last updated: March 22, 2012
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- Right Side News: Contributor
- Tea Party Nation: Blogger
- Middle East Forum: Former Publicist
- Children of Peace: Goodwill Ambassador
- U.S. Committee to Free Lebanon: Golden Circle Supporter
- Benador Associates: Founder/CEO
- Benador Public Relations: Founder
- Sorbonne: Studied Interpreting and Translation
- Universite Catholique de Lille: Studied Interpreting and Translation
- Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru): Studied Psychology
Eliana (also Eleana) Benador is a Peruvian-born, Swiss-American public relations entrepreneur whose now-defunct firm Benador Associates helped publicize the work of numerous neoconservatives and hawkish policy wonks during the George W. Bush presidency. Benador founded Benador Public Relations as a successor to her former firm, although as of early 2012 it appeared to be little more than a website with dated information.
More recently, Benador has become a regular contributor to right-wing media outlets, penning seemingly deranged articles about Muslim invasions , the “treasonous ” actions of the “Hussein Obama” administration, and how the “liberal” agenda of the American Israel Public Relations Committee is betraying Israel and the Jews.
Right Side News
Since leaving behind her public relations work, Benador has written for a range of right-wing media outlets, including the Washington Times, where she once speculated that the disgraced New York Rep. Anthony Weiner had become a Muslim, and the Tea Party Nation , where she blogged that immigrants from "non-European nations" were threatening America. By late 2011, Benador was a regular contributor to the right-wing online news service Right Side News , whose “goal is to provide accurate news and information about threats to our country and Western civilization, and to provide you with the opportunity to counter these threats.”
In a March 2012 commentary about President Obama’s reaction to the killing of several Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, Benador wrote: “While American people continue in their attempt to hide from an endless deteriorating reality, yesterday breaking news brought that president Hussein Obama takes ‘the killing of Afghan civilians by a deranged gunman as seriously as if it were our own citizens and our own children who were murdered.’” She added: “They are now telling us that they consider ‘Afghan civilians… as if they were our own citizens and our own children’? No, they are most certainly not our citizens and most certainly they are NOT our children. We have nothing in common. Period. From these statements, it should be obvious to all American patriots that Obama and his people are going grandly insaner by the day. And, regardless of elections, we must demand that Obama and his whole administration, including the people’s representatives who are doing nothing in front of so many blatant attacks against the American Constitution be all tried for High Treason.”
In another Right Side News piece, this one titled “Muslim Invasion Update,” Benador argued that a demonstration by Muslim women in New York’s Upper East Side protesting alleged police aggression amounted to a “veiled threat” against the United States and the West. She wrote: “Reportedly they also complained that ‘this would not have been done to any other religious group…’ Right, as if any other religious group had in their written mandate, black on white, to perform acts of ‘jihad’ against our civilization. As if they forget that their religion is the source of incitement for so many acts of vile terrorism perpetrated against Western civilization and our country in particular with the masterminded plan of 9/11. What Americans may be ‘not in the know’ is of yet another [piece of] information that is being passed in the sneaky, silent way that is traditional for this Administration and that makes it yet more obvious the tyranny towards which Hussein Obama is taking us.”
Benador and the Neocons
A former publicist for Daniel Pipes ’ Middle East Forum and associate of the hawkish U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon , Benador once claimed credit for the rise of neoconservatism in the United States in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Her firm’s website used to boast, “European educated, and a polio survivor, Ms. Benador has been the mastermind behind Benador Associates, which became the centerpiece of the neoconservative movement in the United States and the West in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11.”
During its heyday as a neocon publicity firm, Benador Associates clients included many hardline proponents of the invasion of Iraq and an expansive “war on terror,” such as Rachel Ehrenfeld , Hillel Fradkin , Charles Krauthammer , Richard Pipes , Dennis Prager , James Woolsey , and Meyrav Wurmser .
In a 2006 expose about Benador, the New York-based magazine Bidoun reported: "Founded, with what Mrs. Benador calls 'serendipity,' on September 10, 2001, Benador Associates has ridden the rising demand for such strident voices. If you read something that advocates regime change in the New York Post, or if you see a 'political adviser' on Fox News suggesting that Israel hasn't gone far enough in its attacks on Hizbullah, there's a good possibility that the appearance has been engineered by Mrs. Benador. She arranges speaking events for her clients, places articles in newspapers for them, and helps them address problems with their public image. Which is good for them, as Mrs. Benador's fifty-plus clients are hardly a lovable bunch. Benador Associates' first member was the late A.M. Rosenthal, an executive editor at the New York Times, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who, in the wake of the attacks on September 11, called for the bombing of the capital cities of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Sudan.”
According to Jim Lobe of the Inter Press Service: "When historians look back on the United States war in Iraq, they will almost certainly be struck by how a small group of mainly neoconservative analysts and activists outside the administration were able to shape the U.S. 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 [Richard] Perle , [James] Woolsey , Michael Ledeen , Frank Gaffney , and a dozen other prominent neoconservatives 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."
By early 2006, Benador began expanding the range of her public relations work to include individuals not involved in national security issues. According to a January 2006 press release, Benador Associates intended to diversify “into other fields of activities, enlarging the scope of its initial and successful areas in the world of politics, Middle East, national security, foreign policy, terrorism, relations with Islam and the Muslim world.”
In late 2007, Benador announced the creation of a new firm, Benador Public Relations (BPR), whose “areas of expertise—with absolute exclusion of politics—will include: international finance, with investment banking and infrastructure projects as the main chapters in that field; international real estate; science and culture.” According to a BPR statement, "Ms. Benador announced that in view of the uncertain political situation in America, she is to devote her undivided attention to her new public relations outfit.” Despite the firm’s expressed desire to distance itself from politics, shortly after its launch it posted on its website a picture gallery featuring photos of Benador with figures like Perle, Gaffney, and Ledeen.
According to her biography on the BPR website, “Ms Benador has been a keynote speaker at leading international events and has been interviewed for publications such as Asia Times, Die Welt, the Gulf News, Bidoun, Lifestyles, among others. Ms Benador has developed an international media relations network that expands from Australia, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Japan, the Middle East and Europe, in a variety of fields. Her contact database includes presidents, prime ministers, and decision makers from around the world. She has provided public relations services, among others, to the Arab Broadcasting Forum, the Young Arab Leaders, the Arab Strategy Forum, the Coptic Association, and has been advisor to a variety of politicians and business leaders worldwide.”