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...

  • Sports US & Canada Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    Israeli-American Group Congratulates Cavaliers’ Blatt on Reaching NBA Finals

    JNS.org – An organization whose work focuses on the estimated population of 500,000-800,000 Israeli Americans congratulated David Blatt, the Jewish head coach of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Cleveland Cavaliers and a longtime Israel-based coach, for clinching an appearance in the NBA Finals. The Israeli-American Council (IAC), whose stated mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel, our next generation, and to provide a bridge to [...]

    Read more →
  • Food US & Canada Bacon Flavor Ben & Jerry’s ‘Not Gonna Happen’ Because it Wouldn’t be Kosher

    Bacon Flavor Ben & Jerry’s ‘Not Gonna Happen’ Because it Wouldn’t be Kosher

    Famed ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s will not be introducing a Bacon flavored product to its offerings because the company intends to keep its entire line kosher, Marketing Director Alison Gilbert told AOL’s morning show Rise recently. “It’s kind of funny, a lot of people look for bacon in our ice cream, which is probably not gonna happen because all of our ice cream is kosher,” she said, referring to Jewish dietary restrictions that proscribe the consumption of pig [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli athletes at a world Judo championship in Morocco reportedly faced antisemitic slurs during the competition, news site WorldNetDaily reported on Monday. “We will murder you,” and “you’re not wanted here, go home,” were among the vituperative attacks directed at the Israeli Judo Association team, which was in Morocco last week for the World Masters Judo Tournament. According to Haaretz, each Israeli teammate was met with boos and jeers upon entering a fight. Additionally, no Israeli flags were present at [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.