U.S. Taxpayers Foot Bill for Ludicrous Palestinian Authority Propaganda Campaign

Over and over, the Obama administration shows its capacity for misunderstanding Israel and decreasing its own popularity there. Even while bilateral relations are good, it reminds Israelis of why they shouldn’t fundamentally trust this government and that Washington doesn’t understand them at all.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) -- which is supposed to help countries raise their living standards -- gave a $250,000 grant to the H.L. Peace Education Program of the Geneva Initiative. (I wonder if the U.S. Congress considers this to be within AID’s mandate!) The money isn’t paying for potable water, health clinics, or small factories. It's paying for billboards and videos in Israel, featuring the faces of Palestinian and Israeli officials asking:

We are partners -- what about you?

Typical, isn’t it? The implication of the signs and film clips is that the Palestinians are ready for peace, the question is only whether Israel wants it. Should be very effective with Israelis, right? If you have any doubts on that point, read the article about what went on behind the scenes during production from Israel's leading newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. Even the Israeli film crew members were making sarcastic cracks about what the "partners" were saying off-camera.

I should mention that there is also a series of billboards aimed at Palestinians with Israelis featured. Not a single heart or mind will be changed by this waste of money. One of the main Israelis featured is Yossi Beilin, plus others in the opposition in Israel but who were involved in some cases with the sponsoring group. In a sense, the campaign is an advertisement for themselves, not for peace, since these people aren’t in the government.

When writing a biography of Yasir Arafat, I had a long interview list of Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans. One of the few who simply would not respond to my requests was Beilin. One day, a friend said he was next going to meet Beilin, so I asked him to pass along my interview request.

An hour later I spoke again to the friend and asked him what happened. He responded:

Beilin told me that he won’t do it because if he gives an interview he will have to speak well of Arafat, and he told me he doesn’t want to say nice things about that SOB.

In other words, Beilin, pretty much forgotten on today’s Israeli political scene, is a propagandist who believes in what I call “lying for peace.” In this case he is also promoting himself by putting his picture on billboards.