Head of the PLO mission in Washington D.C. Maen Rashid Areikat, will oversee the PR effort. Photo: PLO Mission.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 7:14 PM
The USA branch of London based Public Relations firm Bell Pottinger has been contracted by the PLO mission in the US. The Holmes Report noted that documents filed with the Department of Justice, indicated that the firm would provide “advice on strategic communications, public relations, media relations and congressional affairs.”
The assignment comes only weeks ahead of a controversial and contested United Nations General Assembly vote on Palestinian Arab independence. The move, opposed by the United States, has led U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to imply the possible withdrawal of U.S. government funding from the United Nations, saying, “This would be exceedingly politically damaging in our domestic context, as you can well imagine. And I cannot frankly think of a greater threat to our ability to maintain financial and political support for the United Nations in Congress than such an outcome.”
Additionally the United States Senate has passed a resolution calling on the President to veto the motion, also threatening a withdrawal of aid to the West Bank if the PLO went ahead with the vote in September.
The Holmes Report revealed earlier that Bell Pottinger has a history with contentious Middle East assignments noting the firm’s work for the Bahrain government and public sector work for Yemen and Qatar. Bell Pottinger has offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Earlier in August the Algemeiner exclusively published the full text of an email send by a representative of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to worldwide Public Relations firms requesting to contract their services. It is not known if any firm was appointed by Gaddafi specifically as the email offered to “formalise any deal with your organisation through a third party to help move things forward fast.”
Others PR professionals expressed concern over the moral implications of Bell Pottinger’s move. Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR told the Algemeiner, “for certain PR Agencies, standing with the enemies of America and Israel is acceptable. Its just amazing that amongst civilized people, representing murderers and terrorists is ok.”
When reached by the Algemeiner, David Sowells, President of Bell Pottinger USA, declined to comment.