Kushner Moves Center Stage

Kushner played a central role in organizing Trump’s first trip


U.S. President Donald Trump accompanied by first lady Melania Trump (L), his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, before delivering his remarks to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump accompanied by first lady Melania Trump (L), his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, before delivering his remarks to the Arab I JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

WASHINGTON – On Sunday night, as President Donald Trump was concluding a successful two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, the White House distributed a very rare press release: a statement attributed directly, “on the record”, to Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

“The president asked us to plan a trip that would help unite the world against intolerance and terrorism and we have made great progress towards that goal in Saudi Arabia,” the statement said, before listing what the White House considers Trump’s main achievements during the visit – “signing a landmark defense agreement negotiated by the President, helping to launch a new center to combat extremism and securing cooperation from countries in the region to outlaw, track and stop the financing of terror.”


The content of the press release wasn’t very different from the usual post-foreign visit statement put out by senior staff members. It was the fact that it had Kushner’s name on it which made it unusual. Ever since taking the role of a senior adviser to Trump last January, Kushner has mostly shied away from the press. He has not given interviews and has generally stayed away from speaking in public.K

The statement was a testament to Kushner’s central role in organizing Trump’s foreign trip, which started this weekend and will continue into the coming week. Kushner was specifically involved in the Saudi leg of the trip, and took part in the negotiations that led to the signing of the defense deal between the two countries, which is worth more than a hundred billions dollars.

Trump arrived to Saudi Arabia bruised and battered, after arguably the worst two weeks of his presidency thus far. This morning, he is leaving the country in a much better position, having turned the news cycle from his struggles in Washington to his speech against terrorism in Riyadh. Much of the credit for that will probably go to Kushner, although he is not alone in this triumph – Trump’s speech also had important input from National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and his team.

The next stop on the trip – Israel and the Palestinian Authority – will present another test for Kushner. Back in January, right before his inauguration, Trump said on a number of occasions that he is planning to put his son-in-law in charge of getting “the ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians. Ever since he entered the White House, however, Kushner has been busy with an endless list of other tasks, and has not yet devoted too much time and attention to the “peace process.”

Sources in the administration told Haaretz that people who work on issues relating to Israel and the Palestinians occasionally receive requests for information or analysis with a side note indicating it is intended for Kushner. “There is nothing consistent in those requests,” one source explained. “Once it’s about economic stuff, a few days later it could be something about the core issues of past negotiations. There is no pattern.”

Publicly, Kushner hasn’t yet made any comments on this issue, nor has he had any meetings devoted to it. The person in the administration who has taken the lead on the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s trusted and loyal attorney. Kushner did participate in a number of Trump’s meetings with leaders from the Middle East – including Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas – but there was no public evidence he played a prominent role in those meetings.

One previous Middle East negotiator, who has advised members of the Trump administration and requested not to be named, told Haaretz that “it might make sense to deliberately not involve Jared at this early stage, so that once he does get involved, it will become a major moment, and prove to everyone that this thing is getting serious.” Whether that’s the calculation or not, it is true that any signs of involvement by Kushner will immediately be interpreted as proving Trump’s interest in the peace process, if only because Kushner is considered so personally close to the president.

Kushner’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain a mystery. His family’s foundation has donated to projects and charities in settlements outside of Israel’s internationally recognized borders, and his father was reportedly close to Prime Minister Netanyahu in the past. Kushner helped Trump write his speech before the 2016 AIPAC conference, which had a right-of-center approach to the conflict, but didn’t include explicit support for settlements or opposition to Palestinian statehood either.

The visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority could be the perfect opportunity for Kushner to take the stage and increase his involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian file. But in order for that to happen, the president’s arguably closest adviser will need to find time in an increasingly packed schedule, a schedule that could become even tighter if the recent rumors and allegations connecting him to the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia turn out to be true.

Another interesting question to watch will be how Netanyahu treats Kushner during the Presidential entourage’s 24 hours in Israel. Back in February, when he arrived to the White House for his first meeting with Trump, the prime minister jokingly asked Kushner, in front of a room full of journalists and cameras, if it would be OK for him to say how long the two of them had known each other. The remark was friendly, but Netanyahu probably wouldn’t have spoken that way to a veteran, experienced and esteemed peace negotiator. It emphasized Kushner’s young age (he was born in 1981) and lacks of any previous diplomatic experience.

Kushner ended his rare statement on Sunday by thanking the Saudi leadership for their hospitality, and declaring that he is looking forward “to continue to accomplish the President’s ambitious objectives on this trip.” As Air Force One makes its’ way to Israel, we’ll soon find out what exactly will be Kushner’s personal role in fulfilling those objectives.

May 22, 2017 | 19 Comments » | 67 views

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19 Comments / 19 Comments

  1. Aux âmes bien nées, la valeur n’attend point le nombre des années.

    To well-born souls, value does not wait for the number of years. ”

    Pierre Corneille (A famous French author)

    Time will tell.

  2. a new center to .. track and stop the financing ..

    of private sector projects whose principals haven’t “donated” to the correct entities.

  3. I noticed that Ted publishes a lot of reprints from Haaretz. I , and my associates find that Haaretz is not only frequently wrong on the facts but they go out of their way to attribute negative motivations to those that they wish to undercut.

  4. @ LM Howard:
    Thanks for keeping me on my toes. I thought the article was rather innocuous and wasn’t misreporting.

    I know who Haaretz is. They are more left than the Forward. They are very pro-Palestinian just like Europe is.

  5. “Back in January, right before his inauguration, Trump said on a number of occasions that he is planning to put his son-in-law in charge of getting “the ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians. Ever since he entered the White House, however, Kushner has been busy with an endless list of other tasks, and has not yet devoted too much time and attention to the “peace process.””

    This accords with 666Kushner666 being the antichrist — something I have been pondering, but am still quite astounded at. He is already being called a “Wunderkind”. If he pulls off an “Arab-Israeli Peace Accord”, however full of holes, he will be lauded and wondered at by the world. Daniel talks about one “Messiah, the Prince”:

    Daniel 9
    [25] Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
    [26] And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
    [27] And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

    I do not know what this is talking about, and would welcome anyone who actually knows, to tell me. It speaks about a “Messiah”, yet he is one who, after “confirming the covenant”, turns treacherously against Israel and against the sanctuary.

    The book of Revelation talks about a man associated with the number 666 (Kushner’s address in his flagship tower on Fifth Avenue):

    Rev. 13:
    [11] And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
    [12] And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
    [13] And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
    [14] And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
    [15] And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
    [16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
    [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
    [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

    That’s another passage I do not fully understand; but it talks about someone who

    “deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast”

    The Mainstream Media has been talking about Trump and his team as “finished”, as though they won’t even last the week. I am not concerned about that sort of thing. Instead, I am concerned that he or his son-in-law will be looked upon as “miracle workers” of some sort; that Trump will somehow seem to “raise from the dead” and solve the world’s great problems.

    This is an age of Messianic expectations; and those expecting the Perousia are not necessarily well-versed in any scriptures. That makes it all the more of a danger, that they will go worshipping a false Messiah.

    Some analysts, such as Daniel Pipes, have been very concerned that Trump would end up as some sort of Mussolini. Trump is looked upon, among other things, as “incompetent” and an “ignoramus”, an assessment that Pipes also holds. He and they are wrong, however; and I am afraid that this unstable world, having swung so far in the wrong direction, will suddenly rebound the other way. Human nature is such, moreover, that I fully expect this to happen.

  6. Yes, it is helpful, Sebastain. The Bible says,

    2 Pet. 3:
    [1] This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
    [2] That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
    [3] Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

    I don’t say this to slight you. What you are doing, in making fun of the scriptures, is actually (1) affirming them and (2) letting us know that these are indeed the last days.

    You have also encouraged me, letting me know I am not the only one who doesn’t understand what seems to be a difficult passage of scripture.

    Thank you for your comment. I still would like to hear from someone here who is more serious about the Bible; because I really want to know about these things.

    By the way, I don’t watch Monty Python; but I have seen it. thank you for the humor.

  7. @ Michael S:

    So, how far back did these “last days” begin, exactly?

    On veut bien être méchant, mais on ne veut point être ridicule.[1]
    People do not mind being wicked; but they object to being made ridiculous.

    Pour être dévot, je n’en suis pas moins homme.
    Although I am a pious man, I am not the less a man.
    Act III, sc. iii.

    Le scandale du monde est ce qui fait l’offense,
    Et ce n’est pas pécher que pécher en silence.
    To create a public scandal is what’s wicked;
    To sin in private is not a sin.
    Act IV, sc. v.

    From “Tartuffe” by Moliere (1664)


    “My Top 5 Works of Religious Satire
    From Screwtape to Swift, Terry Lindvall recommends books that tickle the funny bone—and prick the conscience.


    “Terry Lindvall’s latest book, God Mocks, traces the development of faith-based humor from biblical times through today. Here, he thinks back through his research to pick the 5 best books of religious satire.

    In Praise of Folly, by Desiderius Erasmus

    In this classic pre-Reformation broadside, the Dutch scholar and gadfly Erasmus creates an ironic persona, Dame Folly. Her praise of her own traits calls to mind the medieval church’s abuses and corruptions. Erasmus’s quiet, even droll manner of unmasking the church’s vices and stupidities contrasts with that of his contemporary Francois Rabelais, whose bawdy satires make South Park look tame. Where Rabelais offers loud, raucous laughter at religious pretense, Erasmus’s quintessential work of fool-literature makes us chuckle at the foolishness we somehow regard as wise.

    The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis

    Showcased on the cover of Time, Lewis appeared with his horned devil, Screwtape, perched fiendishly on his left shoulder. The diabolical wisdom in Uncle Screwtape’s letters to his junior tempter, Wormwood, reveals a satiric mirror of selfishness. Lewis explained that the source of his insights emanated not from a study of moral theology, but from examining his own wicked heart. By confessing his sins, he exposes and convicts our hearts, too.

    The Little World of Don Camillo, by Giovanni Guareschi

    Guareschi, a 20th-century Italian humorist, has his hot-headed priest, Don Camillo, butt heads with his nemesis and friend, the Communist mayor Peppone. Camillo also debates with Christ on the cross over how to treat Peppone. By offering us a wonderfully flawed man of God, impatient and sarcastic, Guareschi invites readers to see themselves at their worst, but still under the grace of God. Laughter, we learn, can be a sign of humility and forgiveness.

    The Devil’s Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce

    Though not as famous as fellow satirist Mark Twain, Bierce poked at the eye of hypocritical Christians. His pithy, stinging quills drew blood with acerbic wit. Like Elijah mocking false prophets, Bierce takes on the pretend piety of his smug neighbors. He makes his readers writhe in anguish rather than merriment. This precursor to Screwtape was an avenging angel to religious posers (whom he dubbed “birds of pray”). His calling was to “lash rascals,” which he did with ferocity.

    A Tale of a Tub, by Jonathan Swift

    Three churchmen—Peter (the apostle), Jack (Calvin), and Martin (Luther)—divide and decorate the coat given by their Father. Here, Swift strikes at the longstanding divisions within the Western church. As he proposes in his classic, Gulliver’s Travels, “Men are never so Serious, Thoughtful, and Intent, as when they are at Stool.” For Swift, himself a clergyman, the best symbol of the sin of solemn bishops is what they produce as they sit and make new doctrine.”

    “Winner of the 2016 Religious Communication Association Book of the Year Award

    In God Mocks, Terry Lindvall ventures into the muddy and dangerous realm of religious satire, chronicling its evolution from the biblical wit and humor of the Hebrew prophets through the Roman Era and the Middle Ages all the way up to the present. He takes the reader on a journey through the work of Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales, Cervantes, Jonathan Swift, and Mark Twain, and ending with the mediated entertainment of modern wags like Stephen Colbert.

    Lindvall finds that there is a method to the madness of these mockers: true satire, he argues, is at its heart moral outrage expressed in laughter. But there are remarkable differences in how these religious satirists express their outrage.The changing costumes of religious satirists fit their times. The earthy coarse language of Martin Luther and Sir Thomas More during the carnival spirit of the late medieval period was refined with the enlightened wit of Alexander Pope. The sacrilege of Monty Python does not translate well to the ironic voices of Soren Kierkegaard. The religious satirist does not even need to be part of the community of faith. All he needs is an eye and ear for the folly and chicanery of religious poseurs.

    To follow the paths of the satirist, writes Lindvall, is to encounter the odd and peculiar treasures who are God’s mouthpieces. In God Mocks, he offers an engaging look at their religious use of humor toward moral ends.”


    Mohammad had people murdered for mocking him through poetry.



  8. Hi, Sebastain

    I will hae to spend some time, to cover your many quotes. Let me see… Moliere, Lindall (never heard of him — very recent), C. S. Lewis (read his works), Jonathan Swift (read him), Chaucer, Mark Twain (read them), Stephen Colbert (I’ve surfed past him but never listened to him)… interesting fellows all. You must know what Solomon said, 3,000 years ago:

    Qoh. 12:
    [12] And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
    [13] Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

    Concerning mirth, he said, 3,000 years ago,

    Qoh. 7:
    [2] It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
    [3] Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
    [4] The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
    [5] It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
    [6] For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

    Ah, thank God for the Jews! They have preserved for all time, the timeless wisdom of Solomon! Now, to your question:

    “how far back did these “last days” begin, exactly?”

    “Exactly”, no less! You expect a lot of me! Let me do some lookups:

    2 Tim. 3:
    [1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
    [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
    [6] For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
    [7] Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    “…ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    Ouch! That’s close to home, isn’t it? That doesn’t say when these days began, but we’re certainly in them, aren’t we? I once mentioned on a blog, how unreliable science is: One day, phlogistan theory is in vogue, then it’s out; one day the “steady state” theory, then the “big bang”… it just goes on without end, never coming to a definite conclusion. A fellow blogger scoffed at this, saying, “Of course those ideas change! That’s the nature of science!”

    It is, indeed. So many billions of dollars sunk into the Large Hadron Collider; and what did that army of scientists find? That they need to spend billions more, to make an eve larger collider, to make sense of what they found! Why didn’t they just listen to the Apostle Paul, and save us all a bundle of money! But I digress…

    Concerning those things I talked about in a previous post, particularly about the Turko-Iranian attack on Israel, the Bible says this:

    Ezek. 38:

    [11] And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
    [12] To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land…
    [14] Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?
    [15] And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:
    [16] And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

    “…upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”

    You know when those days began: in the late 1800s, Jews began to be gathered out of the nations in great numbers; and since 1948, they have dwelt safely in the midst of Ha’aretz. That IS what Ted Belman’s blog is all about, isn’t it?

    Just one more description of the end times; and then I will get more specific:

    Matt. 28:
    [37] But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
    [38] For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
    [39] And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    That is a scripture that Christians and Jews should consider very, very carefully. Some friends of mine are great fans of Hal Lindsey, author of “The Late Great Planet Earth”. I have not read the book; but I thoroughly disagree with the “rapture” doctrine that readers of it seem to believe. There will be no “rapture”, when cars suddenly lose their drivers during rush-hour traffic. Christians will not escape the judgment of the earth — we will be here, and we ARE here; because that judgment has already begun.

    Where are the Christians? floating up to the clouds, to be with Jesus? No, Matthew told us where they would be: They are buying and selling, marrying and being given in marriage. Probably the most significant mark of the end times, is that they are like every other time. That is why the scoffers say, as I quoted in my last post,

    “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

    So, the scoffers are showing themselves to be wiser than many Christians. Is either of us surprized?

    I think I’ve run out of room.

  9. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    I just scanned the “Ziggarut of Babylon” commentary. In response, I say, “Yes, of course God has a sense of humor! He made you and me, didn’t He?”

    Concerning these last days, indeed, God seems to be exercising dark humor. For years, I wondered what the “mark of the beast” would be. Finally, a few months ago, I was satisfied that it stood for the Hebrew rendering of Neron Caesar; and that “the beast” was simply a cipher for “Caesar”, ANY Caesar in any age; and in our age, of course, the current Caesar is Donald J. Trump. Then God seemed to blow me away with this “666 Fifth Avenue” business — a site on which Kushner is trying to get together the financing for an impressive tower (to show that he had a longer erect phallic symbol than his father-in-law). Before Kushner bought the place, paying the largest price ever, anywhere on earth (as if to draw attention to it), the place looked like this:


    Did the word, “obvious” occur to anyone? I never dreamed God would make this so easy!

    Also, not that these latter-day Cushes (Kushners) and Nimrods are very much into towers, modern-day ziggaruts; and their motivation hasnd’t changed one yud since the Tower of Bavel:

    Genesis 11:
    [4] And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and LET US MAKE US A NAME, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

  10. @ Michael S:

    My point was simply that irreverent religious satire — not to mention all of the other traits you mentioned in this last post — are at least as old as recorded history.

    Though it was interesting that, according to the Babel article, the idea that the Gods were going to.sweep humanity away was a pagan notion that the Jews — during the Babylonian exile — rejected. Also, that babel in Hebrew was a pun. Same word for babble and Babylon.

    Whatever end of the world prophecies are in there are generally interpreted as having referred.to the.empires of.the time, which.did collapse.

    And you don’t really expect Jews.to embrace the new testament here, do you?

    Funny coincidence, I’m sitting on the bus and there’s a first grader with his.science class stickie-post identifying him on his.chest standing in front.of me. His.name is.Ezekiel, like the prophet of the Babylonian exile to which all of.that referred. He’s Jewish not Black or Latino. All the Jews I know have traditional Jewish names like George, Susan, Ted, Vivian, Brian.

  11. @ Michael S:
    Hi, Sebastien. You said,

    “And you don’t really expect Jews.to embrace the new testament here, do you?”

    I don’t remember your saying you were Jewish. I was under the impression that you don’t believe any of the Bible. I was curious about what people think about Jared Kushner.

  12. The whole world is waiting for Israel to do something stupid and give in &to coerce Israel to give land to Arabs who have not proven to be good neighbours.Surely good neighbours do not kill their neighbours, ram cars into them,knife our children,do they? Let us wait and see when it is the right time to negotiate,if ever, to deal with normal neighbours like these !!

  13. @ Michael S:

    Did you not read any of the posts in which I discuss my background or do you believe being Jewish is about taking certain positions, rather than an ethnicity, nationality, race, which one can, with difficulty join, but it is usually a matter of birth not belief. One can join the way one can become a US. citizen. Are you Jewish?

    “According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother. Halakha states that the acceptance of the principles and practices of Judaism does not make a person a Jew. But, those born Jewish do not lose that status because they cease to be observant Jews, even if they adopt the practices of another religion.”
    Who is a Jew? – Wikipedia

    I have no problem with people believing whatever they like or being of whatever ethnicity as long as they are friends of Israel and the Jewish people and stand with us against those who would harm us. I have more regard for a gentile who supports us like Huckabee than a Jew who harms us like Noam Chomsky. You don’t have to be a Jew to be on the right side of history. But those who were obsessed with converting the Jews, whether Hellenists, Romans, Christians, Muslims or Communists is an ugly and bloody one. Any such attempt is inherently repellent to just about any Jew, religious or secular.

  14. @ Michael S:
    Moreover, referring to any Jew, but especially a Third Generation Bielsky Partisan, as the anti-Christ really crosses the line in my book, irrespective of political differences. It’s medieval anti-semitism, pure and simple.

    The Holocaust Encylopedia: THE BIELSKI PARTISANS


    “Defiance” Daniel Craig, Liev Schrieber, Jamie Bell (2008)



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