Some of London’s most luxurious hotels – including the Connaught and Claridge’s – are the target of a boycott campaign due to their Qatari owner, who was the prime minister of the emirate when Hamas moved its headquarters there.

Billionaire Hamad bin Jassim was prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar in 1999 when the group behind the October 7 attack relocated from Jordan to Doha.

He has been photographed with Hamas’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and, together with the then emir of Qatar, paid a state visit to Gaza in 2012.

Haniyeh is based in Doha, where he directs Hamas’s operations.

Professor Eyal Zisser, vice-rector of Tel Aviv University, told Jewish News: “There is no doubt. Iran has provided the weapons, the money [to Hamas] comes from Qatar. It has been involved with Hamas for years, and its abilities are thanks to Qatari support.

“Qatari leaders, anxious to curry favour with America, frequently say one thing in English and something very different in Arabic when it comes to speaking about radical movements in the region.”

There is no evidence, however, that Hamad bin Jassim personally funds Hamas.

The campaign directed at bin Jassim was lauched in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, where it is led by former London Rabbi Pini Dunner, now rabbi of the prestigious Beverly Hills Synagogue.

The boycott campaign was sparked by bin Jassim’s recent purchase of the Maybourne Hotel in Beverly Hills which is now part of a property portfolio which includes four London hotels — Claridge’s, the Connaught, the Berkeley and the Emory.

On the day after Hamas attacked Israel, bin Jassim posted a series of comments Twitter/X which appear to put the blame on Israel, despite the fact he rejected killings of (Israeli) civilians.

Without mentioning Hamas, he wrote: “The Israelis must realise that their government’s provocations at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque will only lead to violence, and violence begets violence. Although I reject the killing of civilians or their capture, at the same time I believe that all parties must take a serious look at finding a solution to this issue through serious discussions and negotiations as well.”

Rabbi Dunner told Jewish News he has called on Los Angeles city council to issue an ordinance “forbidding any official events or functions to take place at the Maybourne Hotel”.

Earlier this week, Beverly Hills City Council passed a resolution “in ardent support of the state of Israel”, in which it “unequivocally condemns those who have supported Hamas, harboured 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”.

Dunner said he wants to extend the campaign to the UK and said that he was ready to fly to London and ask the relevant government minister to freeze bin Jassim’s assets. “Why is this any different from what was done with Roman Abramovitch?”


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2023-10-21

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