Wednesday 1 November 2023

Congressman Blasts ‘Callous’ Washington Capitals For Taking Money From Hamas-Supporting Qatar

 The National Hockey League and its Washington Capitals could face a congressional probe after the hockey franchise took money from Qatar, which backs Hamas, and the league ignored pleas from the parents of a hostage begging it to use its leverage to free him.

“Without Qatar’s assistance, the horrors of October 7 may never have occurred. Hamas leaders not only planned the unprecedented terror campaign from luxury villas and penthouse suites in Doha—provided to them by the State of Qatar—but they have been allowed to promote blood libels daily since October 7 on Al Jazeera,” Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI), wrote to Monumental Sports Entertainment (MSE), which owns the Washington Capitals and Wizards, and to the NHL.

The Daily Wire reported last week that American Hersh Goldberg-Polin had his arm blown off by Hamas terrorists and is currently being held hostage. His parents, Jonathan Polin and Rachel Goldberg, wrote to NHL Commissioner Gary Bruce Bettman to ask for help based on the business relationship, but they received no response.

“While the Qataris have sought accolades for supposedly securing the recent release of four hostages, over 98% of those taken hostage by Hamas remain in captivity inside Gaza,” Bergman wrote, “while Hamas leaders remain free to continue planning and orchestrating further terrorist attacks on the Jewish state.”

“Despite the murder of over 1,300 — including 30 Americans — and the kidnapping of at least another 200, MSE’s corporate spokeswoman last week defiantly declared that MSE needed to go forward with the investment from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to improve the ‘fan experience’ by having Capital One Arena sell better food and improve the ‘sh**ty lighting,'” he wrote, citing The Daily Wire’s story.


“I think I speak for most of my colleagues that such comments are callous and deeply troubling. Even worse was the apparent lack of concern expressed by MSE for those murdered or those still held hostage by Qatar-sponsored Hamas,” he said.

In a response to Bergman obtained by Politico, Monumental president of external affairs Monica Dixon said that Qatar’s purchase of 5% of the sports franchise was finalized in July and it was too late to do anything.

In an interview with The Daily Wire last week, Monumental spokeswoman Anu Rangappa also said there was no way out of the deal, even though even American majority owners of sports teams have been forced to sell over anti-black racism. Sports leagues operate as cooperatives where owners of other teams can exert control over who owns any one team.

“They’re not trying to gain any influence in any way,” said Rangappa, a former Clinton White House and Democratic National Committee official, said of the Qataris.

David Zimmerman, chief legal officer of the NHL, wrote to Bergman that “our understanding is that the State Department describes Qatar as an ally and a strategic partner,” even though the country has said that Israel is “solely responsible” for the terrorist attacks against it.

He said that the NHL acknowledges that Hamas committed terrorism but that Qatar’s investment in the Washington sports teams is “infinitesimal,” and it wonders why it is a “focal point.”

Bergman’s letter said the reason for Qatar’s interest in Washington’s teams is obvious — it is the nation’s capital, and the acquisition is in line with a concerted effort to influence centers of power.

“Since 2017, Qatar has hired at least 100 different firms for lobbying and public relations, according to the Foreign Agents Registration Act database. The State of Qatar has also lavished tens of millions of dollars on non-profit think tanks inside Washington, DC,” Bergman wrote.

Qatar’s misdeeds have “no doubt been minimized and overlooked at least in part because of Qatar’s extraordinary political reach inside Washington, DC. And now, MSE is providing the State of Qatar with an incredibly powerful new tool to strengthen the tiny emirate’s grip on Washington, D.C. even further,” he wrote.

The NHL and Monumental “have an opportunity to take a stand and reject the Qatari money that far too many companies have been willing to accept. If you refuse to do so, please preserve all documents and communications related to QIA’s planned investment into MSE for a potential Congressional investigation,” he wrote.

The NHL replied, “We would, of course, be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary if the U.S. government were to sanction or prohibit QIA investments in the United States.”

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