Quarterly Updates for (16 Feb 2018 — 15 May 2018)

Last quarter, Qatari officials reportedly blocked Al Jazeera from airing a documentary, titled “The Israel Lobby,” on the influence of pro-Israel groups in Washington. The move followed a string of visits from U.S. Jewish leaders to Doha in late 2017 and early 2018, and on 4/10, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) announced that its president, Mort Klein, was personally responsible for getting the project cancelled. Klein held numerous meetings with senior Qatari officials, including “a two-hour meeting with the emir in his palace,” according to the ZOA. Qatari officials denied the first round of reports that they had blocked the documentary in 2/2018. This time, Al Jazeera put out its own statement rejecting the ZOA’s claim that the documentary was canceled. By the end of the quarter, however, Al Jazeera had not aired the documentary, marking seven months since the head of the network’s investigate unit, Clayton Swisher, said it would be airing “very soon.”

Interest in the documentary persisted throughout the affair, prompting at least one publication to uncover some details about the revelations it allegedly contained. The Electronic Intifada reported (3/5) that the investigative film explored how one Washington think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), functioned as an agent of the Israeli government. Specifically, a source who reportedly saw the finished documentary said it contained footage of a former Israeli army intelligence officer saying that the FDD worked on projects for Israel, including “data gathering, information analysis, working on activist organizations, [and] money trail.”