morty klein

Qatar used pro-Israel businessman to pay Zionist group $100k
Ron Kampeas, JTA, Jun 21 2018

Mort Klein

FASCHINGSTEIN — A pro-Israel businessman doing public relations work for Qatar donated $100k to ZOA out of money Qatar paid him to engage in “community engagement.” Joseph Allaham, who owns kosher eateries in Pindostan, said his donations to ZOA, a conservative pro-Israel group, came out of $1.45m intended by Qatar to woo Jewish and other leaders to its side in its dispute with the Toads, MoJo reported. Allaham disclosed the payments in a filing last week to register as an agent of a foreign government. ZOA president Morton Klein told Jewish Insider on Wednesday that he had been under the impression that the money came from Allaham’s own pocket. Klein said that if he determined the funds came from Qatar, he would return them. Klein, in the past a sharp critic of Qatar, visited the country earlier this year at its invitation. He has said he used the visit to express his concerns about the country’s support for Hamas, its closeness to Iran and the hostility to Israel on al-Jazeera, the government-backed TV network. He has insisted multiple times, including to JTA, that he received no compensation for the visit beyond travel expenses. Allaham in his filing said he also gave $100k to Our Soldiers Speak, a group that organizes Pindo speaking tours for IOF personnel, as well as $50k to Mike Huckabee, who visited Qatar. Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is an evangelical preacher who is prominent in the Christian pro-Israel community. Since registering as a foreign agent, Allaham has begun denouncing Qatar as inimical to Israeli and Pindo interests. Another prominent Jewish figure, Nick Muzin, an adviser to the Thug Party, also said recently that he was ending his paid lobbying relationship with Qatar, although unlike Allaham he did not denounce the country.

Over the past year or so, there has been intensive lobbying of the Pindo Jewish community by both sides in an increasingly acrid Gulf dispute between Qatar and the Toads, the UAE and a number of other countries. Saudi Arabia has led a blockade of Qatar, ostensibly because of its Iran and Muslim Brotherhood ties. The Trump administration has gone back and forth in the dispute. The Toads are perhaps the most important Arab vassal of Pindostan, but Qatar hosts one of the largest Pindo military bases. A number of Pindo Jewish figures have landed on one side or the other, and prominent figures have visited the country. Along with Klein, they include Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the CPMAJO, and Alan Dershowitz, the constitutional law expert and Israel defender. One figure caught up in the brouhaha is Elliott Broidy, a top Jewish giver to Trump’s campaign. Broidy joined George Nader, an Arab-American businessman, in making representations to the Trump administration on behalf of the UAE. He reportedly was involved in organizing an anti-Qatar conference last year put on by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank with pro-Israel ties. Broidy has sued Muzin and Qatar, believing they hacked his emails, which led to the media reporting revelations such as his payment to an alleged mistress brokered by Michael Cohen, a lawyer who brokered similar payments for Trump. Nader’s role in cozying up to the Trump administration is reportedly a focus of a federal investigation into improprieties by Trump’s campaign and presidency. Nader is cooperating with investigators.

Key figures in Gulf crisis sever ties with Qatar
Ben Schreckinger, Politico, Jun 7 2018

Thani & Trump, White House, Apr 2018 (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty)

A New York businessman who played a crucial role in Qatar’s efforts to win influence in Pindostan has terminated his relationship with tQatar and is now condemning it as a threat to Middle East peace. Joey Allaham, a Syrian-born restaurateur and entrepreneur who had been helping Qatar make politically useful investments and curry favor with the Pindo Jewish community, told Politico that he has recently cut ties with the country. Allaham said in a sharp reversal from his past position:

Qatar enjoys portraying themselves as the purveyor of peace in the region, but this could not be further from the truth.

His defection comes at the same time that another top Qatari agent, Nick Muzin, a former adviser to Sen Ted Cruz of Texas, is also stopping work for the wealthy monarchy. Their work and other Qatari efforts had been paying off, with the Trump administration softening its stance toward the country in recent months. The loss of their services is a setback to Qatar’s efforts to resolve a yearlong diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf and improve its standing in Pindostan. Though his background is in the restaurant business and he has little political experience, Allaham had emerged in recent months as an important behind-the-scenes player in the stateside influence battle between the Toads, the UAE and Qatar over its close relationship with Iran among other things. Since then, the countries involved have invested heavily in influence operations in Pindostan. Allaham said:

As part of my charm offensive on Qatar’s behalf, I set up meetings for Qatari officials and distributed several charitable donations as an introductory show of goodwill. I did not lobby any public officials or conduct any public relations work.

Efforts by Allaham, who is Jewish, included outreach to prominent Pindo advocates of Israel, including Alan Dershowitz, an informal Trump adviser, and Mort Klein, president of ZOA, who is a longtime ally of White House national security adviser John Bolton. Dershowitz and Klein both traveled to Qatar in January to discuss improved relationships with the Jewish community, a move that stoked controversy in Israel and among Pindo Zionists because of Qatar’s support for the Palestinian fundamentalist organization Hamas and the monarchy’s close ties to Iran. In a further blow to Qatar’s diplomatic efforts, Klein on Wednesday backed away from any rapprochement, reiterating his condemnation of the country. He told Politico:

I’ve lost confidence that they’re at all serious about changing.

In shutting the door on any opening with Qatar, Klein cited the invitation of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a MB leader who has expressed support for suicide bombings against Israeli citizens and is banned from entering Pindostan, to a banquet hosted by Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani last week in the capital, Doha. Allaham also cited the Islamic preacher’s invitation to the official banquet among his reasons for defecting. It is not clear why Muzin, who had been working closely with Allaham, ended his work for the monarchy. In announcing the end of his work for the country on Wednesday, Muzin struck a more conciliatory tone, writing on Twitter:

I am proud of the work we did to foster peaceful dialogue in the Middle East, to increase Qatar’s defense and economic ties with the United States, and to expand humanitarian support of Gaza. I look forward to speaking out in the days ahead about the challenges we faced and what more needs to be done.

Allaham told Politico that he would register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for the work he performed for Qatar. Muzin has been registered as an agent of Qatar since September. In reversing course on Qatar, Allaham also implicated Ahmed al-Rumaihi, a former Qatari diplomat who until recently led Qatar Investments, a $100b Qatari sovereign wealth fund. Last month, former business partners of Rumaihi accused him in a California lawsuit of using an investment in a basketball league led by a friend of Steve Bannon to gain influence with the administration. According to Allaham, Rumaihi asked him to “lie to the press that Steve Bannon had maliciously created the lawsuit, when in fact he was working to mediate the lawsuit out of court.” A spokesman for Rumaihi’s company described the allegation as “completely false.”

GOP fundraiser: Ex-Pindo spy helped Qatar hack emails
Josh Meyer, Politico, May 24 2018

Elliot Broidy (Photo: Alex J Berliner/ABI/AP)

A top fundraiser for Pres Trump has accused the Persian Gulf state of Qatar of conspiring with former Pindosi and British spies to hack and publicize his emails as part of a clandestine state-sponsored influence operation on Pindo soil. In a new court filing, Elliott Broidy, who has faced scrutiny over his efforts to convince Trump and the Pindo government to adopt an aggressive stance against Qatar, alleges that former Pindo- and British-trained intelligence operatives helped orchestrate cyber-attacks on Pindo citizens in an attempt to discredit their public standing. Thursday’s court filing was prompted by new information about how Qatar used a private intelligence firm, Global Risk Advisors, to “coordinate and implement the hack,” and to recruit “cyber-mercenaries” in various countries to execute the technical aspects of it, a lawyer for Broidy and his Broidy Capital Management firm said. Lee Wolosky of the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP told Politico:

The amended complaint filed today reflects our more advanced knowledge of the conspiracy against Mr Broidy and seeks to hold responsible persons and entities accountable. (That includes) former Pindo and British government personnel.

Wolosky, a former ambassador and senior counter-terrorism official in the Clinton 42 and Bush 43 administrations, said:

It is a crime for anyone to hack into the emails of a Pindo citizen, but it is tantamount to an act of war when such an attack is orchestrated by a foreign government. In this lawsuit, we are asking that Qatar be held accountable for its support of terrorism in any form, offline or online. When foreign sovereigns are alleged to have committed crimes, sovereign immunity principles should not shield them from accountability in our courts.

The amended complaint is part of a lawsuit Broidy has been pressing against the Qatari government since March in a California federal court. The suit accuses Qatar of hacking Broidy’s emails and funneling them to reporters through Thug Party operative Nick Muzin in order to neutralize Broidy’s effectiveness as an anti-Qatar influence on the Trump White House. Several outlets, including AP, the WSJ and the Hollywood Reporter, have published articles based on Broidy’s stolen emails. Broidy recently subpoenaed AP for information about the source of the hacked emails. Broidy’s suit is one of the first attempts to hold a foreign government accountable in a Pindo court for digital espionage operations. Qatar has strenuously denied Broidy’s allegations, describing them in a statement issued Thursday by its embassy in Faschingstein as being “completely fabricated and without merit.” In Broidy’s latest filing, the Thug Party fundraiser expands his original lawsuit to also name Mohammad bin Hamad Khalifa al-Thani, the brother of Qatar’s current head of state, and Ahmed al-Rumaihi, a Pindo-based Qatari operative who managed a $100b investment fund on behalf of the country’s government. The fund has become embroiled in the Mueller investigation as it expands to look at whether other countries sought to buy influence. Broidy has also drawn the interest of investigators because of his relationship with Trump, though a source close to Broidy denied Thursday that he is a person of interest in Mueller’s probe.

The lawsuit is part of a larger battle between Qatar’s Thanis and the Toads + UAE’s Nahyans that escalated dramatically last June, when Toads & Nahyans imposed a blockade on Thanis to isolate it from land and sea commerce. Trump publicly backed the blockade, accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism and crediting Broidy with influencing his policy. Qatar was also hit with international sanctions. In response, the Qatari government, through al-Thani and al-Rumaihi, the two Qatari’s named in Thursday’s filing, moved aggressively to improve its standing with the White House, according to the amended suit. The filing includes allegations about how Qatar tried to influence Pindo policy by using unregistered lobbyists, and by trying to buy a significant part of a conservative media website, Newsmax, favored by Trump and run by his friend Christopher Ruddy. But the new filing also fills out the alleged details of the hacking campaign against Broidy. It claims that Qatar used Global Risk Advisors, LLC and its principals, Kevin Chalker and David Mark Powell, to coordinate the attack against him. The document says Chalker is a former CIA cyber-operative who runs GRA’s New York operations, and that Powell is a former British intelligence operative who opened the firm’s Qatar office in Oct 2017, just weeks before the hacking campaign began. Chalker, Powell and GRA, it alleges, “made it clear within that community that they had been retained to conduct or coordinate offensive cyber operations on behalf of Defendant State of Qatar.” GRA did not respond to an email seeking comment on Thursday. Chalker and Powell could not be contacted for comment. A spokesman for al-Rumaihi also said the allegations were “completely meritless,” and said he was no longer working for, or on behalf of, the Qatari government at the time in question.

Report: Mike Huckabee Praised Qatar Without Revealing He Was Paid $50k by Qatar to do so
Dan Friedman, Jewish Insider, Jun 20 2018

On Friday, Joseph Allaham, a former owner of kosher steakhouses in New York, retroactively registered with the DoJ as a foreign agent for Qatar. In the paperwork … Allaham noted that he had paid $50k on Nov 23 2017 to Blue Diamond Horizons, a Florida corporation run by Huckabee … Huckabee was an expensive get for Qatar. His trip cost more than the $50k payment he received from Allaham. Dr Joseph Frager, a gastro-enterologist and pro-Israel activist who supported Huckabee’s 2016 presidential bid, last month also registered as a foreign agent for Qatar, and he reported that he was paid $50k by Muzin’s firm for Qatar-related work. Frager told MoJo that the fee was in part for helping facilitate Huckabee’s January visit … And for its $50k, the Qatari government got a positive tweet out of him. Allaham reported that his work for Qatar including making a $100k donation in October to Our Soldiers Speak, a New York-based charity that organizes trips by officers in the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli National Police to speak on college campuses in other countries… The contribution came on Oct 30, a few days before the group’s annual gala, where Sec State Mike Pompeo, at the time the DCI, was the keynote speaker. Allaham also made two $50k contributions to Klein’s group, the ZOA. The first was on Nov 2, shortly before the group’s annual dinner. The second came on Jan 23, a few weeks after Klein visited Doha. [MoJo]

Flashback to Feb 26 2018: “ZOA and Morton Klein have no potential financial motive or ulterior purpose here. ZOA and Mr Klein’s preparation time and effort, and the time Mr Klein spent on his exhausting 13-hour trip each way to and from Qatar, cost us staff money.” [Haaretz]

Mort Klein told us by phone this morning:

We are now looking into it thoroughly. In the next 24 to 48 hours, if we determine that this money clearly came from Qatar, we will return the money immediately. Any money that the ZOA has received for the past 25 years has come from private individuals, never from any country. To this minute, my complete understanding was that it came from a private individual. If I thought that any money came from Qatar, I would never have accepted it. I assumed this was a wealthy businessman (Joseph Allaham) who was giving ZOA a check. I’ve had many wealthy business people who have given me 100k and plus. That happens all the time. And I knew that Allaham brought Malcolm Hoenlein, Alan Dershowitz and Mike Huckabee to Qatar. In my eyes this made him look like a legitimate individual. To me, them going koshered the trip. I never did a thing for Qatar. Whatever money I got, whether it is from Qatar or not, I never did anything for them. I never wrote an article praising them, I never lobbied for them. My whole trip was wall-to-wall meetings with officials from Qatar. Al Jazeera was going to release a four part series called The Israel Lobby, which would have increased anti-Semitism in America and hatred towards Israel. That was a horrible documentary, and I urged them to kill this. And because of my work it never aired. This was a big achievement of my going to Qatar. It’s not like I went there and went to the beach… Qatar asked me a month ago to come back. They wanted to set up meetings with top officials at Al Jazeera, but I rejected this because too many people thought that I shouldn’t have gone to Qatar in the first place.

How the King of New York Kosher Restaurants Helped Qatar Win Over Pindo Jewish Leaders … a tale of steaks, lawsuits, foreign agents and Alan Dershowitz
Hannah Dreyfus, Dan Friedman, MoJo, Jun 13 2018

Joseph Allaham (YouTube)

The Zionist Organization of America held its annual gala on Nov 12 2017, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in NYC, with an unusual guest on hand. The group and its long-time president Mort Klein have been known for their zealous support of Israel’s right wing and their unrestrained attacks on what they consider to be Israel’s enemies. In recent years, that list has included Qatar. In 2014, the organization urged the Pindo government to designate Qatar as a state sponsor of terrorism for “funding and promoting Nazi-like organizations that want to kill every Jew.” Yet sitting at a prominent table at the 2017 dinner was Ahmed al-Rumaihi, a former Qatari diplomat and, until March of that year, the head of Qatar Investments, a $100b division of the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Al-Rumaihi had come to the dinner at the invitation of Joseph Allaham, the former owner of a group of kosher meat restaurants, including the flagship Prime Grill in midtown Manhattan. Al-Rumaihi and Allaham might have seemed an odd couple. But Allaham, a Syrian-born Sephardic Jew known to associates as “Joey,” had forged an unlikely alliance with al-Rumaihi aimed at helping Qatar win friends and influence powerful people in Pindostan. Their project included courting conservative Pindo Jews who viewed Qatar as a threat to Israel. Al-Rumaihi’s presence at the event was part of an extensive effort by Qatar to improve its relations with the Trump administration and its political supporters, as the small nation competes with the Toads and the UAE, its regional rivals, for clout in Pindostan.

In recent years, Qatar has been locked in a bitter dispute with its larger neighbors. For their part, the Toads and the UAE resent Qatar’s pursuit of friendly relations with Iran and its hosting of al-Jazeera, the media outlet that has often aired critical reports about Toad and Emirati leaders. Tensions erupted into a major diplomatic showdown a year ago when the Toads, the UAE, Bahrain and other states imposed a blockade against Qatar. Qatari officials believed the well-connected Toads and Emiratis had lined up support in the Trump administration and in Congress for the blockade beforehand, and they subsequently scrambled to catch up by hiring several Faschingstein lobbying firms. This has led to a not-too-secret shadow war inside and outside Faschingstein, with advocates of the Toads and Emiratis on one side and partisans for Qatar on the other. It has been an unusual battle that has come to involve a lawsuit alleging that Qatari-tied hackers swiped emails from a top Thug Party fundraiser. The efforts of Allaham, who was working for Qatar without registering with the DoJ as a foreign agent, was part of the larger Qatari influence campaign that seemed to win a shift in White House rhetoric in favor of Qatar. Yet in a dramatic reversal last week, Allaham broke with Qatar and declared he was ending his relationship with the state. The move came as his pro-Qatari activity was coming under scrutiny due to that lawsuit against Qatar, though he claims the lawsuit did not cause his reversal. Allaham also announced he would retroactively register as a foreign agent for Qatar, though he contended that he was not necessarily required by law to do so.

Al-Rumaihi recently became involved in controversy. In April, the rapper Ice Cube and businessman Jeff Kwatinetz sued al-Rumaihi, whose company had invested in a professional basketball league that Ice Cube and Kwantinetz had launched. The lawsuit said that al-Rumaihi and other investors reneged on an agreement to put up $20.5m in financing. In a filing, Kwatinetz alleged that al-Rumaihi had offered to make payments to former White House aide Steve Bannon, a friend of Kwatinetz, to “underwrite” Bannon’s political efforts. Kwatinetz also claimed that al-Rumaihi said he had made payments to “many Faschingstein politicians,” including former national security adviser Michael Flynn. A spox for al-Rumaihi’s company contends Kwatinetz’s allegations are “pure Hollywood fiction.” In May, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, posted a photograph of al-Rumaihi with Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s long-time fixer, in Trump Tower in late 2016. Al-Rumaihi subsequently told The Intercept that Cohen had asked him for a $1m payment so Cohen could hook up the Qatar Investment Authority with potential business partners in Pindostan. Cohen denied seeking such a payment. * Months earlier, at the time of the ZOA dinner, al-Rumaihi was not yet a subject of headlines, and he was fixated on connecting with influential political players. Hours before the event, al-Rumaihi emailed Kwatinetz with a request. Under the greeting “What’s up my brother!!” al-Rumaihi pressed Kwatinetz for an introduction to Bannon, who would be speaking at the dinner, writing:

Need a quick favor if you have time. I’m invited to the Zionist Organization of America’s 120 year anniversary this evening and Steve Bannon will be there. If you’re able to make a quick introduction and let him know that I’ll come up to him to say hello.

Al-Rumaihi was invited to the dinner by Allaham, who purchased a table at the gala, according to several sources connected to the event. Joel Mowbray, a consultant who advises natsec think-tanks and is a harsh critic of Qatar, says in a signed declaration prepared for the Qatar lawsuit that when he asked Mort Klein about al-Rumaihi’s presence at the dinner, Klein said to him:

What’s the problem? Joey paid me $100k for that table!

Allaham, who did not attend the dinner, declined to discuss whether he made a contribution to the ZOA. Asked about Mowbray’s statement, Klein remarks:

I have no recollection of that, and I really doubt that I could have said anything about it.

Klein says his policy is to keep donor information private. He maintains that at the time of the dinner he was not aware of al-Rumaihi’s presence there. After this story was published, Klein called Mowbray’s statement a “complete and total lie.” In his speech at the dinner, Bannon accused Qatar of financing Hamas and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and praised the Toads and the Emiratis for their blockade of Qatar. According to a spox for al-Rumaihi, after he heard the speech he decided not to introduce himself to Bannon. During the ZOA dinner, Allaham’s rabbi, Elie Abadie, sat next to al-Rumaihi. Abadie recalls that he struck up a conversation with al-Rumaihi. Abadie says:

He said he wanted to improve the image of Qatar in the Jewish community. I told him he would have to work extremely hard to do so.

Al-Rumaihi was apparently willing to do the hard work. The Qatari investor requested that Abadie introduce him to other guests at the dinner, where the crowd included David Friedman, Joe Lieberman and Alan Dershowitz. According to Abadie, al-Rumaihi suggested that Abadie visit Doha, the capital of Qatar. A spokeswoman for al-Rumaihi says he would not comment on Abadie’s recollection.

Thani & Trump, White House, Apr 2018 (Photo: Mark Wilson/CNP/AP)

Allaham, who is fluent in Arabic, first started gathering many of his political connections at his restaurants, which operated under the moniker Prime Hospitality Group. As part of his business, he also hosted luxury Passover getaways, for which he charged up to $11k a person in 2015. These trips included elaborate seders and an array of day programs, lectures and on-site entertainment. For a Passover trip in 2015 at the St Regis Monarch Beach, Allaham booked Sen Ted Cruz of Texas, who was courting major Jewish and pro-Israel donors, as a main attraction. Cruz spoke alongside prominent rabbis and pro-Israel leaders. But by the time Allaham arranged for al-Rumaihi to attend the 2017 ZoA dinner, his small culinary empire was largely gone. Four of Allaham’s eateries, including Prime Grill, closed in the fall of 2017, amid a dispute with a landlord, a $1.5m judgement imposed by an arbitrator in favor of Lincoln Square Synagogue over allegedly unpaid fees for banquet hall space, and a legal fight over the cancellation of a Passover trip earlier in 2017. Yet Allaham was already refashioning himself as a consultant and an adviser to foreign governments and after years of schmoozing high-profile diners, Allaham had bankable connections.

In early 2017, Allaham began working with Nick Muzin, a Faschingstein-based lobbyist, introducing Qatari officials to Muzin and to other influential Republicans. Allaham was paid by the Qataris for these efforts, according to three sources familiar with the arrangement. Allaham declined to discuss the details of any payments he received from Qatar. In Sep 2017, Muzin registered with the DoJ as a foreign agent for Qatar. Under the FARA, which was passed in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda, any Pindos paid by a foreign entity to promote within the Pindostan the interests of a foreign government, person, or organization must register with the DoJ as a foreign agent. They also must describe their activities and disclose the payments they receive. In November, Qatar raised Muzin’s monthly payment from $50k to $300k, half of which was set aside for subcontractors. Muzin, a former senior aide for Ted Cruz who worked with the Trump campaign after Cruz quit the presidential race, was among a cadre of plugged-in Republican political operatives who opened lobbying shops after Trump’s election. Muzin’s company, Stonington Strategies, was incorporated in Delaware, but Muzin’s initial registration with the Justice Department listed the business address of the firm as 550 Madison Avenue in New York City. That was the site of the Sony Building, at the time the location of Allaham’s Prime Grill restaurant. In November, Muzin retroactively filed a form with the DoJ disclosing a $52k payment he had made to Allaham in Mar 2017 for consulting work. But according to this filing, Allaham’s work for Muzin’s lobbying company had not been for Qatar but on behalf of a different client: the Democratic Party of Albania.

Alan Dershowitz

Shortly after being retained by Qatar, Muzin, an Orthodox Jew with legal and medical degrees, presented Qatari officials with a list of hundreds of politically prominent Pindos who might be able to influence Trump, according to a source familiar with this project. The list included conservative Jews, such as Klein, who were vocal critics of Qatar. In Jun 2017, Klein’s ZOA had renewed its demand for the State Dept to brand Qatar terrorists and had called on the Federal Aviation Authority to bar Qatar Airways from flying in Pindostan. Muzin’s plan was that Qatar could improve its standing in Pindostan by quieting some of its loudest critics. The Qataris “had to fix their relationship with the Jewish community in order to get to Trump,” a person involved with the Qatari lobbying effort explains. Working with Muzin, Allaham took the lead in introducing Qataris to prominent Pindo Jewish figures. He offered them trips to Doha, where they could meet with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and other government officials, according to multiple people involved. In the fall of 2017, prior to the ZoA dinner, Allaham approached Dershowitz at a Sabbath service at the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan to invite him to Qatar. Dershowitz recalls:

He told me the emir wanted to hear my views. He said he had a relationship with the Qatari government.

Dershowitz visited Doha in January. While there he met with the emir, the emir’s mother, the Qatari ambassador to Gaza, the Qatari attorney general, the nation’s foreign minister and other officials. Dershowitz says:

There was no ask on their part. They just said they wanted to explain their situation. They are a small country between the Toads on one hand, a regional power, and Iran on the other. And they had to survive.

Those who accepted trips organized by Allaham or Muzin included Klein; Malcolm Hoenlein, then the executive vice chairman of the CPMAJO; and Martin Oliner, the chairman of Religious Zionists of America. Another trip attendee was Menachem Genack, a rabbi who is CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division, which oversees certification of thousands of kosher food facilities around the world. Last month, Muzin filed a report with the DoJ, noting that the Qatari embassy had paid his firm $204k in Dec 2017 and Jan 2018 for “travel reimbursement.” The report lists 20 trips between Pindo airports and Doha in Nov 2017, Dec 2017 and Jan 2018 without noting the names of the persons who took the trips. Upon his return from Doha, Dershowitz penned an op-ed in The Hill praising Qatar and questioning claims about the state’s financial support of the Islamist fundamentalist group Hamas. He wrote:

Qatar is quickly becoming the Israel of the Gulf States. (It is) surrounded by enemies, subject to boycotts and unrealistic demands, and struggling for its survival.

Dershowitz’s op-ed drew media attention, and the attorney subsequently downplayed his comparison of Qatar to Israel. In a letter to the NYT, Dershowitz maintained:

I never intended to compare Israel, a vibrant democracy, to any Gulf monarchy.

Dershowitz returned to Qatar in early Mar 2018 to present a lecture on the law and the media at the Northwestern University Qatar campus. The speech was sponsored by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, an organization controlled by the family of Qatar’s emir. Student activists protested the event, walking out of the lecture and chanting, “Zionists are not welcome here.” In an interview with MoJo, Dershowitz would not say if he was paid for the lecture. Dershowitz says his airfare was covered, but “I have no idea who paid.” Dershowitz, who has won the president’s attention with aggressive televised defenses of Trump related to the Russia scandal, was invited to the White House on Apr 10 to discuss Middle East policy with White House staff. Dershowitz says he was in the White House for most of the day and joined Trump for dinner to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict, Syria, and Iran. Those meetings occurred the same day that the Qatari emir met with Trump. A lobbyist for Qatar, who asked not to be identified, says Dershowitz’s presence in the White House the day the emir was there was seen as a boon for Qatar. Dershowitz, however, describes his overlap with al-Thani’s visit as a coincidence. He maintains:

There was no discussion whatsoever of Qatar. I did not talk about Qatar.

According to Mort Klein of the ZOA, the Qatari government paid to cover his brief trip to Doha in Dec 2017. In a March interview Klein, who once denounced Qatar, praised the state for flying an Israeli flag at a recent handball tournament. Klein said in that interview:

The emir told me last summer they stopped funding terrorist groups.

He noted that on his Qatari-funded trip to Doha, he brought along 50 pages of demands, which included getting rid of anti-Semitic books sold at a Doha book fair and reducing alleged anti-Semitic programming on al-Jazeera. In this interview, Klein maintained that the Qataris were following up on the emir’s vow to look into the issues he raised:

So far, their promises have been kept. These things would not have happened if I had not gone to Qatar.

But last week, Klein reversed course, and the ZOA issued a statement critical of Qatar, asserting al-Jazeera’s recent coverage of Israel and Gaza “has been despicably biased and incendiary” and slamming Qatar for holding a dinner honoring the Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Malcolm Hoenlein visited Qatar in December on an Allaham-arranged trip. He says he was there for one day and met Emir al-Thani. He also met separately with other officials, including the head of al-Jazeera. Hoenlein says he and the emir had a “long talk” during which they covered regional politics and al-Jazeera and Hoenlein voiced his concerns about Qatari support for Hamas. Hoenlein recalls:

He accepted everything that I said, (but I’m withholding judgment to see if) they deliver on those things.

Allaham has known Hoenlein since at least 2010, when he helped arrange a meeting between Hoenlein and Syria’s Pres Assad. Last year, Allaham attended Hoenlein’s daughter’s wedding. As his guest, Allaham brought a younger brother of Qatar’s emir. Hoenlein says this member of the Qatari ruling family did not give his daughter a gift. Qatari outreach has not been limited to Jewish leaders. In January, at the same time Dershowitz and Klein were in Doha, Mike Huckabee also visited Qatar. Huckabee tweeted:

Muzin arranged Huckabee’s trip with the help of Dr. Joseph Frager, a practicing physician and pro-Israel activist who supported Huckabee’s 2016 presidential bid, according to a source familiar with this project. Frager tells MoJo that he was paid by Muzin’s firm to consult with Qatari officials and that he helped facilitate a meeting between Huckabee and the Qataris. Frager says he wanted to use that meeting to obtain Qatar’s help in retrieving the bodies of two fallen Israeli soldiers held in Gaza. Frager also met on his own with a brother of the emir, Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, in 2017. He says that meeting was arranged by Muzin. After inquiries from MoJo, Frager registered with the DoJ as a foreign agent and disclosed that Muzin had paid him $50k as a subcontractor for his Qatar work. Huckabee did not respond to a request for comment. While working for Qatar, Allaham did not register with the DoJ as a foreign agent for that country. But he did register as a foreign agent working for Muzin’s firm to assist the Democratic Party of Albania, the conservative opposition party in that Balkan nation. Earlier this year, Allaham declined to tell MoJo what he had done for the Albanian party. he said:

It’s consulting, that’s all I can say.

Muzin and Allaham each denied that the $52k payment Allaham received from Muzin’s lobbying shop was connected to Allaham’s Qatar-related work. Joseph Sandler, a Faschingstein-based attorney who specializes in FARA issues, says:

Allaham’s unregistered activities for Qatar might violate the terms of FARA and require registration with the DoJ. If Allaham performed work on behalf of the Qatari government, he was required to register with the DoJ.

Last month, Craig Engle, an attorney for Allaham, told MoJo that Allaham did not need to register as a lobbyist or foreign agent regarding Qatar. Engle said:

Joey is not a registered agent of Qatar because the activity he is engaged in was exempt from the definition of registered activity under FARA.

He would not elaborate. But last Thursday, Allaham said he plans to register retroactively to cover his work. he said in a statement provided by Engle:

When I started my work with Qatar, there was no fixed start date, no written contract, and their attorneys never told me whether I had to register with FARA. I don’t know if I ever was a so-called legal agent of Qatar, but I do know that as of Friday I am not anything with them. So I am filing a combined FARA registration and termination report. It may not be legally required, but I want the public record to be clear that I am no longer affiliated with them.

As Allaham and Muzin connected Jewish leaders with Qatar, this effort sparked a bitter dispute within the conservative Jewish world. Elliott Broidy, a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a top fundraiser for Trump and the RNC, was one of several prominent Jewish conservatives who criticized Muzin for signing up with Qatar. According to the lawsuit Broidy filed this spring against Muzin, al-Rumaihi, Qatar and others, Broidy had discouraged Pindo Jewish leaders from joining the trips to Qatar. Broidy stated in that filing:

I considered the effort to bring Pindo Jewish leaders to Qatar to be a despicable PR stunt by a government that sponsors organizations that murder innocent Pindos and Israelis.

He added that he previously talked many Jewish leaders out of accepting invitations to meet with the emir last September when al-Thani attended the UNGA opening session. In the lawsuit, Broidy claims that he has been targeted by Qatar and Muzin for his anti-Qatar efforts, alleging that hackers hired by Qatar unlawfully accessed his and his wife’s email accounts, stole emails and documents from them, and leaked the purloined material to the press. Broidy has recently been in the news due to his connection to a businessman whose alleged influence-peddling activities are reportedly being examined by special counsel Robert Mueller. Broidy also made headlines for using Michael Cohen to pay $1.6m to a former Playmate with whom he had an extramarital affair. On Jun 6, a judge overseeing the Broidy lawsuit ordered Allaham, whom Broidy’s legal team had named as a witness in this case, to comply with a subpoena from Broidy’s lawyers demanding he produce documents related to his relationship with Qatar and Qatari agents operating in Pindostan. Lee Wolosky, one of Broidy’s attorneys, said:

(The order) affirms that Pindo citizens who are hired by foreign governments are still subject to our laws here in Pindostan.

It was after the judge’s order that Allaham ended his work for Qatar and said he would now register as a foreign agent. On the same day the order was issued, Muzin announced in a tweet:

(I am) no longer representing the State of Qatar. I look forward to speaking out in the days ahead about the challenges we faced and what more needs to be done.

The outreach to Jewish leaders organized by Allaham has been a small piece of Qatar’s campaign to generate goodwill among individuals who may have Trump’s ear. Advocates for the Qataris say this campaign has paid off. Last year, Trump called Qatar a “funder of terrorism” and backed the blockade by the country’s neighbors. And around that time, critics of Qatar within Pindostan were talking of removing an important Pindo military base from Qatar. But in January, Trump called al-Thani and praised Qatar for being “one of the few countries” to sign a counter-terrorism agreement with the United States. And in his April meeting with the emir, Trump told him he appreciated the country’s efforts to fight terror. the president said:

You’ve now become a very big advocate, and we appreciate that.

Though he ended his networking for Qatar, Joey Allaham may not be finished working with foreign governments. According to several sources, he has developed a relationship with the government of Morocco. Dershowitz says that Allaham organized a Mar 2018 trip he took to Morocco, where Dershowitz met with several state officials. Allaham wouldn’t say whether he will register as a foreign agent for any work he does for that country.

* The descriptions of Ice Cube and Kwatinetz’s lawsuit against al-Rumaihi and al-Rumaihi’s interview with the Intercept have been revised for clarity and to correct the affiliation of the spokeswoman.

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