Between Mecca and Jerusalem

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(sultanknish.blogspot.com) The Middle East Policy Council, formerly the slightly more truthfully named American Arab Affairs Council, founded by two American diplomats who worked in the Middle East, is typical of how the Gulfies do things. Saudis and Emiratis don't do their own laundry or build their own buildings or pump their own gas, they hire foreigners to do it for them. The Saudi Lobby is their equivalent of the Filipino maids, British architects and Indian construction workers. Want someone to spread the smear that the Jews control America. Hire that boy who took our messages to the president, give him a budget and let's see what he can do.
You won't find politicians stopping by the American-Saudi Political Action Committee. Instead a whole bunch of former American ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, like Chas Freeman, explain their position to influential people, which just happens to be the position of the House of Saud.

That goes double when the target is the general public. In 2003, the Alliance for Peace and Justice ran a bunch of radio ads attacking Israel and calling for an end to the occupation. The "Alliance" was the end of a long tail that led through an ad agency to a public relations firm and to the Saudis. Qorvis Communications, founded a year before September 11, acts as the House of Saud's PR firm. Raided by the FBI back in 04, it's still out there and working hard for the kingdom, and has its own political action committee. Much like the way the Kuwaiti government used the law firm of Shearman and Sterling to run a campaign against Guantanamo Bay.

One Qorvis alum, Judith Barnett, another former diplomat, sits on the advisory board of J Street, the left-wing anti-Israel lobby. And the Finance Committee of the Democratic National Committee. Not to mention Amideast, formerly American Friends of the Middle East, originally the Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, an organization created to oppose the creation of Israel. Its co-founder *Kermit Roosevelt Jr had come out of the board of the Institute of Arab-American Affairs, which was headed by the same man who headed the Arab League's office in the United States-- proving that the Saudis were still playing the same game as far back as the 1940's.
Ms. Barnett's political activism aligns neatly with her business in The Barnett Group, which helps Middle Eastern companies overcome "trade and governmental regulatory barriers" to do business in the United States. This line of work isn't particularly unusual for her ilk. Barnett was formerly the VP of Georgetown Global Investments Corporation, which specialized in Middle Eastern investments. GGIC was started up by Marc Ginsberg, another former ambassador to the Arab world, who blogs at the Israel Policy Forum, yet another left-wing anti-Israel group.

Tying them all together is Ambassador Robert Pelletreau, another J Street advisory board member, the original contact man for the PLO and a member of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute, (funded by a collection of oil companies and the Sultan of Oman) and on the advisory council of the Israel Policy Forum-- and is also the treasurer of Amideast. In addition to all that, he's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and on the boards of the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the American-Iranian Council. The latter is part of the Iranian Lobby and has arranged meetings with Ahmadinejad. His former law firm, Afridi, Angell & Pelletreau is based out of the United Arab Emirates. (MORE)

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