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Obama-Linked PR Firm Runs Anti-Israel Campaign

A top US public relations firm has a new job: Blaming and delegitimizing Israel, and calling for end of blockade on Hamas.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/5/2010, 11:01 AM / Last Update: 7/5/2010, 11:08 AM

Flash 90

A top United States public relations firm has taken on a new job: Making Israel look bad on behalf of Qatar.  Fenton Communications is working with Qatar on the Al Fakhoora project – an Internet campaign dedicated to breaking Israel's blockade of Hamas in Gaza.

Fenton Communications will be paid almost $400,000 for the project, which describes Israel's insistence on controlling naval access to Gaza as “brutal and inhumane” and “crippling.” It has registered under America's Foreign Agent Registration Act.

The PR group works on behalf of a variety of clients, many of them politically liberal. Among its more well-known clients is MoveOn.org, an American group dedicated to ending the war in Iraq. It endorsed U.S. President Barack Obama in the last presidential elections and raised millions of dollars for his campaign.

Fenton also represents the American Medical Association, Human Rights Watch, and various United Nations-linked groups.

The Fakhoora project ostensibly aims to assist Arab students in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. However, its top call to action is a “call for a complete and final end to the blockade on Gaza,” and its website is filled primarily with stories accusing Israel of human rights violations for preventing foreign ships from reaching Gaza.

The Al Fakhoora site currently features an interview with Farooq Burney, a Fakhoora worker who was aboard a Turkish ship that attempted to defy the naval blockade of Gaza. Burney accuses Israel of attacking innocent activists, and fails to mention that Turkish activists bearing weapons attacked Israeli soldiers. A second testimony on the site refers to the Turkish ship incident as a “Zionist massacre.”

Qatar is one of the top donors to Gaza, and sends millions of dollars a month to the area. Individual Hamas supporters living in Qatar have sent millions of dollars to the terrorist group; among them is Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, who has given Hamas $21 million to buy buildings in Jerusalem.

The few student stories included on the Al Fakhoora project website focus on blaming Israel for allegedly making it difficult to obtain a university education in Gaza. Israel is blamed for everything from a shortage of pens to cuts in electricity – despite the fact that current electric outages are due to an internal struggle between Fatah and Hamas.

In cases where there are no physical impediments to education, Israel is accused of making it psychologically difficult for students to learn. “Whenever I think about the siege, I become exhausted, which impacts my studies,” one female student complains.

Al Fakhoora is named after a United Nations school in Gaza which Israel was accused of shelling during the counterterrorism battle Operation Cast Lead in early 2009. Though it was revealed in early 2009 that Israel had not hit the school, the Fakhoora project continues to refer to the school as “ a United Nations school in Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp that was the scene of an attack by Israeli tank shells.”