Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Taken from Mudar Zahran's Facebook page, photo of Michael Ross, Ted Belman, and Arieh Eldad at Jordan is Palestine Conference

Michael Ross has been somewhat of an enigma to those of us with an interest in the Jordanian Option. Referred to as "Chief of Staff/Secretary of State for Peace" in the Jordanian Opposition Cabinet's shadow government, and a prominent speaker at the recent Jerusalem Jordan is Palestine conference, we actually know very little about him. Two key players in the Jordanian Option, Mudar Zahran and Rachel Avraham, have vaguely referred to Ross as a "Republican lobbyist."

In a recent article relating to the Jordanian Option, I asked a question about Ross: "What is his area of interest as a lobbyist? Corn?"

It seems I was close. Not corn, but rather, something that rhymes with corn.

As it turns out, there's something called the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which calls for lobbyists to register significant lobbying activities with the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. This is by way of bringing accountability to federal lobbying practices. The Lobbying Disclosure Act means that the public can access details of significant lobbying by way of a government database.

When the name Michael Ross is entered into the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, two entries come up, both from 1999, for a lobbyist named Michael C. Ross. The first entry is Ross' client, the "Adult Entertainment Education Fund." The second entry is for the Michael Ross client called the "National Cabaret Association."

Is this Michael Ross the same Michael Ross who addressed hundreds of people at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center last month? The same Ross who shared a stage with Temple Mount activist and Member of Knesset Yehudah Glick? Is he the Michael Ross who is executive director (and sole board member) of the International Jewish Muslim Dialogue Center?

Let's take a look.

Here is the Michael C. Ross who spoke at the Jordan is Palestine conference (guy on the left).

Here is his Facebook profile.

Here is a photo of Michael C. Ross from the California Lobbying Directory of 2011-2012 (when he last appears, it seems.)

The address listed in the above California lobbying directory mirrors the one listed in the "Jordanian Constitution," drafted by Ross in February 2016.

This same document has Ross down with the middle initial "C."  Michael C. Ross.

Here's his LinkedIn profile. Can't really tell if it's the same dude, because no beard. But he's Michael Ross from San Mateo, a lobbyist.

The LinkedIn profile URL: uses the same backwards name as per his email address as listed in his draft of the Jordanian "constitution" (third screenshot above)

What do we know so far? We know that the Michael Ross who spoke at the Jordan is Palestine conference is a California lobbyist. We can't say with 100% certainty that there are two men in San Mateo named Michael C. Ross who were lobbyists from the 1990's through 2000 and on.

But we do know that a Michael C Ross from Sacramento (different home address) attempted to form a national PAC for topless clubs, the National Cabaret Association, in 1999.

A simple online background check confirms Michael C Ross from San Mateo once lived at the  Sacramento address in the above screenshot (blacked out), which Ross used in his capacity as a lobbyist for the National Cabaret Association.

We know that the very same Michael Ross invested in Tail Feathers, a Sacramento strip club believed to have been owned, in part, by a convicted rapist. Here's part of an article from April, 1997:

Michael Ross, a Tail Feathers investor and a lobbyist for the adult entertainment industry, last week filed protests with Sacramento County for approving the name change. He wants the Board of Supervisors to rescind the change in Dove's business license.

He's making that request, he said, to protect both his ownership rights and the community.

Unfortunately for that particular Michael Ross, "lobbyist for the adult entertainment industry," Tail Feathers filed for bankruptcy 18 months later:

Michael Ross, a disgruntled Tail Feathers investor and a lobbyist for the adult entertainment industry, plans to watch the bankruptcy process very carefully. "I think this is all a smokescreen," he said of Dove's bankruptcy filing. He and other parties who had disputes with Dove had been trying to resolve matters through arbitration, he said. Ross contends Dove owes him $125,000, although he said Dove believes that amount to be about $30,000.

Is this Michael Ross, "lobbyist for the adult entertainment industry," the same Michael Ross as the Republican lobbyist from California who would serve to negotiate peace between Israel and Jordan, if the Jordanian Option were to be implemented? Is this the same guy who would serve as Mudar Zahran's chief of staff? The same man who wrote an article smearing award-winning Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh under the pen names Michael Ben Avraham and Michael Ben Abraham?

If so, what is the connection between the adult entertainment industry and the Jordanian Option? And what is the connection between Michael C. Ross and Mudar Zahran? How did they stumble upon each other?

Because, if they're the same guy, you have to wonder why a lobbyist for the adult entertainment industry would take so keen an interest in an Israeli Arab journalist that he would up and write an article smearing the guy, just out of the blue. And then subsequently send it to Mudar Zahran. Who would subsequently send it to Rachel Avraham, to be printed under a pseudonym.

Screenshot from Rachel Avraham's Facebook page, since deleted.
How do we know Michael Ben Abraham is Michael Ross? Well, Rachel Avraham told us so. HERE, for instance. An excerpt from the linked article:

How did these unlikely characters, Ross, Zahran, and Avraham, happen to meet, to know one another?

And why would Ross print an article about Abu Toameh under a pen name? Why not send the article directly to Avraham, rather than through a third party?

Ross' only other writing experience, up to that time, was a single op-ed, penned under his real byline and posted by Jerusalem Online, by then editor Rachel Avraham. Why would Ross not send the second piece as a direct submission then, since Avraham had already printed his earlier work?

Troubling questions, to say the least.

One has to wonder if any of the speakers or their guests at the Jordan is Palestine conference bothered to check the identity of Ross, a man who suddenly shows up to take part in a controversial conference, someone whom no one has ever heard of before?

And what is behind Ross' involvement in the Jordanian Option? How did someone in the adult entertainment industry come to ally with Mudar Zahran, a man apparently running away from prosecution for avoiding repaying a sizable loan from a Jordanian bank, while pretending to be a political refugee?

How did hundreds of people pay money to hear either of these men speak?

Why did men of such high caliber, members of Knesset and important writers, share a stage with Ross, and debate him?

Why did Jews on the right so easily fall into step with plotting to overthrow the king of another country, without seeing how this would look to the world? How did we just accept people like Ross and Zahran, without knowing what kind of people they are, without knowing their history, their deeds?

To be fair, the Jordan is Palestine idea is a valid one, one to be explored and pursued, but perhaps through different means, by persuasion.

Because it is not our place to direct a coup or overthrow a king. This is not a good place for Jews to be.

The fact that Mudar Zahran and Ross managed to grab this much fealty among the Jews is rather pathetic actually. You want to know why they did this, you want to know more.

If you're a thinking person.

It leaves you feeling dirty. Used. Zahran is using the Jews to position himself as a political refugee, apparently to avoid prosecution for  refusal to repay a loan.. But we are so desperate we bought into him completely. Him and his henchman, Ross.

How did these two men meet? What is their plot? Is Mudar Zahran duping the Jews to save himself? What is Ross' role in all this?

I don't know.

But we have a right to learn the truth.

Which is why I sent some questions to Michael Ross and also to Ted Belman, organizer of the Jordan is Palestine Conference.

Belman refused to answer my questions.

But I will be certain to let you know, should Michael C. Ross respond.

UPDATE: And here is Michael Ross' response. As published on his friend's page. (It's a good thing Ross knows how to Start Your Own Country. He's going to need one.)


UPDATE (from EoZ): Mudar Zahran objects to the characterization of why he left Jordan. In an email exchange where he (again)  threatened legal action against me, he wrote:
 I did NOT flee any loans in Jordan. I left because there was a substantial threat to my life by the Jordanian government and the UK government has granted me asylum after fully-verifying my claim for asylum and seeing it to be valid and beyond reasonable doubts.

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