10 September '10
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.
(Read full article)
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