Whitewashing Qatar

The Jerusalem Post’s reporting from Doha last Friday was very disappointing. Qatar is a fundamentally dangerous and disingenuous actor which falsely presents itself as an honest broker, a moderating influence, and a friend of the West, even of Israel. The JPost ought not fall hook, line, and sinker for Qatar’s sinister fairytale.

Published in The Jerusalem Post, April 12, 2024; and Israel Hayom, April 14, 2024. Print-friendly copy

According to unassailable and well-reported Israeli and American intelligence estimates, the monarchy of Qatar has provided at least $2 billion to its Moslem Brotherhood affiliate Hamas in recent years. The vast majority of this funding has been invested in building terror attack tunnels and manufacturing rockets and missiles for war against Israel.

But you would not know this from reading The Jerusalem Post last Friday. Instead, 7,000 words of reporting from the capital of Qatar by this newspaper’s editor-in-chief (see here and here) would have you believe that “the humanitarian aid” and financial support Qatar has provided to the Gazans is “commonly misinterpreted.”

Qatar’s billions for Gaza, according to the Post, “often labeled as aid to Hamas,” has in fact “been actions taken at the request of the Israeli and US governments, targeted specifically at the poorest families in Gaza” and “meticulously coordinated” with the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to reach them. All this is designed, so Qatar says, to “foster dialogue rather than support Hamas ideologies and actions.”

The Post even offers its readers a lengthy primer in Qatari mathematical chicanery, to wit $10 million a month flows from Doha to poor families in Gaza, $20 million a month is dedicating to purchasing fuel for Gaza, and $35 is transferred monthly to pay the salaries of supposedly more acceptable Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Gaza (none of whom actually work in government in Gaza). The Post does not bother to do the elementary math which would expose the millions more lavished on Hamas’ military.

In the massive array of Hamas subterranean terror attack tunnels in Gaza that the IDF has entered over the past six months, Israel has found thousands of pieces of weaponry, technological hardware, and documentary evidence of Iran’s material supply networks and military training regimes for Hamas, and Qatar’s multi-layered funding channels for Hamas.

This includes full access to Doha’s banking and investment sectors for globally sanctioned Hamas operatives and money men, as well as luxurious refuge for Hamas leaders.

But you would not know this from reading The Jerusalem Post last Friday. Instead, according to the JPost articles Qatar is a benevolent and honorable country “striving for a larger purpose on the world stage.”

Qatar actively backs terrorist groups across the Middle East and around the world including the Taliban, Hezbollah, Al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda) in Syria, the Houthi in Yemen, Al-Shabab in Somalia, ISIS and Iran’s man Shiite proxies in Iraq, and terrorist groups in Libya and Algeria. It also funds radical Moslem Brotherhood groups in Europe and America.

But you would not know this from reading The Jerusalem Post last Friday. Instead, we are told that the al-Thani kleptocracy merely “aims at fostering stability in a tumultuous region,” almost heroically “facilitates sustainable solutions from Afghanistan to Yemen and Lebanon,” and plays a helpful, “intricate” role in global security.

The Qatar-based and fully funded Al Jazeera television network is an evil empire. It glorifies Hamas, including its “heroic” massacres of October 7 and ongoing “resistance” against Israel, and all forms of Iranian proxy terrorism against Israel. It aids Hamas by reporting on IDF troop movements in Gaza and on IDF forces concentrated along the Gaza border. It actively drums-up terrorism against Israelis in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv too, with special efforts during Ramadan. Al Jazeera also is a reliable platform for naked antisemitism and explicit Holocaust denial.

But you would not know this from reading The Jerusalem Post last Friday. All you would know is that Qatar is blandly “influential through its Al Jazeera Media network.” (A sidebar article by another Post reporter gently allows that Al Jazeera reports lies about Israel and Jews.)

Instead, the Post offers-up an unnamed senior American diplomatic source to tell us that Qatar “is one of the good guys,” that Qatar is “crucial,” no less, for Israel’s security and existence, and that Israel “won’t be able to survive” without cooperating with Qatar.

Wow. Good that the Post reports this, because I really did not know that Israel’s very existence depends on the good graces of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

In the horrible, ongoing saga of trying to obtain release of the more than one hundred Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, Qatar has acted a go-between mediator. Since it funds Hamas and hosts Hamas “political” leadership in Doha, it purportedly has channels of communication to Hamas and influence over Hamas.

But had Qatar really wanted to pressure Hamas into a hostage release deal, it might have, for example, threatened to expel Hamas leaders from Doha or cut-off their funding. There is no indication that Sheikh Al Thani has even contemplated this.

But you would not know this from reading The Jerusalem Post last Friday. Instead, we were fed Qatari propaganda about a deal for the hostages that supposedly was obtainable in the first or second week of the war but was ignored by Israel.

The “viable deal” that was “missed” by Israel would have freed all (at least civilian) hostages while leaving Yihye Sinwar and his henchmen in charge of Gaza without any Israeli military action, alongside the release of thousands of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails. It was all in hand, thanks to the wise and so-well-meaning Qataris; just dumb Israel rejected the magnanimous deal.

The Jerusalem Post ran this Qatari fiction in its lead headline. (Again, in a sidebar article, some skepticism of this ridiculous report was allowed to creep into the newspaper, but the masthead told the Qatari tale.)

Qatar has invested many tens of billions of dollars in Western cultural, sporting, and academic institutions, and bought-up vast tracts of American and European real estate, all in a quite successful attempt to immunize itself from criticism and to very successfully distort teachings and research about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Awash in Qatari cash, US university campuses in particular have become incubators for Moslem Brotherhood interests and radical Islamic indoctrination. The wild anti-Israel riots of recent months on these campuses are a direct result of long-term Qatari influence. The rise of antisemitic and genocidal-against-Israel rhetoric in American academia has gone hand-in-hand with Qatari funding.

But you would not know this from reading The Jerusalem Post last Friday. Not at all. None of this rated even a whisper of a mention in the profile published about Qatar. Nor were Qatar’s super-tight ties with Iran and its proven money-laundering for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Qods Force commandoes.

All this has been documented by the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI), the Counter Extremism Project, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, the Misgav Institute for National Security, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and other solid sources. But there was no room over 7,000 words and three full pages of Post reporting to refer to this.

The bottom line: Qatar is a fundamentally dangerous and disingenuous actor which falsely presents itself as an honest broker, a moderating influence, and a friend of the West, even of Israel. The Jerusalem Post ought not fall hook, line, and sinker for this sinister fairytale.

David M. Weinberg is a think tank director, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »
A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker

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