US PR Giant Boycotts Israel, Works for Brotherhood

One of the world’s largest public relations firms finds themselves in a crisis of their own.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood shout sloga
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood shout sloga
Reuters

According to documents filed with the American government, WPP-owned Burson-Marsteller has recently been hired by the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood – yet refuses to represent Israel for their public relations needs.  An op-ed by Ronn Torossian in The NY Observer cites European news reports indicating that Burson-Marsteller refuses to work with Israel, yet proudly represents Muslim Brotherhood.  

As the Al Monitor first revealed, “Tunisia's Ennahda movement has hired public relations giant Burson-Marsteller to boost its image in the United States ahead of elections that could see the Islamist party return to power. The public relations push by the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired group comes as the Barack Obama administration has declared war on Islamists in Iraq and all but signed off on the military coup that deposed its ideological brethren in Egypt.” Burson-Marsteller signed a contract with Ennahda's London office and have agreed to "arrange meetings between Ennahdha representatives and stakeholders" and "encourage support for free and fair elections in Tunisia" with the goal of providing Ennahda "support on media and stakeholder outreach in advance of upcoming elections."

Torossian – a contributor to Arutz Sheva – revealed that Burson-Marsteller refuses to work with Israel.  Sigurd Grytten, Burson-Marsteller’s Managing Director turned down a $3.5 million engagement from Israel stating “We will not deliver tender to such a project… we are running a commercial venture. If we accept this project, this will create a great amount of negative reactions … Israel is a particularly controversial project.” Burson-Marsteller issued a statement claiming that the firm has no policy about whether to represent Israel – yet pointedly refused to say they would represent Israel.

“The facts are very clear – The Arabs spend much more than the State of Israel, and clearly this mega Public Relations Agency understands that dollars matter.  As they said, they are running a commercial venture, and will seek to white-wash the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood to an American audience during these sensitive political times,” said Torossian. “There is an inherent conflict of interest for a PR Agency to agree to represent Israel, and simultaneously work for entities opposed to the existence of Israel.”

Ennahdha’s members have been implicated in both incitement and violent actions against Tunisian and foreign targets. The party supported the 1979 embassy takeover in Iran, and evidence suggests it was responsible for bombing four tourist hotels in the 1980s.”

The leader of the organization, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, has predicted the end of the state of Israel, described Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 as “the first step in the complete victory of all of Palestine and the holy places of the Muslim,” and supported Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The man has called for the liberation of “Palestine from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean sea” and has openly threatened the United States, saying during a time of crisis, “There must be no doubt that we will strike anywhere against whoever strikes Iraq … We must wage unceasing war against the Americans until they leave the land of Islam, or we will burn and destroy all their interests across the entire Islamic world.”

Arutz Sheva will keep readers posted on this developing story.




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