During Barack Obama's recent State of the Union speech, he told America he had no more campaigns to run. But it seems that statement flies in the face of reports that an organization known as “One Voice” has brought in what has been called a "five-man Obama team" to defeat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Included in that five-man team is Jeremy Bird, the national field director for Obama's 2012 campaign, Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director of the Independent Media Review and Analysis, said Monday, citing a report at Haaretz.
That group, Dr. Lerner added, will run the anti-Netanyahu effort out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building. The campaign, known as V-2015, is careful not to support a specific party, but is working to ensure Netanyahu does not win Israel's March election. Because the effort is not supporting any specific candidate or party, Dr. Lerner said, foreign funds -- meaning monies coming from outside Israel -- raised by the campaign are not subject to that country's campaign finance laws.
Jersusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick said that "for whatever reason," Haaretz "chose not to translate this article in its English edition." She noted that Obama said he wouldn't meet with Netanyahu during his upcoming visit citing the proximity to the Israeli elections.
"And Obama, of course believes in protocol and propriety which is why he won't get involved," she wrote on Facebook. "No, he's not getting involved at all. He's just sending his 2012 field campaign manager to Israel to run a campaign to defeat Netanyahu. That's all. No interference whatsoever."
News of the team's arrival in Israel comes just days after the administration accused House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, of “breaking protocol” by inviting Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. It's not the first time Obama operatives have actively worked to undermine and unseat foreign leaders it doesn't like, Breitbart said Monday.
The White House said that "as a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country.” But, the Times of Israel said, that's not entirely true, as former Prime Minister Shimon Perez visited the Clinton White House just less than a month ahead of the 1996 election.
And it's no secret that Obama doesn't like Netanyahu. "You're tired of him -- what about me? I have to deal with him every day," Obama said after former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the Israeli prime minister a "liar." The two leaders thought they were speaking in confidence, but the exchange was caught on an open microphone. As we reported at the time, two GOP lawmakers demanded Obama apologize.
According to its webpage, the "One Voice" movement boasts a number of powerful partners. Among the partners listed is Google, the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program and the United States State Department.