|This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.|
Thunder11 is a communications and media PR company based in New York. It specializes in promoting "companies, causes and people", and does so primarily by manipulating social media and creating astroturf organizations.
Richard Silverstein reports:
- Now, Ben Doherty of Electronic Intifada and I have exposed yet another such strange project dreamed up by a PR firm run by a former IDF public affairs officer and funded by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. The latter is the political and lobbying arm of the powerful New York Jewish community. Its director is Rabbi Michael Miller. On this project, he went into business with a PR firm "boutique" called Thunder11, founded by Israel-American, Marco Greenberg, who serves as its president. Greenberg was raised in California and attended UCLA. He made aliyah in the 1990s and joined the IDF, where he served in the army public affairs unit. No later than 2002 he had returned to the States, where he and his wife became trustees (page 19) of the AIPAC-affiliated think-tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This places him squarely inside the pro-Israel policy advocacy community. Aside from the JCRC, Thunder11′s clients include internet and social media firms like Conversocial, Media Friends, and Group Commerce.
Together they created a "group" on behalf of the JCRC called Iran180. I put group in quotation marks since Iran180 is not a non-profit organization in any sense you or I would know it. It has no office, no board of directors, no fundraising, no members. It does have a single staff member, Chris DeVito, its "director of outreach." But DeVito until a few days ago was listed on the website of another firm Greenberg founded, Washington Square Research (WSR), as an "account executive" (his listing was abruptly removed after Ben and I wrote our posts). WSR is supposedly a company that does research to support its clients and those of Thunder11. Greenberg’s partner in WSR is noted New York Israeli-American writer and NYU professor, Liel Leibovitz.
Iran180 is what’s known in political PR circle as an "astroturf" organization. It exists in name only and serves the interests of parties who can’t be seen publicly to be supporting an issue. In the case of this group, the JCRC and others like the Anti-Defamation League, groups like the American Jewish Committee and UJA Federation of New York, joined together as formal sponsors of the group. The JCRC is the only one that has conceded financing the effort. But they determined that they needed an ostensibly independent group dedicated to the issue of Iranian human rights. One that had no "dog in the fight" between Israel and Iran.
- Marco Greenberg president
- Michael Cecil account executive
- Josh Hirschland account executive
- Lisa Langsdorf director media communications
- Aaron Friedman account executive
- Website: www.thunder11.com
- Richard Silverstein, Israel Lobby Creates Anti-Iran Astroturf Group, Antiwar, 22 June 2012.