Ever wonder who is behind the well-oiled Palestinian propaganda operation that reaches out to every media outlet and every college campus in sight? Who pays for Palestinian efforts to lobby Congress to overlook its campaign of homicide bombing? Who finances glowing histories of the PLO's role in stabilizing the Middle East? Who funds studies about how Yasser Arafat can better manipulate public opinion in the United States? Look no further than your own tax return.
This week, in response to a question from our news agency, the U.S. government has finally acknowledged that the U.S. Aid For International Development (USAID) indeed funds the Palestine Academic Society For the Study of Academic Affairs (PASSIA), the PLO lobby group in Jerusalem which trains PLO media professionals in the art of transforming the image of the Arab-Israeli struggle into an Arab David against an Israeli Goliath.
USAID reports directly to the White House, which makes that allocation of particular significance to U.S. taxpayers. This funding arrangement was made possible back in 1997, under an agreement reached between the PLO and the man who was then the U.S. Consul in Jerusalem, Mr. Edward Abington. Immediately upon leaving his position as consul in Jerusalem in 1997, an employee of the U.S. State Department, Abington was hired by the PLO to be their paid lobbyist and official foreign agent in Washington, D.C., where Abington continues to lobby for the PLO under the framework of Bannerman and Associates. There's nothing like paying back a friend who helps you out.
From 1997-2004, USAID has given (or is scheduled to give) the PASSIA lobby a total of $1.7 million. According to the report sent by USAID, which appears at: http://www.usaid.gov/wbg/partners.htm,
USAID funds are used in the following way:
"PASSIA conducts two activities under this agreement. In a series of training seminars, PASSIA provides skills and capacity to young Palestinian professionals in areas such as fund-raising, strategic planning, advocacy, and training of trainers." Such â€œtrainersâ€ may even be exported to the U.S. to teach pro-Palestinian â€œactivistsâ€ at the Third National Palestine Solidarity Conference â€œHate Festâ€ at Ohio State in early November - all on the American taxpayerâ€™s dime.
Tendentious "education" booklets produced by PASSIA with funds from USAID can be exemplified by their widely circulated booklet "Media and Communication Skills." It begins with the clearly Palestinian revisionist version of Israeli/Palestinian history:
"The first challenge rose with the Balfour declaration of 1917, which called for the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine: a clear violation of the rights of the Palestinian people.
"The second challenge was to restore the Palestinian self-identity and resist the expansion of Jewish settlement in Palestine.
"The third challenge arose when the Arab League involved itself in making major decisions relating to the future of the Palestinians . . . .
"The fourth challenge was the most difficult; namely to achieve unity after the dispersion of the Palestinians following the War of 1948. The aim of the State of Israel, since its declaration, was to create entities and prevent unity or direct communication between areas where Palestinians existed within the cease fire line."
It is interesting to note that under the heading, "Israel Occupation in 1967," Mr. Nassar writes: "The impact of the Israeli Occupation on the development of the Palestinian civil society was minimal due to the practices of the military authority.â€ This is in direct contradiction to the claims made by leaders of the intifada, who lead the incessant violence, incitement and terror against Israelis.