The Qatari regime is paying a firm run by Jay Footlik, a former Clinton administration aide, to advise the families of Israeli hostages, according to a report Wednesday by Politico. The fee is $40,000 per month, and clients are told not to criticize Qatar.
The shocking report emerged as the various parties in the Gaza conflict attempt to negotiate a deal to release some of the 136 hostages — dead and alive — who still remain in the custody of Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that launched the war.
Qatar has funded Hamas in the past, and provides shelter for its billionaire leaders, who enjoy luxurious exile in the Qatari capital of Doha. It also runs Al Jazeera, a news outlet that has carried anti-Israel war propaganda into hundreds of millions of homes.
Politico reported that Footlik’s firm is just one of the Qatar-funded groups involved in advising hostages. Another is the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which has received over $1 million in funding from Qatar.
Some of the families trying to free their loved ones held hostage by Hamas in Gaza are getting advice from individuals and entities that have received funding from Qatar … an unusual arrangement given Qatar’s role as one of the chief mediators between Hamas and Israel and that the country is home to Hamas’ political leadership.
Footlik’s consulting firm ThirdCircle Inc. has been registered under FARA since 2019 to help arrange trips to Qatar for American elected officials on behalf of the Qatari Embassy, which pays the firm $40,000 per month, according to filings with the Justice Department.
The hostage negotiating group Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which the late New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson founded, has also received significant amounts of money from Qatar. Mickey Bergman, the vice president of the center, has also been a frequent adviser to many of the families and has reportedly advised them to not criticize Qatar.
The funding from Qatar creates a bizarre conflict of interest that means Israel faces pressure from Hamas and its backers on both sides of the table — not just the terrorists’ side, but from the hostage families’ side, which Israel is trying to represent in the talks.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.