American donors, is paying for the Obama campaign team. That group is reportedly being led by Obama’s 2012 field director Jeremy Bird, who was also the founder of Battleground Texas, the federal and state Political Action Committee that worked overtime to turn Texas blue in the November 4, 2014 election. They failed miserably.

The Cruz-Zeldin letter to Kerry specifically spelled out Haaretz’s findings including that OneVoice was working with political campaign machine “Victory 15” (V15) to replace Israel’s government. OneVoice is expected to merge with V15 before the March 17 election.

It also detailed one of the lead V15 organizers saying that instead of calling the operation “Anyone but Bibi,” members of V15 merely phrase it slightly differently: “‘We say ‘replace the government,’ so it is not directed at specific individuals. There have been many years of right-wing governments during which little happened, it’s time to change course and give people hope…We will go to homes and we will win…The work with the research team that Bird brought has really ignited sparks…”

The letter expressed pointed concerns over the financial ties OneVoice has to the US State Department. They received grants from the State Department in 2014.

“OneVoice lists the State Department as a partner on its website. In its 2013 annual report, the CEO of OneVoice touted the organization’s work ‘together in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem…made possible by two parallel U.S. Government grants,'” the Cruz-Zeldin letter stated.

“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,” Cruz also commented in the press release statement.

Cruz and Zeldin asked for prompt answers to 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?

“It is completely unacceptable to use U.S. tax dollars to influence the elections in Israel,” said Zeldin in the press release issued by the Cruz office.

“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,” Zeldin added.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.


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