Ezra Friedlander, a high-profile Democratic lobbyist who is working as a consultant for Qatari businessman Hassan Ali Bin Ali (HABA), has been accused of lobbying the White House in favor of the geopolitical interests of the controversial Gulf nation.
Friedlander’s New York lobbying firm – The Friedlander Group – was retained by Bin Ali in 2014 in order to position the Qatari businessman as the “go to” person between the United States and Arab/Muslim world, and specifically to promote Qatar’s ties with the American Jewish community. Bin Ali is close with the Qatari regime, which has often employed businessmen and investors to promote Qatari interests in the US. Qatar’s state-owned sovereign wealth funds and investment vehicles, critics charge, serve the same purpose of advancing regime political and policy interests under non-governmental cover.
The accusations surrounding Friedlander, an Orthodox Jew, resemble a separate controversy in which Qatar’s government contracted with Stonington Strategies’ Nick Muzin — a former senior staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Orthodox Jew — in a lobbying effort to bring Jewish conservatives and other pro-Israel activists on trips to Qatar with the ultimate goal of influencing the Trump administration to soften its critical stance on the Gulf state, which funds anti-Israel terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.