One of the most infuriating things about the struggle to keep a sovereign Jewish state is the degree of interference in its affairs by Western governments and interests — which are, with very few exceptions, anti-Israel in practice if not in word.
The Obama Administration has recently expressed its anger that Israel’s PM Netanyahu wants to ‘interfere in its affairs’ by accepting an invitation to speak to Congress on the subject of Iran. But interference in Israel’s affairs by Western governments is widespread and, unlike Netanyahu’s proposed speech, mostly hidden.
Many of these groups work closely with anti-Israel UN forums like the UN Commission on Human Rights), providing raw data — mostly unsupported allegations from sources in terrorist organizations like Hamas — which are sanitized and used to buttress legal and diplomatic warfare against Israel. B’Tselem today is releasing a report which accuses the IDF and Netanyahu government of committing war crimes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge this summer.
Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition [January 26] that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu’s national camp in the March 2015 Knesset Elections.
One indication of the generous financing is that it has now flown in a team of five American campaign experts (including Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director) who will run the campaign out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building.
V-2015 is careful not to support a specific party – rather “just not Bibi”. As such, the foreign funds pouring into the campaign are not subject to Israel’s campaign finance laws.
I question the ‘grassroots’ character of a movement that involves a 5-man team of high-priced professionals including Bird, whose other clients include Hillary Clinton. And I question the honesty of claiming to be nonpartisan when you oppose one side in what is essentially a two-sided race.
The One Voice organization has close connections to the Obama Administration, and it lists the US State Department and the European Commission as ‘partners‘ (ironically, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry refuse to meet with Netanyahu on the grounds that it would constitute ‘interference’ in Israel’s election!)
It is reasonable to assume that if the details of this Astroturfing campaign paid for by elements hostile to the state should become well-known in Israel that it will backfire. On the other hand, recent revelations of the anti-Zionist attitudes of several of Labor’s candidates — shocking to naive observers like myself — didn’t seem to hurt them in the polls.
It isn’t easy for a story like this to “grow legs” in Israel. All of the TV and radio broadcasters in Israel and most of the print media — a significant exception being the “Israel Hayom” newspaper — lean left and oppose PM Netanyahu. There is now an attempt in the Knesset (temporarily frozen due to the upcoming election) to ban free newspapers of a certain size and frequency of publication. It precisely fits Israel Hayom, of course.
Right-wing media have had a hard time here. The Arutz 7 radio station was unable to get a broadcast license, operated as a pirate station for a time, and finally was given a license by a special act of the Knesset — only to have it taken away by Israel’s Supreme Court. Now it broadcasts only on the Internet.
As an American, I thought I was familiar with polarized politics and the extreme tactics used by the Left to try to stifle free discussion of controversial issues. But in the US, the Right has managed to develop effective communications channels, while in even-more-polarized Israel, the Left has maintained its almost-monopoly on the ‘real’ media.
There is also a constant din of scandals (corruption, secret recordings, sex, you name it) that distracts people from the real scandal — the fact that our enemies are already inside the walls of our city and are trying to manipulate us into opening its gates.