FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jared, Jerusalem, and Possible Jail Time

Photo by Chairman of the Joint Chief | CC BY 2.0

Jared Kushner, 38-year-old “senior adviser” to his father-in-law Donald Trump, is also the president’s chief negotiator for Middle East peace. Trump has absolute confidence in Kushner, who like the president himself, is likely a moron. He rarely appears in public and we know little about him except that he is in real estate, has zero foreign policy experience or competence, and is Trump’s key link to Israel. Oh, and his dad went to jail for ugly inter-family crimes.

It cannot be said that he is unbiased in his approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict he’s been assigned to “solve.” (Not that many U.S. officials are, such being the awesome power of the Israel Lobby rooted as much in the Evangelical Christian community as in the Jewish Zionist one). But he is an extreme case: an ardent Zionist, friend of Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party, even defender and financier of ongoing illegally, internationally condemned Jewish settlement expansion on the occupied West Bank.

He quite likely influences Trump’s views on Israel more than anyone except perhaps Ivanka (Jared’s wife, whose conversion upon marriage to Orthodox Judaism the absolutely irreligious ‘Presbyterian” Trump welcomes as though his view shows openness to diversity).

Trump is widely considered a malignant narcissist incapable of empathy. He has famously had problems with his oldest son (whose political opportunism has long since trumped his Oedipal alienation), ignores his younger daughter, and has divorced two wives. Melania looks glum in his presence. I suspect that if he loves anybody, it’s his filial Ivanka (a key defender of his support for women and their rights), and through her, Jared, to whom (despite his total inexperience) he has showered praise and accorded ridiculous responsibilities.

Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy there, urged by Israeli prime minister and war criminal Netanyahu, was no doubt influenced deeply by Kushner and Ivanka.

But the question I want to raise is: what the hell did Kushner think he was doing when, during the transition period between administrations in December 2016, he instructed national security adviser-designate Michael Flynn to contact Russian officials to urge Moscow to veto the upcoming UN vote on a resolution condemning Israel’s settlement expansion?

He was saying, “If my own government under Obama won’t do it, will you?”

Did he really think Putin was going to rethink the longstanding position of Russia (and the entire world, apart from the U.S. and Israel itself) that Israeli behavior towards the Palestinian people is unacceptable and worthy of condemnation? Did he think that Moscow is so eager to curry favor with his father-in-law’s administration that it would change its historical, principled stance on this issue? (As it happened, Russia of course supported the resolution as normal.)

Obama had instructed the U.S. UN ambassador to abstain from the vote, so it passed. This was a highly significant decision, signaling that the era of automatic ass-kissing was over. Netanyahu had been arrogantly confrontational towards Obama, even visiting Congress to give a speech demanding that the U.S. reject the Iran nuclear deal now backed (for the time being) by the U.S., Russia, China, U.K., France and Germany.

Surely Kushner, disappointed by the immanent embarrassment of his other country, fantasized the Russia might provide the veto that Washington declined to do. So he had Flynn work on the problem.

The Mueller investigation, seeking evidence for Russian influence on the U.S. election and“collusion” between Trump campaign officials and “the Russians”(for which, let us remind ourselves, no substantial evidence yet exists) has found through interrogating the now cooperative Flynn evidence that Flynn reached out to Russia during the transition period to restrain its response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats in December, no doubt indicating that Trump would re-admit them once in office.

Under initial FBI questioning, Flynn lied about these two instances of Trump camp contacts with Russia. He has pled guilty to these charges in a plea bargain and will now no doubt spill the beans on poor Jared. (I doubt he feels much loyalty to the kid.) This will no doubt lead to questioning at the very top.

It was one thing for Flynn (and Trump) to defy the policy of the existing administration to expel the Russian diplomats, whether or not that move was justified (and I personally think it was not). It was another thing to try to protect Israel from a resolution the U.S. implicitly supported by contacting Moscow and asking it to provide the veto always hitherto provided by Washington.

Kushner will be asked: Haven’t you maybe violated the Logan Act, that criminalizes negotiations by unauthorized persons with foreign governments having disputes with the United States? Anyway, why did you lie about your efforts to cooperate with a foreign power to protect another power, in opposition to U.S. policy?

Flynn the stool pigeon may be providing incriminating information on Kushner, just as he begins his hoped-for career as the whiz kid who saved the Middle East by such measures as decertifying the Iran accord and recognizing undivided Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

Trump has announced the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in six months. Will Jared be there for the ceremony, or under house arrest like Paul Manafort?

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail