Report: State Department Funding Anti-government Group in Israel

Netanyahu protest (Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty)
Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. State Department has been funding a left-wing organization in Israel that is helping to promote anti-government protest aimed at bringing down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his judicial reforms.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that U.S. taxpayer funds have been granted to the Movement for Quality Government (MQG), which has participated in the protests that have rocked Israel for weeks.

The protests began after Netanyahu, whose right-wing coalition won a commanding majority in recent elections, began tackling the decades-old problem of the judicial usurpation of power from the legislature.

The Israeli left has reacted in outrage — even calling Netanyahu’s legal, legitimate reforms a “coup” — because it has generally regarded the judiciary as a bastion of leftist ideology and secular values since the early 1990s.

In addition to blocking traffic, protesters have, at times, adopted more radical tactics, such as trapping a member of the legislature in her home — and, more recently, trapping Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, in a hair salon.

Sara netanyahu protest (Eyal Warshavsky/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – 2023/03/04: Israeli protestors hold placards and flags during a demonstration. Over 400,000 people protested all over Israel for the ninth consecutive week against a government plan to overhaul the judiciary. (Photo by Eyal Warshavsky/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Biden administration has suggested that it opposes the reforms, though many of the proposed changes simply parallel U.S. law. Left-wing Jewish groups in the U.S. have supported the ongoing protests as well.

Now, it emerges that The MQG has been receiving support directly from the State Department. The Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reports:

The documents indicate that, since 2020, Foggy Bottom has sent over $38,000 to the Movement for Quality Government (MQG), the Israeli nonprofit stoking nationwide anti-Netanyahu protests that have seen protesters clash with police and target Netanyahu’s family members. MQG is seeking to takedown Netanyahu’s government over his support for major reforms to the Israeli supreme court that would significantly limit its power. The organization petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court earlier this year to oust Netanyahu, claiming he is unfit for office due to ongoing investigations into allegations of political corruption and bribery.

The State Department, which confirmed the funding, calls the group a nonpartisan organization, but its work opposing Netanyahu raises questions about how the group was able to obtain U.S. funding. The United States typically avoids funding foreign partisan groups to avoid claims of political meddling. Even before MQG emerged as the leading force behind the current wave of anti-Netanyahu protests, it made a name for itself as a leading critic of the Israeli right, which has long seen Netanyahu as its leader. Given the Biden administration’s chilly diplomatic relationship with Netanyahu—which includes repeated criticism of Israeli settlement construction and the decision to launch an unprecedented FBI probe into Israel’s anti-terrorism operations—the U.S. funding to MQG has come under new scrutiny.

The Obama administration was also thought to have interfered in Israeli politics, using State Department funding through a group called V15 in a failed effort to defeat Netanyahu in 2015.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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