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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Groups protest outside Qatari embassy in Washington, D.C., ahead of Yom Kippur

Jewish organizations demonstrated outside of the Qatari embassy in Washington, D.C. last Thursday to demand the Gulf emirate use its leverage over Hamas to secure the release of two dead Israeli soldiers slain by the Palestinian terrorist group over three years ago.

The protest, organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, featured remarks from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md.), who accused Qatar of violating basic human decency in its refusal to pressure Hamas to turn over the bodies of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul.

Goldin and Shaul were killed by Hamas militants during a United Nations-brokered ceasefire in the 2014 Gaza war. Goldin, 23, was last seen being dragged into a Hamas tunnel, where pieces of his equipment were found covered in blood and tissue.

The demonstration was held one day before Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, and featured speeches by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders. Jewish law recognizes the human body as sacred and requires its burial upon death.

Facing unprecedented isolation from its Gulf neighbors over its alleged support for terrorist groups, Qatar earlier this month launched an outreach campaign to the American Jewish community, promising to release the bodies of Goldin and Shaul in exchange for meetings with prominent Jewish leaders.

The effort, announced earlier this month in conjunction with the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York City, is being led by Republican strategist Nick Muzin, who heads the New York-based Stonington Strategies PR firm. Qatar is shelling out $50,000 a month to Muzin in an effort to improve its image among the U.S. Jewish community, according to filing records.

But the public relations push has so far been met with broad distaste among American Jews. The coalition of faith groups on Thursday accused Qatar of using the remains of Goldin and Shaul as a "bargaining chip."

"American Jewish leaders … will not be bought and human remains are not bargaining chips," said Ron Halber, JCRC's executive director. "If Qatar wants to join the family of nations, they could start by using their influence to immediately and unconditionally release the remains of these two soldiers. We will not rest until our children are properly laid to rest."

Halber said Hamas would not exist without the financial support of the Qatari government, which provides millions of dollars to the terrorist group each year.

Qatar announced last month it had restored diplomatic relations with Iran, further breaking away from the five Arab nations that have suspended ties with Doha.

By: Natalie Johnson
(Washington Free Beacon)