An Open Letter to the Emir of Qatar
Dear Sheikh Tamim,
You have recently invested a fortune in a PR campaign aimed at the Jewish community in the United States — in the hope of using Jewish influence to end the boycott of your country, and stop its growing isolation, which threatens the very continuity of your regime.
Newspapers are filled with reports that you have hired an Orthodox Jew, Nick Muzin, of Stonington Strategies, and his partners, as agents of Qatar to promote your image among American Jews, and to lobby the US government. There is non-stop chatter of rabbis, writers and community leaders accepting free trips to Doha, which is big news because your regime funds Hamas — which is responsible for an endless stream of funerals in Israel.
There is especially a great deal of talk of Qatar offering massive investment opportunities in companies and deals run by influential Jews — all in an effort to curry influence and make friends.
Yet even you must be surprised at how successful the effort has been so far. Orthodox Jewish lobbyists agreeing to work on behalf of the foremost funder of Hamas, which is dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish people? Wow. You probably thought you’d be turned down. But no, community leaders are running to the Middle East to accept your hospitality — and who knows what else.
I have to admit, this is all kind of embarrassing. Jews being prepared to accept money even if it undermines the security of Israel? I didn’t think it would happen. Jews being prepared to accept free trips from you that help scrub your reputation clean? I didn’t think there’d be any takers.
Still, your efforts are going to fail — which is why I’m writing. Not because I care about you wasting your money. Indeed, many of the people taking it have told me that better that it go to them, then to Hamas.
Rather, I write because I care about whether or not you finance terror, especially against Israel. And your current efforts to buy the Jewish community is going to hit a wall.
First, your calculation is based on the antisemitic premise that Jews are all powerful and control America — and the world. This is almost straight out of an “Elders of Zion” textbook. The Jewish people taking your money must be laughing that you actually believe this, even as they cash your checks.
Now, it’s true that American Jews have some influence. And it’s also true that some will help you improve your image for cash. But end your isolation across the Middle East, or cause the American government to turn a blind eye to your support of Hamas and Iran? Are you kidding me?
Don’t be fooled by the fact that some Jews have been willing to accept hefty retainer fees to lobby other Jews on your behalf. They are not your friends or allies. They are opportunists. So how can you trust them? If they’re prepared to sell out their own people, just imagine how quickly they’ll turn on you.
Once someone demonstrates that they have no allegiances, then they are fundamentally untrustworthy.
The same can be said of the Jews who have visited Qatar or agreed to do business deals with you. You may have made backroom deals with them, but this will also backfire.
Jews who have accepted payoffs, without first demanding a change in your behavior, have sold out Israel. And you should be wary of such amoral individuals, because the only thing that they’re loyal to is money.
Great leaders, however, respect people who speak honestly — because their advice is often wise, even if it is difficult to hear. I am reminded of Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor, author, Nobel Peace Laureate and human rights champion. He stood up to President Ronald Reagan and famously said that it was necessary to speak truth to power.
And that is why I say to you, emir, it is time to halt funding for international terror, cease using Al Jazeera to incite the world against Israel, and stop supporting an Iranian regime that seeks hegemony over the Middle East and threatens Israel with genocide.
And if you don’t stop, you will lose the support of the international community, and there will be regime change in Qatar. I know that right now your family controls some $350 billion in sovereign wealth and investments. But if you’re toppled, you’ll lose it all.
Is Hamas worth it? Is paying for rockets against Jews worth it? What did my people do to you that are so hell-bent on our destruction, that you would risk your own?
You can take significant steps to demonstrate that Qatar is on a path to transformation. Like your Saudi neighbors, you can turn away from Iran and be willing to condemn their sponsorship of terror against your fellow Muslims, as well as others around the world.
You can command that Al Jazeera cease to demonize Israel and promote violence against the Israeli people. You can immediately ban the virulent Islamic extremist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the world’s foremost Jew-haters, from the airwaves which you fund.
When it comes to terrorism, there are no half-measures. You must cease all funding for Hamas until they renounce their charter to annihilate Israel. And you must expel the leaders of Hamas that you shelter. By doing so, you would gain immediate credibility with the international community for being serious about cracking down on terror. The same is true if you were to use your influence to release the four Israeli hostages that Hamas holds. Surely, as a Muslim, you cannot condone the refusal of Hamas to return the bodies of the two dead hostages to their families.
Reopening the Israel trade office would be an especially positive move that would demonstrate that Qatar is a country that wants to sew harmony in the Middle East. Qatar will also benefit directly from exposure to Israeli technological and other commercial innovations.
Your isolation is likely to only grow if you persist in your current policies. Those Jews who accepted junkets to Qatar did not bring your country the positive publicity that you were no doubt promised. Even those who wrote positive articles about you barely got noticed.
Look around the region at what has become of ISIS, Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. Your wealth will not save you.
Real changes in policy will enhance your security, your international standing, and your image in America, Israel and the Jewish community. And your legacy would be one of peace and transformation.
Peace be with you.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America” is the international best-selling author of 31 books including his most recent, “The Israel Warrior’s Handbook.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.