The Qatari leadership is employing prominent figures in the Jewish lobby in the United States and many Israeli figures, to help it improve its image in the West, and refute accusations associated with its support of terrorism, sources in Tel Aviv said on Sunday.
The sources noted that some of these figures have tried to dissuade Qatar from supporting Hamas, but the Arab peninsula replied that the relationship with Hamas “is in the framework of efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip, and that every step in this direction is carried out in coordination with Israel.”
Israeli sources said there were signs of success of the Qatari campaign with the American Zionist Organization, a Jewish-American organization that supports settlements and US President Donald Trump. A few months ago, the organization’s leaders attacked Qatar and accused it of “supporting terrorists who kill Jews, Christians and Muslims.” However, the organization’s president told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week that he was ready to “give an opportunity” to cooperate with Qatar.
Lawyer Alan Dershowitz, known for his strong support for Israel, surprised many of his acquaintances in Washington with an article he published last week in The Hill, which appeared to be a “defense list” of Qatar against accusations of its financial and material backing for terrorism.
“I just returned from a private visit to Qatar, at the invitation of and paid for by the Emir,” the first sentence of Dershowitz’s article read. He detailed in the same report how officials in Qatar - including Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani - have dismissed charges that Qatar supports Hamas, is close to Iran and is helping the Muslim Brotherhood.
Dershowitz went on to say that while Saudi Arabia recently refused to allow the Israeli chess team to enter its territory to participate in the World Chess Championship, Qatar allows Israeli athletes to participate in international competitions held in Doha for years.
The lawyer’s visit to Doha was part of a broad public relations effort that began a few months ago and aims to change the image of Qatar in the eyes of decision-makers in Washington and the West.
An Israeli report said that Qatar hired Nick Muzin, a Jewish media consultant from the ultra-orthodox religious movement, who had previously worked as a senior adviser to Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Tim Scott.
For a monthly payment of about $50,000, Muzin opened the doors of the Jewish community and conservative media in the United States to the Qataris.
“I observed that Qatar is quickly becoming the Israel of the Gulf States, surrounded by enemies, subject to boycotts and unrealistic demands, and struggling for its survival. I heard a lot of positive statements regarding Israel from Qatari leaders as well as hints of commercial relationships between these isolated nations,” Dershowitz said in his article.
In an interview with Haaretz on Sunday, Dershowitz claimed he had not reached “clear conclusions” about Qatar’s relations with Hamas, Iran and other elements in the region.
“This visit has made me develop a more balanced approach,” he said. "There seems to be two sides to this story.”