Hamas's massacre of 1,400 people in Israel on October 7 has catapulted the alleged state-sponsor of terrorism Qatar and its ownership of the Maybourne hotel in Beverly Hills into the spotlight for the oil-rich nation's role in financing the jihadi terror movement that rules over the Gaza Strip.
The Jewish Journal obtained an October 13 letter authored by Rabbi Pini Dunner, from the Beverly Hills Synagogue, to members of the Beverly Hills City Council outlining the need to not ignore Qatar's history and ownership in Beverly Hills.
"I am writing to express my profound concerns about the ownership and possible terrorist connections of The Maybourne Hotel in Beverly Hills," Dunner wrote. "The Maybourne Hotel is owned by the royal family of Qatar, who are on record making overtly anti-Semitic statements. Just to be clear: overtly antisemitic, namely against Jews, not against Israel – although clearly, this amounts to the same thing."
He added, "It is a fact that Qatar financially supports Hamas. Nothing happens in Qatar without the consent of the Royal family. The recent horrifying Hamas terrorist atrocity in Israel, which resulted in the death of over 1,000 innocent lives and the abduction of 150 Israelis into Gaza, further exacerbates the gravity of this connection."
Beverly Hills City Councilmember John A. Mirisch, a former mayor of the city, was the first politician to slam Maybourne owner Hamad bin Jassim's antisemitism, who is known by his initials HBJ, in an August Jewish Journal investigative report. Mirisch urged a City Council investigation into HBJ's antisemitism.
Mirisch told the Journal on Monday. "I'm grateful to Rabbi Dunner for raising the issue and letting his congregation and the Beverly Hills Community know about the role Qatar has been playing in the Middle East, along with their business interests within our City."
He added, "I support his call for a boycott until Qatar, like their neighbor Bahrain, decides to follow the path of peace and regional cooperation. Qatar needs to recognize Israel and to stop its funding of terrorist organizations like Hamas. It needs to stop its massive lies about Israel and its continual manufacturing of propaganda."
Mirisch has been the animating force in Beverly Hills to hold Qatar's dictatorship responsible for its antisemitism and sponsorship of terrorism, according to Yigal Carmon, the former counter-terrorism advisor to two Israeli Prime Ministers and tough critic of the Aal Thani family that controls Qatar.
Mirisch added that "I would definitely like the City to make a formal statement, but I don't think I have the support of a majority of the Council. I don't think the City generally books City-sponsored events at the Maybourne, but this should be codified."
He continued, "As mentioned, I also called for a separate resolution from the Council in which we would ask the State Department to expel the Qatari consulate from Beverly Hills. I don't think I have Council support on that either.
"We need to continue to make our Community aware of the ongoing support of Qatar for Hamas, as well as their anti-Israel and antisemitic behavior. Clearly, especially in these traumatic times, our residents should have the ability to choose if they want to patronize businesses whose owners promote and support groups who call for Israel's destruction."
Dunner noted in his letter that "I understand that Beverly Hills, like any other city, has multiple economic and business interests. However, as a community, we have a responsibility to be informed about and reflect upon the sources of our investments and affiliations. It deeply concerns me that funds spent at The Maybourne Hotel by Beverly Hills residents and visitors to our city could end up in the hands of Hamas, a vile and murderous terrorist group. I therefore urge the City Council to: 1. Immediately inform Beverly Hills residents about the ownership and affiliations of The Maybourne Hotel. 2. Consider the implications of allowing The Maybourne Hotel to operate within our community and the message it sends to the world."
HBJ told the Kuwaiti media outlet Al Qabas last year: "Imagine oil [was sold] by some Jews...what would be the price of a barrel oil? It would be the most expensive thing in the world." The prominent think tank the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) first located and translated HBJ's antisemitic comment. MEMRI's president and founder, Yigal Carmon, penned an August article on HBJ titled "A Terror Enabler In Beverly Hills And Bel Air – Part I."
When asked about the boycott campaign targeting the Maybourne and Qatar-owned hotels, Paula Fitzherbert, global head of communications for the Maybourne and other Qatari-owned luxury hotels, told the Journal, "We won't be issuing a comment."
Fitzherbert also represents Claridge's, The Connaught, The Berkeley, The Maybourne Riviera, and The Emory.
When asked about HBJ and Qatar's alleged sponsorship of Hamas, Sharona R. Nazarian, an Iranian-American Beverly Hills City Councilmember, told the Journal, "I am outraged by anyone that would associate or affiliate with the radical terrorist organization of Hamas. These troubling associations must be investigated."
Nazarian continued that "We are a strong and united community. Let us continue to be focused on the release of the innocent civilian hostages held captive in Gaza by Hamas overseas and the path to bring them home safely as we focus on a path to peace."
The Mayor of Beverly Hills, Dr. Julian Gold, and the Vice Mayor, Lester Friedman, as well as Councilmember Lili Bosse, did not immediately respond to Journal press queries.
The Beverly Hills City Council passed a precedent-setting US city resolution last week, condemning the Iranian and Qatari governments for supporting the militant group Hamas, which massacred civilians in Israel.
"The City of Beverly Hills unequivocally condemns those who have supported Hamas, harbored Hamas, and who have after the fact celebrated the death of the Jews and praised the Hamas terrorism attacks in state sponsored media, including the Islamic Republic of Iran and Qatar," read the resolution.
Mirisch's campaigning got the language against Qatar into the resolution.
According to an August MEMRI report titled "Former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jasim – 'The Thief Of Doha' – Recounts Personal Memories In Video Interviews, " Qatar bribed journalists in different countries. HBJ said : "We had journalists on our payroll, and that some of them became MPs in their countries." HBJ did not name the journalists or MPS. He said most Arab Nations had journalists on their payrolls.
Rabbi Dunner ended his letter by noting: "Beverly Hills has always been a city that champions tolerance, diversity, and respect for all its residents and visitors. We cannot allow our community to inadvertently support agendas that are at odds with these cherished principles. I implore the council to take this matter seriously and address it promptly. Residents deserve to be informed, and more importantly, we all deserve to make choices that align with our values and conscience."
Press queries sent to Qatar's consulate in Beverly Hills and embassies in London and Washington were not answered. HBJ is listed as a diplomat at the Qatari embassy in London.
HBJ and his son attempted to buy the Manchester United football team in the United Kingdom. After HBJ and his son, Sheikh Jassim, withdrew their bid to buy the club in October, the Manchester Evening suggested the Journal report, coupled with MEMRI revelations about HBJ's antisemitism, played a role in the collapse of the deal.
According to Manchester Evening News article, which hyperlinked to the Journal's August report, "It would be remiss to overlook the fact the Glazers are Jewish. Hamad bin Jassim, the father of Sheikh Jassim and former prime minister of Qatar, has been accused of antisemitism by the Middle East Media Research Institute."
Benjamin Weinthal, a Ginsburg/Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, reports on Israel, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Europe for Fox News Digital. Follow him on Twitter at @BenWeinthal.