PHILADELPHIA – August 25, 2023 – The Middle East Forum has revealed damning court documents that expose the State of Qatar's withholding of key evidence from U.S. courts.
The case concerns its involvement in a "hack-and-smear campaign" targeting an American businessman and critic of the Qatari government. Released today, the materials represent the latest development in a legal drama that demonstrates Qatar's malign influence operations in the United States and its attempt to subvert American justice.
MEF has for years cataloged Qatar's subversive political activities, including efforts to infiltrate Republican Party circles to influence the Trump administration. In pursuit of this objective, Qatar retained the services of New York restaurateur Joey Allaham and attorney Nick Muzin, who promised to "create a campaign where we are getting into [Trump's] head as much as possible."
The pair also targeted prominent Jewish American influencers, including the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), in an effort to influence U.S.-Israel relations and foreign policy. Gregg Roman, MEF's executive director, reported on Allaham's donations to ZOA on behalf of Qatar and has called upon ZOA director Morton Klein to "come clean" regarding the nature of his relationship with the Gulf state. According to Justice Department filings, Allaham gave the ZOA $100,000 on behalf of Qatar.
In a legal maneuver that bears the markings of a censorship and intimidation campaign, Qatar even issued sweeping subpoenas targeting U.S.-based think tanks and nonprofits critical of its political interference and support for international terrorism. MEF, Roman, and others were named in the court summons, which was part of a larger Qatari plot that Tablet Magazine described as transforming U.S. courts into "a proxy battlefield for geopolitical opponents half a world away."
Qatar's foreign influence operations finally faced a setback in 2018, when former Republican National Committee official Elliot Broidy sued Allaham and Muzin along with the Qatari government, alleging that the parties conspired to steal and disseminate his personal emails detailing private communications, supposedly doing so as part of a sweeping effort to silence him and other prominent critics of Qatar's support for terrorism.
Months later, Broidy was forced to drop his lawsuit against the Qatari government after its lawyers successfully convinced Judge Cathy Seibel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that it was immune from civil action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. In 2022, with support from the U.S. Justice Department, Qatari lawyers also claimed the state's interactions with Allaham, Muzin, and other lobbyists were likewise subject to diplomatic immunity, threatening to derail Broidy's lawsuit against the D.C. insiders.
Now, however, "This narrative looks set to collapse," writes Sam Westrop today in Focus on Western Islamism, an MEF publication. Westrop revealed the court documents alleging Qatar's attempt to evade legal responsibility in Broidy's case. "New documents uncovered by Broidy reveal discussions among attorneys for the Qatari regime and its UK and US advocates, detailing efforts to avoid producing documents that would 'reveal the involvement of Qatar and/or its agents in the hack-and-smear campaign targeting Broidy,'" Westrop explained, citing the latest court documents.
To avoid legal scrutiny, Qatar sought to "wrongfully conceal discoverable evidence," "circumvent the basic rules of discovery," and "mispresent" Qatar's relationship with its American agents, the plaintiff alleges. By Allaham's own assertion, there was never a "special relationship" between himself and the Qatari government that should have shielded the Gulf emirate from civil damages.
Responding to the new evidence, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich granted the plaintiff's attorneys permission to investigate the "discovery conduct" of Qatar and its agents, allowing for the review of any documents over which Qatar has asserted "inviolable" diplomatic immunity.
"It's disturbing to witness the depths to which Qatar, aided by its counsel, appears willing to manipulate our judicial process," said Roman. "Its maneuvers within the discovery process erode trust. It's high time that foreign agents acting on Qatar's behalf are exposed and held accountable."
The Middle East Forum, a non-profit organization, promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects Western civilization from Islamism. It does so through a combination of original ideas, focused activism, and funding allies. For more information, visit www.meforum.org.
For immediate release
For more information, contact:
+1 (215) 546 5406