A Brutal Business: Arab Nations Make 10 New PR Agency Hires Since Last Year

May 1, 2012 11:37 am 0 comments

The profile on Asma Assad (far right) ran at the same time that the Syrian government was butchering anti-regime protesters. Photo: wiki commons.

Although high profile, the U.S. Public Relations industry is a relatively small close knit community. Only about 75 American PR firms have more than 50 employees, which would present enough scope, influence and capacity to represent a foreign government. Over lunch recently, one of my peers, who like me, owns 1 of the 25 largest PR Agencies in the United States explained why his firm would no longer take on Jewish organizations and Pro-Israel concerns as clients.  He explained that there is simply too much money in working for Arab organizations and interests, including from front groups, and business projects. It’s a trend which I believe will grow – and we will see Arab agendas even more positively portrayed in American media.

Recently it emerged that Bahrain has hired at least ten public relations companies in the last 12 months. Yes, you read it right, 10, including Qorvis, the Washington based company hired by Saudi Arabia to salvage the kingdom’s reputation abroad following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The regime of Bahrain, which tortures its own citizens has an awful human rights record and doesn’t recognize the state of Israel, also hired Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid and Sanitas International, among whose partners is Christopher Harvin, a former Bush White House aide.

In the “new” Middle East much has changed – but hostility towards Israel remains a constant, and millions are spent to forward Arab positions through professional public relations campaigns:

  • Harbour Group, a Washington D.C. based lobbying firm has been hired by the new Libyan Government, as The Hill recently revealed Harbour recently signed a new $15,000 a month contract with the Libyan Embassy. Patton Boggs, another large K street lobbying group is also now representing the new Libyan regime. Previously they worked with Gaddafi, alongside the Cambridge, Massachusetts based Monitor Group which held a hefty $250,000 a month contract with Tripoli, recruiting prominent American academics to praise the Libyan government.
  • This is nothing new in the Middle East – Arab governments spend lots of money on public relations. The Syrian regime continues to butcher thousands of their own people in the streets – and relatively, much is missing from the reporting of mainstream media outlets (one of the things a good crisis PR agency is hired for, is to ensure that negative stories don’t make it to press.) One day we will read about who is working for Syria now. A few months ago hackers released hundreds of e-mails from Syrian President Assad’s office, which revealed a document preparing Assad for his December 2011 interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters.
  • The glowing profile and stunning full-page picture of Asma al-Assad, Syria’s First Lady which appeared in Vogue magazine’s February 2011 edition entitled: “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert” was quietly removed from Vogue’s website. Vogue wouldn’t comment on why the story was removed – but the article which described her as “glamorous, young, and very chic – the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies,” ran at the same time that the Syrian government was butchering anti-regime protesters. PR firm, Brown Lloyd James worked for Syria to arrange the story.
  • This same company, Brown Lloyd James, worked in the past to boost the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. They said, “…we assisted the Libyan government in its efforts to reach out to the international political community through the United Nations and to the U.S. political and university community.”
  • Terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah have also hired PR agencies to lobby for them in the press and on in other arenas. Terror groups engage reporters and journalists, share meals and drinks with them and win their favor.
  • Fenton Communications, a New York City–based PR firm works with the Arab state of Qatar in developing campaigns, essentially aimed at delegitimizing Israel by orchestrating international anti-Israel efforts directed towards breaking the security blockade of the Gaza Strip. Fenton Communications also works for “Al Fakhoora,” a Qatar-based pro-Palestinian initiative that aims “to file legal charges against Israel and change the public perception in the West about its actions.” In April 2012 web designer Tim Hobert wrote about working with Fenton Communications on the “campaign to help end the blockade in Gaza.” They continue to assist terror groups openly.
  • Last year, the PLO Mission in the U.S hired Bell Pottinger, a leading International PR agency to provide “advice on strategic communications, public relations, media relations and congressional affairs.”
  • In response to Israel’s request for a meeting, U.S. based PR giant Burson–Marsteller said: “We will not deliver tender to such a project… we are running a commercial venture. If we accept this project, this will create a great amount of negative reactions…Israel is a particularly controversial project.”

There’s a reason the Arabs win in the media — they hire communications professionals – they prioritize and spend money to address the issue, and sadly if this remains the case, they will continue to win. In the Middle East, slaughtering of innocent people continues – from Bahrain to Syria, and Public Relations pros assist them in continuing to sell their stories.

I was saddened when my peer explained to me why his agency would no longer accept work for Jewish or Israeli interests – and while 5WPR wouldn’t work for the barbarians who slaughter innocent people, our competitors make millions selling terror and brutality.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading US Public Relations Agency, and author of “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.” The book has been called “the best book ever on Israel public relations” by the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Danny Danon.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.