web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Partners For Peace Or Inappropriate Interference?


The announcement of a new round of U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, set to begin Sept. 2, has been accompanied by an intense debate on whether these direct talks will achieve serious and meaningful results. While optimists hope for success, there are many complexities: borders, settlements, recognition and “identity issues” such as Jerusalem, historical narratives and refugee claims.

In this environment, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding a campaign run by a non-governmental organization (NGO) known as the Geneva Initiative. This political advocacy effort is aimed at convincing Israelis, in the words of Geneva Initiative head Gadi Baltiansky, “that there is a [Palestinian] partner – that the problem is specifically with us.”

The campaign includes video clips of various Palestinian officials stressing the current window of opportunity to reach a peace deal. USAID also is funding a parallel campaign aimed at a Palestinian audience.

For the most part USAID, as its name suggests, has been involved primarily in projects related to Palestinian economic development, including parks and a sports facility in Tulkarem. An NGO-run advertising campaign marks a major shift in U.S. government policy. As in the case of NGO political campaigns funded by European governments, this process bypasses the elected Israeli leadership. Such direct interference in the internal affairs of other democracies is a blatant violation of international norms.

At the same time, the USAID funding is notable in that it is relatively transparent. While the USAID website makes no mention of this campaign, the Geneva Initiative released a statement about it: “The campaign is supported with the generous support of the American people through USAID.” News of the funding has been reported and criticized widely in the Israeli media.

This transparency stands in sharp contrast to the European Union’s secrecy regarding all aspects of the funding process for political advocacy programs operated through Israeli, Palestinian and other NGOs.

However, the transparency is partial, and the ads do not reference the U.S. government’s role and backing. Thus, Israelis hear Palestinian officials promoting peace without knowing that the message is brought to them courtesy of the U.S. administration, which has its own political interests. The absence of full public disclosure or congressional oversight for this unusual venture is problematic.

Indeed, these issues are at the core of the draft legislation recently approved by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. The measure, dubbed the Disclosure Requirements for [Groups] Supported by Foreign Government Funding bill, will require groups that receive foreign government funding for a specific advertising campaign to acknowledge that funding within the framework of the campaign.

Unfortunately, the New Israel Fund and allied, foreign-funded NGOs have wrongly denounced this clause as anti-democratic – a position that protects the partisan NGO recipients but leaves the Israeli public in the dark.

The problems of NGO non-transparency and lack of oversight are highlighted by the Geneva Initiative itself, which is based out of an organization known as H.L. Education for Peace. The group is not registered with the Israeli government’s Registrar of Charities (Rasham Ha’Amutot). In this way, the NGO evades reporting to the Israeli public about the massive support received from the European Union, Switzerland and other governments.

This history of secret foreign government funding processes contributes to Israeli skepticism regarding the Geneva Initiative. Claiming to “encourage the Israeli public and policy environment” to support negotiations “in the new political context of a Hamas majority,” this NGO promotes a partisan political agenda.

Many Israelis view the Geneva Initiative as an opposition political movement run by a small group involved in the unsuccessful Oslo negotiations that failed to receive support in the democratic process. Its proposed peace agreement also includes aspects that have been unacceptable to most Israelis, including inadequate security provisions and a highly ambiguous framework for dealing with refugee claims. The foreign government funding for the campaign has not contributed to its public acceptance.

In this context, the USAID ad campaign may lead to results that are the opposite of the intended objectives. Israelis see and hear the way in which the Palestinian Authority-controlled media continues to incite against Israel and to deny the legitimacy of Jewish national self-determination. The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League continue to demonize Israel through apartheid rhetoric and efforts to get the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to open “war crimes” cases against Israeli officials.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Partners For Peace Or Inappropriate Interference?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.
IDF Chief Rabbi: Nothing is Holy to Muslims on Temple Mount except Al Aqsa
Latest Indepth Stories
Greiff-112814-Levaya

My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri

All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.

Charley Levine

Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.

Cravatts-Richard--new

Abbas has been adding new layers of rhetoric to his tactical campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem

The Jew’s crime is his presence.

Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible

Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?

Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

More Articles from Asher Fredman

The announcement of a new round of U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, set to begin Sept. 2, has been accompanied by an intense debate on whether these direct talks will achieve serious and meaningful results. While optimists hope for success, there are many complexities: borders, settlements, recognition and “identity issues” such as Jerusalem, historical narratives and refugee claims.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/partners-for-peace-or-inappropriate-interference/2010/09/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: