- Saudi Arabia’s tarnished dream city hires PR help; Pro-Israel lobby confronts Engel’s defeat; Former Trump campaign aide lobbies for Pakistan; BGR renews Bahrain account
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman‘s futuristic dream city in northwest Saudi Arabia is turning out to be a nightmare for the local tribe that has lived there for centuries.
After a string of negative publicity over forced evictions and the brutal crackdown against critics of the project, the Neom Company in charge of the project has signed a $1.7 million PR contract. Ruder Finn is in charge of promoting the project’s corporate social responsibility promises, notably the educational opportunities for local residents.
This isn’t the first time Neom turns to outside help amid questions about the viability of the crown prince’s $500 billion vision in the desert. Last year the project hired CEO advisory firm Teneo for $2.1 million. Read our story here.
Pro-Israel lobby confronts Rep. Engel’s defeat
Wednesday’s apparent primary defeat of House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) by liberal challenger Jamaal Bowman is forcing deep introspection by a pro-Israel lobby that had been able to count on its Jewish champion for the past three decades.
Over at the left-wing Mondoweiss news site, former US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Policy Director Josh Ruebner is cheering a “monumental collapse” of the pro-Israel lobby. Meanwhile at The Forward, Abe Silberstein writes that Engel’s defeat could be “good for the Jews” as Democratic Party leaders come to grips that most of their voters — including many Jews — do not believe the party should always be in lockstep with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s right-wing government.
On the right, the Republican Jewish Coalition insisted that Engel’s projected defeat demonstrated “the shift in the Democrat Party away from support for Israel [accelerating] dramatically,” the Jewish News Syndicate reports. While praising Engel for having done “a great deal for the US-Israel relationship,” the group accused Bowman of having “an extreme and dangerous agenda” because of his stance that US military funding to Israel should be conditioned on respect for Palestinian human rights.
Meanwhile the Democratic Majority for Israel, which campaigned against Bowman, was left to awkwardly congratulate him while noting his declared opposition to the Israeli boycott movement and his support for aid to Israel in the waning days of the campaign.
Former Donald Trump campaign aide Stuart Jolly is now lobbying for Pakistan.
Jolly was the national field director on Trump’s 2016 campaign. He briefly represented the Czech Republic and New Zealand at the Sonoran Policy Group amid reported scrutiny over his efforts to highlight his access to the White House.
He’s now a consultant for Linden Government Solutions, which signed a contract with Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan in April. Jolly’s work will include “strategic consulting services, advice, planning, coordinating meetings with government, business representatives, and think tanks, and public relations in support of the client’s diplomatic goals.” Read our story here.
TODAY’S FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Bahrain: BGR Government Affairs has renewed its $65,000-a-month contract with the Embassy of Bahrain in Washington through May 31, 2021. The firm was first hired on an identical two-year contract in June 2018. The firm also added director Elizabeth Fontaine and senior associate Alex Ellis to the account. They join BGR co-founder Edward Rogers, Jeffrey Birnbaum, Maya Seiden and Mark Tavlarides.
Barbados: The Barbados International Business Promotion Corporation — aka Invest Barbados — has renewed its contract with The Group DC to facilitate increased direct foreign investment to the Caribbean country. The contract, which is dated March 1, is for $15,000 per month for March, April and May and $30,000 per month for the remaining nine months of the contract.
Northern Cyprus: Mehmet Dana has re-registered as the representative of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in New York. He was previously registered under FARA from 2013 until June 2018.
India: BGR Government Affairs has added director Chris Simeone as a foreign agent on its account with the Indian Embassy in Washington.
Tibet: The Office of Tibet in Washington has registered Tashi Dhondup as a secretary. The office reported almost $500,000 in receipts from Tibetan associations across North America in the six months through March and $190,000 in expenses. During the period members of the office met with multiple lawmakers to notably discuss the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, which would sanction Chinese officials who interfere with the Dalai Lama’s succession. The bill cleared the House in January but remains stuck in the Senate.
TODAY’S DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Libya: Linden Government Relations has stopped lobbying for Libyan strongman Khalifa Hifter‘s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), according to a termination filing that was effective June 19. Linden also discloses its work for the LNA under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which still lists the registration as active.
Nigeria: Mercury Public Affairs has terminated its domestic lobbying registration for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s pick to lead the World Trade Organization. The termination was effective June 6, just one day after Mercury’s registration was effective. Mercury did not respond to a query about whether the contract ended almost as soon as it started or if it is simply moving the registration over to the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit of the Justice Department. Read our June 18 scoop on Okonjo-Iweala‘s lobbying here.