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Sunday, June 20, 2010

J Street's al-Fakhoora project

In October 2009, I blogged an article by Lenny Ben David at Pajamas Media in which Lenny asked some hard questions of J Street director Jeremy Ben Ami. One of those questions was this one.
You served as Fenton Communications’ senior vice president until you established J Street, launched in 2008. In early 2009, Fenton signed contracts with a Qatari foundation to lead an 18-month long anti-Israel campaign in the United States with a special focus on campuses. The actual text of the contract called for: “An international public opinion awareness campaign that advocates for the accountability of those who participated in attacks against schools in Gaza.”
That project - known as the al-Fakhoora project - is actually aimed at delegitimizing Israel and generating international support for the Hamas-run Gaza strip, according to documents filed with the Department of Justice (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). And it's being spawned by the same agency that brought us J Street's Jeremy Ben Ami. Coincidence?
Fenton’s Al Fakhoora project is cleverly disguised as a campaign to help students in Gaza in the pursuit of a better education.

One of the documents filed with the Department of Justice describes Al Fakhoora as a “student-led campaign to protect education from violence during war or conflicts, specifically in Gaza, and to lead an international public opinion awareness campaign that advocates for the accountability of those who participated in attacks on schools in Gaza.”

Robert Perez, the Fenton executive in charge of both accounts who is based in San Francisco, did not return repeated messages from Newsmax.

The Qatari sheikha paid Fenton for “developing and managing” the campaign website, “including regularly advising and updating the site with new content,” according to the contract documents.

The website features a YouTube interview with the Al Fakhoora director, explaining why the group took part in the aid flotilla that attacked Israeli special forces on May 31, and a sidebar boasting that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is mulling a resolution “to condemn Israeli Defense Forces’ military attack on the Freedom Flotilla.”

Fenton’s contracts called for the group to assist the sheikha and her Qatar Foundation “in the recruitment of student leaders in US and international college campuses,” and “in the recruitment of grass-roots supporters, including NGOs and virtual supporters internationally.”
Al-Fakhoora's director, Farooq Burney, was on the Mavi Marmara. Here's a promotional video they put out that features him.

Let's go to the videotape.

Burney describes his fellow passengers as 'non-violent.' Really?

Let's go to the videotape.

Here's another one. Let's go to the videotape.

Read the whole thing.

You can find a list of Fenton's clients here (Hat Tip: Powerline). Curiously, J Street is not on the list.

In the Corner, Andy McCarthy has more:
Qatar, the home of al-Jezeera and among the Arab world's chief underwriters of suicide terrorists, has long been regarded by the State Department as a key American ally in the war on terror — maybe not as key as Saudi Arabia, but you get the idea.
Qatar had trade relations with Israel from 1996-2009.
Qatar established trade relations with the State of Israel in 1996.[citation needed] In January 2008 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani in Switzerland, at the Davos Economic Forum. The existence of the surreptitious talks has so far been kept secretive by Israel.

Alongside Barak's momentous encounter, some sources have said that a senior figure from Qatar paid a visit to Israel in mid-January 2008 and met with Israeli leaders to discuss the situation in Gaza and the possibility of jump starting stagnant negotiations over the release of Gilad Shalit.

Despite Qatar's support of Hamas and its good relations with Hizbullah, Israeli leaders have maintained direct contact with the emirate. In January 2007, in his last months as vice premier, current President Shimon Peres paid a high-profile visit to the capital city of Doha.

Peres also visited Qatar in 1996, when he launched the new Israeli trade bureau there.[citation needed]

Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni also met with the Qatari Emir at a UN conference last year.[7] In April 2008, she visited Qatar where she attended a conference and met the Emir, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Oil and Gas.

However, following the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, Qatar hosted an emergency conference of Arab states and Iran to discuss the conflict. The Hamas administration in Gaza, as opposed to the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, represented the Palestinians, undermining support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbass. Khalid Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and President Ahmadinejad of Iran urged all Arab states with remaining ties to Israel to cut them. In effect, Qatar, along with Mauritania, cut all remaining ties with Israel. The conference showed the rising Arab support for Hamas over Fatah as well as the influence of anti-Israeli leaders like al-Assad of Syria and Ahmadinejad of Iran.[citation needed]

In 2010, Qatar twice offered to restore trade relations with Israel and allow the reinstatement of the Israeli mission in Doha, on condition that Israel allow Qatar to send building materials and money to Gaza to help rehabilitate infrastructure, and that Israel make a public statement expressing appreciation for Qatar's role and acknowledging its standing in the Middle East. Israel refused, on the grounds that Qatari supplies could be used by Hamas to build bunkers and reinforced positions from which to fire rockets at Israeli cities and towns, and that Israel did not want to get involved in the competition between Qatar and Egypt over Middle East mediation.[8][9]
Could Qatar also be financing J Street? Are there connections between J Street and Fenton's al-Fakhoora project? I'd bet on it.

William Jacobson has some of Fenton's other Leftist credentials here.


At 1:48 AM, Blogger Augusto Sousa said...

Who's he looking at? or I know, He was reading a prepared statement written by some other stupid. Pathetic. Good to be used against him since anyone can see he is talking thin air.


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