New evidence of Qatar financing anti-Jewish terrorism

Qatar is not becoming a "moderate' Arab state, as some claim, unless we ignore its financial support for terror. Op-ed.

Stephen M. Flatow ,

London rally against Qatar's sponsoring terror
London rally against Qatar's sponsoring terror
Yakir Zur

We’ve known for a long time that the government of Qatar is the world’s largest financier of the Hamas terrorist group. But now there is new and significant information about Qatar’s terror sponsorship—information that shatters the claims by some Jewish leaders that Qatar was becoming “moderate.”

A group of American victims of Palestinian terrorism in Israel recently filed suit against three major Qatari financial institutions for laundering millions of dollars to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. I don’t know the plaintiffs personally, but their lawsuit hits close to home because my daughter, Alisa, was murdered by Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in 1995. So, yes—this is personal.

According to the lawsuit, the money was laundered by two Qatari banks, the Masraf al Rayan bank and the Qatar National Bank, in collaboration with a group called Qatar Charity. The website of Qatar Charity claims it is a non-governmental organization, but in a tiny Arab gulf dictatorship like Qatar, an institution such as Qatar Charity would not be allowed to operate unless the government approved of its activities.

The terror victims’ lawsuit states that in a US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, the CIA’s Interagency Intelligence Committee on Terrorism labeled Qatar Charity a “priority III terrorism support entity.”

The lawsuit describes how the money was funneled through banks based in New York City, then re-routed to Qatar Charity’s accounts at the Bank of Palestine and the Islamic Bank, which are located in the Palestinian Authority-controlled capital of Ramallah. From there, the funds were distributed to cells of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

If that’s not bad enough, the German weekly news outlet Die Zeit last week reported evidence that Qatar is also providing financial support to the Hezbollah terrorist group.

That’s Hezbollah, which has stationed 150,000 missiles in southern Lebanon, aimed at Israel. Hezbollah, which massacred 85 people, and maimed hundreds more, in the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

According to Die Zeit, a German private security contractor who has worked for the German government recently discovered documents proving that funds were being sent by “several rich Qataris and exiled Lebanese people from Doha (Qatar’s capital) to Hezbollah…The donations are said to have been processed with the knowledge of influential government officials through a charity organization in Doha.”

The Die Zeit report added that Qatari government officials offered the security contractor a bribe of 750,000 Euros (about $856,000) “in exchange for remaining silent about his knowledge of Qatar’s financing of Hezbollah.”

The Jerusalem Post, which translated the Die Zeit story, noted that in 2014, German cabinet minister Gerd Mueller publicly accused Qatar of financing Islamic State terrorists as well.

All of which, I suppose, helps explain why President Donald Trump has publicly described the government of Qatar as “a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

Just a few years ago, the leaders of several American Jewish organizations visited Qatar. They kept their visits secret from both the news media and from their own members. When journalists found out, the Jewish visitors defended their actions by claiming that Qatar was becoming more moderate. That claim wasn’t plausible then. It’s even less plausible now.

In the wake of the latest revelations concerning Qatar’s continued financing of those who massacre Jews, American Jewish leaders and organizations should take a number of concrete steps to set a tone for a new and principled Jewish communal stance on Qatar.

—Jewish organizations that have accepted donations from Qatari agents should return those donations, and provide documentation proving that they returned them.

—Individual American Jews who have served as registered agents of Qatar should not be allowed to hold leadership positions in any Jewish organizations.

—Jewish leaders who visited Qatar should express their regrets to the Jewish community for misleading the public about the nature of the Qatari regime, now that this information has been revealed.

Standing strong against state sponsors of terrorism is a Jewish moral obligation.

And it’s the very least we can do to honor the many Israeli and American victims of Qatar-sponsored terrorism.

Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” is now available on Kindle




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