In the 1930’s Hitler used an American PR Agency, and in the last few years, Hamas, Hezbollah and other killers have paid PR and lobbying companies to clean their names and white-wash their violence.  This trend continues.  

Last week, O’Dwyers PR Report, a leading trade magazine, revealed that The Raben Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying and consulting firm owned by Robert Raben, former Assistant Attorney General under President Clinton, has been hired by Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a UK-based Muslim charity.  This organization with an innocuous-sounding name is believed to be a terrorist organization by the governments of Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.  

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As The Jerusalem Post reported in 2014, Israel believes that “Islamic Relief Worldwide which markets itself as a charitable agency that solicits donations from all over the world, funnels cash to Hamas.” 

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon noted, “[The IRW] is another source of funds for Hamas, and we have no intention of allowing it to operate and assist terrorist activity against Israel. This is another in a series of steps that we are taking against Hamas in Judea and Samaria and the pressure we are applying, the goal of which is to harm the organization’s leadership and rank-and-file as well as its civilian infrastructure. These serve as the foundation from which Hamas operates among the local population.”  

The Gatestone Institute, a New York based think-tank has previously written that “The large number of links between Islamic Relief Worldwide, and extremist pro-terror groups, suggests that under the cover of a charity with excellent public relations officers lies a structured pro-terror group with an anti-Western agenda.” Excellent public relations campaigns can whitewash and spin even terror.  

Brown Lloyd James, an American Public Relations firm worked for the Assad family to burnish the image of the regime leaders. The firm arranged a glowing profile of Asma al-Assad, Syria’s First Lady in Vogue in 2011 entitled “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert”, which described her as “glamorous, young, and very chic – the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies.”  

ISIS understands the power of propaganda with their uber-powerful videos.  Perhaps someone in my industry is helping them to spin.

Ivo Ilic Gabara of BGR Gabara, a European lobbying firm once responded to criticism saying, “Mother Teresa doesn’t need our services. She isn’t going to come to us as a client. It’s always the difficult issues. If someone is willing to spend money on media relations, it’s because they have a problem.”  

Richard Edelman, CEO of the world’s largest public relations firm said that “PR is not like the law – Not everyone deserves representation.” I think Edelman is right.

I don’t agree with Lord Bell, chairman of Chime Communications, who was quoted in the report as saying, “No amount of media harassment or sensationalism is going to stop me representing clients that have a legitimate right to tell their story.” It’s a declaration of spin – using the term “legitimate right.”

There are lines and there are limits – representing terrorist organizations crosses all boundaries.

Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of America’s largest independent PR firms.