Rubenstein fends off Sharon death threats

NEW YORK: Rubenstein Associates fended off death threats last week to help bring Israeli General Ariel Sharon to a media event in New York last Monday.

NEW YORK: Rubenstein Associates fended off death threats last week to help bring Israeli General Ariel Sharon to a media event in New York last Monday.

NEW YORK: Rubenstein Associates fended off death threats last week to help bring Israeli General Ariel Sharon to a media event in New York last Monday.

According to EVP Steven Rubenstein, the agency received numerous calls from unidentified groups threatening to assassinate Sharon, the guest speaker at a New York Post Forum on the Middle East.

Rubenstein, which represents the Post and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, worked with the Secret Service to screen the 550-strong audience and alerted the FBI to the calls.

The breakfast event, held November 13, did attract some pro-Palestine protesters outside the Sheraton Hotel. The civil liberties group the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee also ran a full page ad in The New York Times to present the pro-Palestinian position.

The forum handed the Post a blizzard of publicity with AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNN and local New York TV stations all in attendance. Even rival New York Daily News gave the speech next-day coverage, and credited the Post as the sponsor.

Daily News staff writer Ralph Ortega said: 'When any world leader comes to New York we have to be there.'

Rubenstein was given 10 days to organize the forum once Post publisher Ken Chandler got the go-ahead from Sharon. Invitations landed on desks with a week's notice.

Attending the event were top Jewish leaders, former Mayor Ed Koch, Lachlan Murdoch and public advocate Mark Green.

Sharon used the event for some of his own PR, launching a veiled bid to replace current Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, during the 20-minute speech.

After his talk, Sharon answered a series of questions from a Post panel comprising publisher Ken Chandler, Niles Latham and Adam Brodsky.

Sharon outlined his peace plan and said he didn't regret his trip to the Temple Mount, which sparked the current crisis.

The Post has held a number of forums. The last featured Henry Kissinger.

Rubenstein, who orchestrated the event with colleague Pat Smith, said the Post Forums were intended to bring speakers with 'real resonance' to the city but also acted as a publicity device 'to engage Post readers.'



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