State Department sent taxpayer funds to group trying to oust Netanyahu

The U.S. State Department funneled tax dollars to a group that worked to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Senate report released Tuesday.

OneVoice Movement, a group that supports Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations, received $465,000 in grants from the State Department during a 14-month period ending in November 2014, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report found.

Soon after receiving U.S. funds, OneVoice merged with Israeli group Victory 15, or V15, to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign in Israel with the goal to elect “anybody but Bibi,” a nickname for Netanyahu.

The State Department grants helped OneVoice build its political infrastructure, including voter contact lists, professionally trained organizers and activists, and an expanded social media platform, that was initially intended to mobilize the Israeli electorate to support peace negotiations.

In December 2014, a month after the group stopped receiving U.S. grants, OneVoice diverted its U.S.-funded political resources into its anti-Netanyahu campaign ahead of Israel’s 2015 election, according to the report.

OnceVoice CEO Marc Ginsberg emailed its new plan aimed at ousting Netanyahu to the State Department’s top diplomat in Jerusalem, Michael Ratney, during the grant period. The State Department deleted the correspondence despite the Federal Records Act requirement.

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