Benador Associates is a public relations firm that promotes conservative writers and speakers dealing with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
According to Benador's web site, Benador Associates is a "Public Relations, Media and International Speakers Bureau." Benador was founded by Eleana Benador. Offices are "located in New York City as well as in Paris and London. However, the activities of the firm are expanding throughout the American continent, as well as in Europe and the Middle East."
Jim Lobe describes Benador as follows:
"When historians look back on the United States war in Iraq, they will almost certainly be struck by how a small group of mainly neo-conservative analysts and activists outside the administration were able to shape the US media debate in ways that made the drive to war so much easier than it might have been… But historians would be negligent if they ignored the day-to-day work of one person who, as much as anyone outside the administration, made their media ubiquity possible. Meet Eleana Benador, the Peruvian-born publicist for Perle, Woolsey, Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney and a dozen other prominent neo-conservatives whose hawkish opinions proved very hard to avoid for anyone who watched news talk shows or read the op-ed pages of major newspapers over the past 20 months."
— Jim Lobe, The Andean Condor among the Hawks, Asia Times, August 15, 2003.
Benador's Speakers are "a highly qualified cadre of inspiring, knowledgeable speakers who are available to address your group or broadcast audience...Each of our experts is nationally and internationally recognized on issues of the Middle East and national security, among others."
(Listed as Expert - April 28, 2006)
- Max Boot
- Khalid Durán
- Frank Gaffney Jr.
- Khidhir Hamza
- Saad Eddin Ibrahim
- Martin Kramer
- Shaykh Kabbani
- Judith Miller
- Salameh Nematt
- Barry Rubin
- Michael Rubin
Planting fake evidence against Iran
In May 2006, Canada's National Post ran a sensational story by Benador associate and Iranian exile Amir Taheri. The piece claimed that Iran's government had passed a law requiring Jewish residents to wear a yellow insignia -- reminiscent of the policies of Germany's Nazi regime. The story was quickly debunked and the National Post apologized. Eleana Benador admitted that her PR firm had planted the piece. 
Reporting on the controversy, Larry Cohler-Esses wrote in The Nation: 
- [Eleana] Benador, who said her client [Amir Taheri] was "traveling in the Middle East," was impatient with dissections of his work. Terming accuracy with regard to Iran "a luxury," she said, "My major concern is the large picture. Is Taheri writing one or two details that are not accurate? This is a guy who is putting his life at stake." She noted that "the Iranian government has killed its opponents." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "says he wants to destroy Israel. He says the Holocaust never happened.... As much as being accurate is important, in the end it's important to side with what's right. What's wrong is siding with the terrorists."
- Taheri might seem to be one of Benador's biggest liabilities. In fact, he is right now the agency's proudest coup. On May 30--just days after the National Post's apology for running his false story on Iranian Jews--Taheri was one of a group of "Iraq experts" brought to the White House to consult with George W. Bush on the disastrous situation there.
What others say
- So there are these peculiar archipelagoes of opaqueness in the world of news, where journalists are at the mercy of single sources that appear solid. It is very dangerous for the US cable news channels to depend so heavily for analysis of things like Iraq and the war on terror, on retired military officers and on well-connected cyphers like Walid Phares. (Hint to cable news personnel departments: if an academic has a spotty publication record and is at some small place or doesn't have a proper university post, but you get a call pushing him from some rightwing think tank in Washington or from the Benador Agency, be suspicious).
- Juan Cole, Psy-Ops and News, Informed Comment, Dec. 3, 2004.
Phone: (917) 626-1266
Email: info AT benadorassociates.com
To contact Eleana Benador: eb AT benadorassociates.com
- Some information about Benador Associates is available (in French) here
- Laura Miller, "War is Sell," PR Watch, 4th Quarter 2002.
- Jim Lobe, "The Andean condor among the hawks," Asia Times, August 15, 2003.
- Brian Whitaker, "Conflict and catchphrases", The Guardian, February 24, 2003.
- "Benador Reps Sharansky", O'Dwyers PR Daily, June 6, 2005.
- Larry Cohler-Esses, "Bunkum From Benador," The Nation, June 14, 2006.