Swiss Government Sponsorship of the Beilin Initative Flight for Journalists
November 25th, 2003
David Bedein, Bureau Chief
ISRAEL RESOURCE NEWS AGENCY
Numerous statements have been issued from the office of Beilin's Geneva
Initiative in Tel Aviv which claimed that Beilin's initiative was financed
private Jewish contributors.
However, one of the architects of the Geneva Initiative, Dr. Stephen Cohen,
introducing himself as a paid advisor to the US State Department, spoke at
a conference of the Brit Tzedek V'Shalom conference in Boston on November
in which he stated that the funder of the Geneva Iniative was the Swiss
Government. Cohen stated in answer to a question in the audience that he
not know of any major Jewish contributors to the Geneva Initiative.
On Monday, November 24th, the Geneva Initiative organizers offered to fly
journalists to cover the event in Geneva on subsidized round trip chartered
flight for the price of $150. (Our news agency is paying $871 each for two
reporters to have two round-trip tickets to cover the event)
The spokesperson of the Geneva Initiative told reporters that the flight was
subsidized by the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, a Geneva-based Non-
Governmental organization (www.hdcentre.org).
When asked if this Center was financed by the Swiss Government, the Geneva
Initiative Spokesperson said that she did not know. When she was asked if
had an office in Israel, she said that she did not know. They were not
in Israel. The spokesperson for the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center
Ramallah, was kind enough to provide the contact information Center's office
the Palestinian Authority. They did not know anything about their
with the journalist flight arrangement.
At the office of the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, their
spokesperson was asked as to whether their programs were financed by the
The spokesperson said that some of their programs and projects
were indeed financed by the Swiss government.
The Center spokesperson was then asked as to whether the flight for the
journalists on Monday sponsored by their agency was financed by the Swiss
The answer was: "What flight"?
The Center spokesperson was rather surprised, and wondered if the agency
he worked for had not informed its spokesman of its activities.
The Center spokesman checked and called back to say that his agency was not
any way, shape or form involved in the subsidy or organization of the
journalist's flight to cover the Geneva Initiative.
The Center spokesman suggested to call the Swiss government spokesman. The
Swiss government spokesman was not ready to say anything on the subject,
that all this would be discussed in a press conference tomorrow.
I called back to the Beilin Geneva Iniative Office to ask why they had said
that the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue was subsidizing the flight when
Center's spokesperson said that the Center had nothing to do with the
It took two hours for the spokesperson of The Beillin Geneva Initiative to
back to me with an answer that it was the Swiss government which is
the flight for journalists.
It would seem highly unusual for a foreign government to finance the
of another government's opposition event.
It is even more unusual for a foreign government to PAY for reporters to
such an event.
So much for the notion that private Jewish contributors are behind the
Beilin Geneva initiative.