The prominent think tank Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in early August revealed that Qatar’s former prime minister made misleading remarks about Iran.
The ex-Qatari prime minister Hamad Bin Jassim, known by his initials HBJ, is currently the subject of a proposed investigation by a Beverly Hills councilmember. HBJ faces accusations of enabling terrorism and stoking antisemitism, according to MEMRI and a US congressional hearing.
HBJ plans to relocate to Los Angeles, where his luxury hotel The Maybourne Beverly Hills is located.
John Mirisch, the former mayor of Beverly Hills who now serves as a city councilmember, told Iran International, “Mr. bin Jassim’s statement is vile and yet another manifestation of the virus of Jew-hatred, something we in Beverly Hills, one of the few Jewish-majority cities outside Israel, have always condemned in the strongest of terms. I intend to ask the City Council to look into the MEMRI report, as well as Mr. bin Jassim’s remarks and to pass a resolution condemning any and all expressions of Jew-hatred, as well as any violations of human rights.”
The MEMRI report Mirisch referenced is titled “ A Terror Enabler In Beverly Hills And Bel Air – Part I, “ by the president of MEMRI, Yigal Carmon.
Mirisch also condemned HBJ’s reported antisemitic comment that was disclosed in a second MEMR report released on August 17 titled “Former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim – 'The Thief Of Doha' – Recounts Personal Memories In Video Interviews.”
HBJ told the Kuwaiti news outlet Al-Qabas in January 2022, “Imagine oil [was sold] by some Jews…what would be the price of a barrel of oil? It would be the most expensive thing in the world. It would be more precious than anything, like medicine.”
With respect to Qatar-Iran relations, HBJ told Al-Qabas, "I am against turning Iran into our enemy. Iran did not attack the GCC countries” and that Iran “did not attack the GCC. It did not attack Qatar. This is a simple example. It did not attack or threaten us. So why would I be hostile to Iran? I have disagreements with Iran on many issues, that’s true, but this does not mean that Iran is an enemy of mine."
MEMRI countered HBJ’s false assertion, stating, “Iran has staged multiple attacks on GCC countries by means of the Ansar Allah (Houthi) militia in Yemen—a militia that is backed and armed by Iran and acts upon its instructions. The Houthis attacked the Aramco facilities in Saudi Arabia in 2019. They also targeted Saudi and Emirati oil, water, and electric facilities in March 2022, and attacked smaller targets in 2017 and 2018. “
MEMRI added “In August 2018, Gen. Naser Sha'bani, a top official of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), admitted that the Iranian regime had ordered the Houthi militia to attack two Saudi tankers, and that it had carried out those orders. “
Fox News reported in 2019 that Qatar had advance knowledge about Iran’s attacks on Saudi, Norwegian and UAE vessels but kept the information to itself.
Qatar harbored terrorists with links to the Islamic Republic of Iran during HBJ’s tenure as foreign minister and prime minister (1992-2013), according to a 2017 congressional hearing.
One telling example was when the US Treasury sanctioned 'Abd al-Malik 'Abd al-Salam (aka Umar al-Qatari), a Jordanian with Qatari residence in 2011 and 2012, for working “with associates in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, and Iran to raise and move funds, weapons, and facilitate travel for fighters.”
The 63-year-old former Qatari top official has an estimated fortune worth $1.2 billion, according to a 2023 Forbes article.
When asked about the antisemitism and terrorism promotion allegations against HBJ, Blake Fox, Director of Communications for the Maybourne Beverly Hills hotel, told Iran International “Kindly note that your email has been well received. We do not have any comment to provide.”
Qatar and Iran’s regime both prescribe the death sentence for gays. HBJ upheld the lethal homophobic system in Qatar during his premiership in the tiny oil-rich country.
Karmel Melamed, an LA-based Iranian-American and award-winning journalist, told Iran International, “It's indeed sad and shameful that the current Biden administration which has long claimed to champion LGBT rights, has failed to revoke the US visa of bin Jassim … [who] has long advocated for the LGBT to be executed.”
Melamed added, “As a Los Angeles resident I'm honestly surprised that the local city government and members of the entertainment industry living here who are very supportive of LGBT rights, have not demanded bin Jassim's deportation or protested outside his hotel in Beverly Hills.”
The US State Department told Iran International “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
When asked about the MEMRI report alleging HBJ enabled terrorism, the US spokesperson said, “We have no comment on the report at this time.”
Iran International sent numerous press requests to Qatar’s embassies in Washington DC and London. Requests for comment were also sent to Qatar’s foreign ministry, to HBJ and his charity in Doha.