David Reaboi Discusses Qatar and Terrorism

May 29, 2019
Photo courtesy of David Reaboi.

David Reaboi, senior vice president of the Security Studies Group, discussed Qatar and terrorism in front of around 50 people at the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 25.

Reaboi spoke after Shabbat morning services were held by the Beverly Hills Jewish Community Synagogue in the Sunset Ballroom, highlighting his cover story in the May 24 edition of the Journal.

“Today there is no more important bankroller of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas than Qatar,” Reaboi said, adding that Qatar is “savvy when it comes to information warfare” as well as lobbying for favorable policies in Washington, D.C. Reaboi cited the ongoing civil war in Yemen as an example of this.

“We think that Saudi Arabia is indiscriminately bombing schoolchildren in Yemen. What they [the media] don’t tell us is that the Iran-backed Houthi” rebels want their own Hezbollah-like state, Reaboi said, arguing that Qatar supports the Houthis due to Doha’s warm ties with Tehran.

Reaboi said that the Senate’s block on $2 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia since April 2018 is an example of Qatar’s effective lobbying in D.C. He argued that “the most pro-Qatar, anti-Saudi politicians come out of South Carolina” due to the establishment of Barzan Aeronautical, a subsidiary of the Qatari-run Barzan Holdings defense industry, in South Carolina in March 2018.

“Suddenly [Senator] Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) goes from being very good on this stuff to being very bad on this stuff,” Reaboi said, adding that even former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is “terrible” on Qatari issues.

The only Republican senator who is good on matters relating to Qatar is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Reaboi argued, pointing out that Cruz sponsored the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2017.

“He’s got a very good staff and he’s very right on this,” Reaboi said.

He also said that Qatar’s lobbying in D.C. has been “empowered by lobbyists in the Jewish community.” When an audience member asked Reaboi for names during the Question-and-Answer session, Reaboi listed attorney Alan Dershowitz and Zionist Organization of American President Morton Klein as examples. Reaboi added that Dershowitz visited Doha in January 2018, and then “immediately upon his return writes a piece [in The Hill] calling Qatar the ‘Israel of the Middle East.’” Reaboi said Dershowitz’s Op-ed was essentially a “paid advertisement” for Qatar since Dershowitz admitted that he was invited by the Qatari royal family to visit the country.

Another audience member asked Reaboi why Israel sometimes encourages Qatar to give money to Hamas; Reaboi responded that members of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Foreign Ministry argue that Qatar needs to fund Hamas since the implosion of the Gaza Strip would result in bigger problems for Israel, Reaboi said. The problem with this line of thinking, Reaboi said, is that Qatar’s funding of Hamas enables Hamas to fund pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) causes.

He later explained how the media helps promulgate Qatari talking points, citing Nathan Thrall’s March 28 New York Times article about the BDS movement and the Jewish community. Reaboi wrote in his cover story, “Thrall painted a bleak picture of Israeli atrocities and echoed age-old themes of untoward Jewish influence in America’s ‘paper of record.’” Reaboi argued in his speech that the Times never disclosed that Thrall is the director of the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) Arab-Israeli project; stating that the ICG is “40 percent funded by the Qataris.”

Reaboi also pointed out that CNN frequently has on British journalist Mehdi Hasan, a presenter on the Qatari-run Al Jazeera English, to discuss “every possible subject… no one says, “Hey this guy is being paid by the Qatari government.’”

In response to an audience question about the growing political divide in the U.S., Reaboi argued that the Democrats are moving “further and further left” and that “Qatar takes advantage of this” by using Al Jazeera English to discuss “woke” progressive issues while Al Jazeera Arabic does “absurd anti-Israel videos about the Holocaust and the usual crazy stuff… it’s an operation. It’s something that’s thought out.”

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