John McLaughlin, the Republican strategist hired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his successful reelection campaign, warned Sunday that US President Barack Obama went further than has been reported in meddling with Israel's democracy.
McLaughlin spoke on the New York AM 970 channel's "The Cats Roundtable" radio show, which was cited by The Hill, in an interview roughly a week after the Senate launched a probe investigating Obama's involvement in potentially funding the leftist V15 campaign meant to oust Netanyahu.
"What was not well reported in the American media is that President Obama and his allies were playing in the election to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu," McLaughlin explained.
He elaborated, noting "there was money moving that included taxpayer US dollars, through non-profit organizations. And there were various liberal groups in the United States that were raising millions to fund a campaign called V15 against Prime Minister Netanyahu."
The V15 campaign, whose name is shorthand for "Victory 2015," was said to be a subsidiary of the OneVoice Movement, which reportedly received $350,000 in State Department grants from Obama. Officials have claimed the money stopped last November before Knesset elections.
Further, V15 was led by former Obama staffers, with McLaughlin noting that former Obama political operative Jeremy Bird guided the effort against Netanyahu.
After Netanyahu handily defeated Labor by a margin of 30 to 24, V15 co-founder Nimrod Dweck claimed in an interview on MSNBC that "not a single cent" of US taxpayer money had gone to their campaign, despite the obviously well-funded slick media blitz the group had been engaged in.
Using the Arabs
During elections Netanyahu warned that foreign funded NGOs were busing Arab voters en masse to increase their turnout and thereby harm the chances of a right-wing coalition. The statements led to a backlash, which Obama has also opined on.
But McLaughlin revealed there was indeed an effort "to organize the (Israeli) Arabs into one party and teach them about voter turnout."
"The State Department people in the end of January, early February, expedited visas for (Israeli) Arab leaders to come to the United States to learn how to vote," McLaughlin exposed.
He added, "there were people in the United States that were organizing them to vote in one party so they would help the left-of-center candidate, (Yitzhak) Herzog, that the Obama administration favored."
McLaughlin wasn't the only one warning about Obama's interference in the Israeli elections.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) told Fox News on Saturday that V15 was "running an ACORN, Obama Organizing for America-type campaign over there with the digital ads, the billboards, the phones. They were targeting Israeli voters."
"I think the president, Tuesday night, felt like he lost," said Zeldin, who together with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been questioning Obama's involvement in OneVoice.
Another fallout from the elections has been Obama threatening to pull support for Israel at the UN, after Netanyahu said days before the vote that a Palestinian state wouldn't be established if he was reelected - a position he quickly distanced from.