Dubai: Qatar has reportedly hired a public relations company to improve relations with the Jewish community worldwide while strengthening relations with the United States.
According to O’Dwyer’s PR News, the news outlet for public relations, public affairs and marketing communications, Qatar hired Stonington Strategies for $50,000 (Dh183,663) a month for the campaign.
Stonington is headed by Nick Muzin, a doctor, lawyer and Republican strategist who is active in Jewish affairs.
“Engagement with Qatar can only be in the best interests of the United States and the Jewish community,” Muzin was quoted as saying by the news outlet.
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Under the contract, Muzin will “advise on ways to build a closer relationship with the United States and improve ties with the Jewish community worldwide.”
“He will explore opportunities for political, cultural and economic cooperation with the US and Israel, especially in the areas of trade, real estate, job creation and technology.”
Among Muzin’s responsibilities while he served as deputy chief of staff for Texas Senator Ted Cruz during his GOP primary run, was outreach to the Jewish community.
While Israel has always feigned disagreement with Qatar, reportedly over its pro-Palestinian coverage of Al Jazeera TV — a closer look exposes a much more complex relationship than what appears on the surface.
Recently, a leaked report emerged in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, saying that Tel Aviv was toying with the idea of closing down Al Jazeera’s Occupied Jerusalem bureau — comparing it to Nazi propaganda.
That has not happened, however — the story is increasingly appearing to be aimed at giving Qatar a facelift in the Arab world by appearing to be a foe of Israel.
In fact, Tel Aviv remains supportive of the Qatari regime, albeit discretely.
The two countries have maintained cordial relations, with former President Shimon Peres twice visiting Qatar.
The first was in 1996 when he inaugurated Israel’s trade mission to Qatar, followed by a 2007 trip to appear on Al Jazeera’s popular Doha Debates.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni visited Doha in 2008, meeting with Shaikh Hamad, and in January 2008 Defence Minister Ehud Barak met with former Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani in Switzerland.
Qatar unilaterally closed the Israeli Trade Mission in Doha in 2000, during the highest violence of the second intifada, but low-profile trade links remain open between Tel Aviv and Doha, which Qataris hope to tap into now, as other Gulf markets have been sealed off since June.
Doha also signalled that Israeli athletes would be welcome to participate in the Fifa games, and a stadium was named after the Qatari capital in the Israeli city of Sakhnin in the Galilee.
Four years ago, Qatar transported 60 Yemeni Jews to Israel, at the direct request of the Israeli Government, giving them a connection via Doha, while in 2015 they hosted talks between Israel and Hamas.
This relationship can be very useful to break Qatar’s current isolation and save Tamim’s government from collapse.
In turn, Qatar has proved willing to jump to Israel’s assistance at any time by triggering conflict in the Middle East when needed or mediating with non-state players who have the ear of Qatari royals, like Hezbollah and Hamas.