The European Union recently undermined Israel’s sovereignty by allowing its name to be used as a “partner” of the recent anti-Netanyahu campaign. Several American and British liberal philanthropies also improperly allowed their organizations’ names to be used as “partners” of the recent anti-Netanyahu electoral campaign.
BBC Watch pointed out (30 March weekly digest), that BBC Radio 4’s Kevin Connolly reported Israel’s election results on March 19th. Inter alia, BBC’s Connolly stressed that “Foreign governments, of course, are far too well-behaved to interfere in the internal politics of a democratic state.”
In fact, however, the European Union actually did allow itself to be presented as a “partner” of the anti-Netanyahu campaign; an EU logo is prominently displayed, to this day, in the list of “partners” on the One Voice website. To remind, One Voice’s logo appeared in the V15 campaign Facebook posts; One Voice also hosted V15 updates on its website. Going to the “News and Events” on the One Voice site, clicking on right-left arrows reveals One Voice’s heavy promotion of the V15 in (Victory 2015) anti-Netanyahu electoral campaign.
In written correspondence with Mattot Arim, an Israeli NGO, an EU official agreed that interfering in foreign elections is inappropriate. Nonetheless the EU delegation refused to remove the EU logo from the list of One Voice partners where it still appears.
Several liberal American philanthropies can also be seen in the list of “partners” on the One Voice website which heavily promoted the anti-Netanyahu campaigning.
At least three of these liberal philanthropies (High Atlas Foundation, Skoll Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation) appear to be 501c3 organizations hence subject to the following IRS regulation: “Section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. [P]ublic statements of position made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.”
Allowing one’s organization’s name to continue to feature on a website after that website has started campaigning would certainly seem to constitute an instance of “indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign …in opposition to…any candidate for elective public office” and/or “public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in …opposition to any candidate for public office “. But the 501c3 organizations seemed untroubled by this. Did these organizations believe that in the Obama era it is OK for liberal groups to flaunt IRS rules & regulations? It is conjectured that the so-called “IRS targeting controversy”, in which political opponents of Obama were significantly mistreated by the IRS — compared to pro-Obama groups, might have caused an untroubled attitude. Wikipedia reports that a 2013 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 55% of respondents believed that the “IRS targeting controversy” indeed raised questions about the Obama administration’s integrity (in connection with the IRS’s handling of politically sensitive tax exempt organizations); 33% blamed Obama directly for the IRS targeting fiasco.
Various British philanthropies also allowed their name to be used as “partners” of the anti-Netanyahu campaigners. There were however a few philanthropies in Great Britain who did have enough integrity to remove their logos from the One Voice website after having been advised that their good names were being flaunted in connection with a political campaign.
Jeremy Ben-David, an Israeli intellectual property expert of British extraction, told this author: “I am appalled at the involvement in internal Israeli politics by an coalition of groups actively advocating radical left-wing policies and linking directly to the V15 campaign which is playing an active part in the Israeli elections – an opposition campaign to remove Israel’s prime minister. What has happened is clearly the de facto transfer of goodwill from a charitable organization to a political campaign. As such it is grossly improper.”
Susie Dym is spokesperson for Mattot Arim, an Israeli grassroots
organization working toward peace-for-peace since 1992