April 19, 2019

Documents Show Qatar Likely Hacked Boteach, Others Due to Ties With Adelson

Screenshot from Twitter.

A series of messages reviewed by the Jewish Journal show that the nation of Qatar likely targeted Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in a hacking scheme due to his ties with major GOP donor and Israel supporter Sheldon Adelson.

The Journal reviewed a series of WhatsApp messages between Nick Muzin, the former deputy chief of staff for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) presidential campaign, and Joey Allaham, former owner of New York kosher restaurants. The two were reportedly contracted to conduct lobbying efforts on behalf of the Qatari government.

On Jan. 26, Allaham messaged Muzin, “This Vegas thing is bothering me,” referencing that Allaham and Muzin were not going to be welcomed at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) leadership retreat in April. A Republican source told the Journal that this was in part due to their ties to the Qatari government.

“It’s really shocking,” Muzin replied. “Someone very influential there is out to get me. It must be Sheldon [Adelson].”

Muzin added, “I think Shmuley [Boteach] stirred him up.”

Boteach and Adelson have close ties, as Adelson donated $500,000 to Boteach’s 2012 congressional campaign as well as an additional $500,000 to a PAC supporting Boteach’s candidacy. Adelson has also been a supporter of Boteach’s The World Values Network.

The rest of the messages show Muzin and Allaham monitoring media coverage on Broidy by sharing various links with each other and, in certain instances, talking about their desire to “go after” him in the media.

Qatar has been diplomatically isolated of late due to Doha’s growing warmth with Iran and its reported funding of Islamic militant groups like Hamas. Consequently, Qatar has attempted to woo over prominent members of the pro-Israel community to procure influence in the Trump administration.

Former Republican National Committee Deputy Chairman Elliott Broidy has claimed in a lawsuit that Qatar hacked his emails, as well as his wife’s emails, to leak information about him in an attempt to damage his reputation and discredit his advocacy against the Qatari government. Broidy’s lawyers have alleged Broidy was one of more than 1,000 email accounts that have been targeted by Qatar, including Boteach’s and a number of other American citizens.

Muzin has previously denied being involved in the hacking of Broidy’s emails; Allaham has previously stated that he wasn’t taking sides in the Broidy lawsuit. Both claimed to have ended their working relationship with Qatar in June.

The Qatari embassy has previously called Broidy’s lawsuit “weak” and filled with “conjecture.”

A federal judge previously dismissed the lawsuit against Qatar and Muzin over jurisdictional reasons.

“This ruling by the court in California was not a ruling on the merits or likelihood of success in the case,” Lee Wolosky, one of Broidy’s attorneys, said in a statement, adding that they “will pursue those claims aggressively on the East Coast where they will not have the venue defense they asserted in California.”

As of publication time, Muzin has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.