In advance of U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in September, the U.S. government, via USAID, helped finance a $250,000 ad campaign run by a non-governmental organization (NGO) known as the Geneva Initiative. The campaign includes billboards, newspaper ads, and video clips of various Palestinian officials stressing the current window of opportunity to reach a peace deal.
NGO Monitor wrote to the Geneva Initiative, asking for more details about the campaign, but Gadi Baltiansky, Geneva Initiative’s general director, declined to answer substantively. He also noted that NGO Monitor wrote to him "in a foreign language."
Mr. Gadi Baltiansky
Re: Questions about USAID and Geneva Initiative press release
Dear Mr. Baltiansky,
NGO Monitor is preparing a report on the USAID-funded media campaign designed to convince the Israeli public that the Palestinians are viable peace partners. In this context, we have some questions.
We noted that the Geneva Initiative press release (29 August) announcing the campaign contained the text: “The campaign is supported with the generous support of the American people through USAID.” That version of the press release also featured the USAID logo alongside the statement of support. When NGO Monitor researchers accessed the same press release on September 5, 2010, this mention of USAID and the USAID logo had been removed from the document.
- What was the reason for this change?
- Was the original text acknowledging USAID support inserted at the request of the USAID?
- Was the removal of references to USAID carried out at the request of USAID officials?
- If not, did the Geneva Initiative inform USAID regarding this change in the text?
- In addition, can you tell us when the agreement with the USAID was negotiated?
We look forward to continued dialogue with the Geneva Initiative on these important issues.
I find it amusing, that you constantly reject foreign involvement in local activities, yet you are writing to me in a foreign language. But, of course, that is your right.
Unfortunately, the style of your writing, and moreover the false content that you keep repeating again and again – when recently you fabricated that we aren’t legally registered and we don’t report as required – prevent me from specifically answering your questions.
If you decide to write your “report,” it would be befitting to include my response above verbatim.