Malcolm Hoenlein Warns American Groups To Stop Funding Israel Parties

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said that American groups should not intervene in the upcoming Israeli elections.

In a phone interview Thursday with JTA while he was in Israel, Hoenlein said that American organizations should not fund any side ahead of the March 17 vote.

“I don’t think it’s healthy that foreign financing come here,” he said. “Israel should be above partisanship. It only can be harmful to be both sides.”

Hoenlein said he wasn’t referring to any specific group and opposed foreign intervention on all sides of the campaign.

His comments came against the backdrop of controversy regarding V15, an Israeli organization opposing the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has partnered with OneVoice, a nonprofit that works toward Israeli-Palestinian peace. Netanyahu’s campaign has alleged that V15 is breaking Israeli campaign finance law by accepting foreign funds to support Netanyahu’s rivals.

Hoenlein, whose umbrella group has 51 organizations, also downplayed concerns that Netanyahu’s March speech to a joint session of Congress will cause further tension in U.S.-Israel ties. The speech has come under heavy criticism for being scheduled without consulting the Obama administration, for intending to support sanctions on Iran that President Barack Obama opposes and for coming two weeks before the Israeli election.

“Israel cannot be a partisan issue,” Hoenlein said. “I do not think the prime minister’s speech will do what people think. He did not come to attack the president or take sides.”

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Malcolm Hoenlein Warns American Groups To Stop Funding Israel Parties

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close