Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →