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Friday, September 16, 2011

The PLO hired a PR firm that specializes in repressive Arab dictatorships

This slipped under the radar.

From The Holmes Report, August 26 (later mentioned in TheJC and The Algemeiner):
Bell Pottinger has begun providing public relations counsel to the organization that represents the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the US.

According to documents filed earlier this month with the US Department of Justice, Bell Pottinger USA has been contracted to provide “advice on strategic communications, public relations, media relations and congressional affairs” to the General Delegation of the PLO to the United States.

The appointment of the agency comes ahead of a critical UN vote on Palestinian statehood next month. However, Bell Pottinger USA president David Sowells declined to comment on whether his agency’s work would involve this issue.

According to the DoJ filing, Bell Pottinger is reporting to Maen Rashid Areikat, chief representative of the PLO in the US. Areikat serves an ambassadorial function to the US, with a particular focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Bell Pottinger is no stranger to controversial Middle East assignments. The Holmes Report revealed earlier this year that the firm’s work for the Bahrain government had been suspended in light of the conflict in that country. The agency has also handled public sector work for Yemen and Qatar.
So (as I had mentioned in an update to this story) when Areikat got in trouble for saying that Jews could not live in Palestine, almost certainly it was Bell Pottinger that swooped in to do the damage control - and Politico fell for it.

Hey, if they have experience doing PR for the wonderful leaders of Bahrain and Yemen, how hard can it be to make the Palestinian Arab mess look good?

(h/t David G)