WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) revealed today that the Turkish Government has hired former Bush Administration official, Noam Neusner, to harness Jewish American support for a Pro-Turkey agenda in Congress, with defeat of the Armenian Genocide Resolution as his top priority.
"If Turkey had a credible case to make to the Jewish American community – which has grown weary of Ankara’s pressure to deny the Armenian Genocide – it wouldn’t need to be spending this kind of money in a misguided attempt to manipulate Jewish American opinion," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Sadly, it seems that for $8,500 a month from a foreign government, Neusner Communications is putting at risk the well-deserved reputation of the Jewish American community as a powerful opponent of all genocides and a defender of universal human rights."
This revelation came as part of a September 30, 2008, mandatory U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) Foreign Agent Registration Act filings by Neusner Communications, LLC, a Washington, DC public relations firm that has been on the Turkish Government payroll since September, 2007. The initial registration document submitted by the firm cites "policy goals" including "U.S. Jewish efforts to promote a pro-Turkey agenda in the U.S. Congress." Neusner Communications LLC is tasked to ensure "regular emails and phone calls to Jewish leaders highlighting Turkey’s relationship with Israel" and facilitating the "creation of working relationships between U.S.-based Jewish and Turkish community groups."
Neusner’s filings reveal that the first order of business for the public relations firm was, in September and October of last year, to contact top Jewish-American organizations regarding pending Armenian Genocide legislation, H.Res.106. Beginning with a phone conversation with AIPAC Director of National Affairs and Development Jon Missner on September 17th, Neusner personally contacted groups, including JINSA, the American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs some 23 times over the next four weeks regarding H.Res.106. The House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted the Armenian Genocide Resolution on October 11th by a vote of 27 to 21.
The U.S. DOJ filings note subsequent emails by Neusner with the ADL’s Director of Government and National Affairs Jess Hordes regarding "ADL action on HR 106," and ADL Director "Abe Foxman’s visit to Turkey" in May, 2008. Neusner continued to hold meetings with AIPAC’s Jon Missner and National Political Director Rob Bassin regarding the Armenian Genocide Resolution, including one on November 29th. Seven months later, Neusner held a follow up meeting with Missner and AIPAC Director of Research and Information Rafi Danziger to discuss "Turkish concerns about Armenian issue; lack of support on the Hill from Jewish orgs." The meeting came just one day after the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a two-hour hearing on the South Caucasus region, with specific focus on Turkey’s ongoing blockade of Armenia. In total, in the span of one year, Neusner Communications contacted or met with Jewish American groups at least 100 times–32 times specifically to discuss Armenian Genocide legislation or Armenian American concerns.
Neusner is well-known to Jewish American leaders, having served as President Bush’s liaison to the U.S. Jewish community from 2002 through 2005, in addition to his capacity as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Speechwriting. Neusner’s DOJ filings indicate that he was hired by the "Embassy of the Republic of Turkey through DiNovo Strategies and Fleishman Hilliard." DiNovo Strategies partner Jay Footlik served as Clinton Administration liaison to Jewish Americans and to European and Mediterranean groups, including the Armenian American community.
According to the Foreign Agent Registration Act, a firm must register within ten days of agreeing to become an agent and before performing any activities for the foreign entity. It is unclear why Neusner Communications’ filings were submitted over one-year after it began lobbying for Turkey, a lapse that may represent a violation of U.S. DOJ registration guidelines. FARA also mandates that all communications from public relations firms must conspicuously cite any connection to a foreign government. Copies of email communications submitted by Neusner Communications to the U.S. DOJ make no reference to his firm’s representation of the Turkish Government.
Neusner Communications, Inc. is one of four public relations firms currently representing the Government of Turkey, including DLA Piper, Fleishman Hilliard, and the Gephardt Group, who together receive over $3 million a year for their services. Neusner Communications is currently paid $8,500 a month by the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey. Leading the campaign to clean up Turkey’s image in the United States are former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and House Majority Leader Dick Armey. Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston ended his eight-year, $13 million lobbying stint with Turkey earlier this year, after which he picked up a lucrative $2.4 million contract with Libya.
Neusner Communications filings are available on the ANCA website.
Neusner Communications Supplemental Report ‘s 09/07-02/08
Neusner Communications Supplemental Report ‘s 03/08-09/08