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January 28, 2015 7:00 pm

State Department-Funded Group Reportedly Working to Unseat Netanyahu

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A US government-funded group is working with a political organization in Israel to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel's upcoming election. Photo: Cherie Cullen. – A US State Department-funded group is partnering with an Israeli grassroots political organization in an effort to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Jewish state’s upcoming March election, according to reports.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday that OneVoice International—an activist organization founded in 2002 that seeks to “empower” Israelis and Palestinians to pressure elected officials to support a two-state solution—is teaming up with an Israeli grassroots group called V15, which recently hired a former Obama campaign strategist to persuade Israelis to vote against Netanyahu.

Haaretz reported that Jeremy Bird, a 36-year-old American political strategist who served as national field director for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, has joined V15 to support the organization’s grassroots efforts.

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Bird told Haaretz that his strategy is to adapt his door-knocking campaign strategy for Israel in order to “speak with enough people here to replace the government.”

V15 is allegedly behind the growing “Anyone but Bibi” campaign (referring to Netanyahu’s nickname) in Israel. Yet one of the organizers of V15, Nimrod Dweck, said his group’s goal was not to endorse any specific candidate, but rather to “put your ego aside for the greater good.”

Christina Taler, a spokesperson for OneVoice, told the Washington Free Beacon that her group is working with V15 to focus on voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns, and is not engaged in partisan activities.

“We’ve formed a partnership with [V15], but it’s important to know we’re absolutely nonpartisan,” Taler said. “Our biggest emphasis and focus right now is just getting people out to vote.”

Taler also denied that any State Department funding is going towards “any of the activities we’re doing right now whatsoever,” and said the funds were used last spring to build support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations spearheaded by Secretary of State John Kerry.

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