Prodigal Son-in-Law: Jared Kushner & the Rise of Neocons in the Trump Administration
The new US president, Donald Trump, seems a man not in control of himself as is evident by his erratic policies, both at home and abroad, especially his breach of election promises not to get involved in Syria. It seem his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is really the “neo-cons’ back door” into the Trump administration. Stay with us for a feature by US journalist Whitney Webb titled “The Prodigal Son-in-Law: Jared Kushner & the Rise of Neocons in the Trump Administration”.
In the aftermath of Trump’s drastic escalation of US involvement in Syria, many once-fervent Trump supporters were left scrambling for reasons as to why the President – who once fervently opposed US intervention in Syria – had suddenly made a decision more befitting of his former rival Hillary Clinton. Soon after, reports began to circulate that it had been the influence of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who had convinced her father to fire 59 missiles into Syria after being supposedly “heartbroken” and “outraged” over the alleged gas attack in Idlib on April 4 – an event which still has yet to be confirmed by independent investigators not affiliated with the rebels.
Taken at face value, the premise that the US President bombed a sovereign nation because his daughter had an emotional reactions to photos of an unconfirmed tragedy seem patently absurd. However, the base assertion that Ivanka convinced her father to attack is likely true due to the strong connections she and her husband Jared Kushner share with a foreign regime that has consistently supported change of government in Syria – that is the Zionist entity called Israel. Interestingly, in the days and weeks preceding the unprovoked US attack on Syria, there are plenty of indications that Kushner was involved in positioning the Trump administration for a drastic change in Middle Eastern policy. Most notable among these was Kushner’s trip to Iraq in early April where he had been invited by the US Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. “to meet with Iraqi leaders, senior US advisors, and visit with US forces in the field to receive an update on the status of the counter-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria.” At the time, many pointed out that Kushner had traveled to Iraq before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, leading some to label Kushner a “shadow diplomat.”
Also, of interest was the ouster of controversial Trump strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council (NSC), taking place only days before the administration’s dramatic reversal on Syria. Incidentally, Bannon’s fall from grace – which has only accelerated in the week since his removal from the NSC – was due to his in-fighting with Kushner, proving that Kushner’s influence in his father-in-law’s administration is much more powerful than previously thought. While it remains unknown exactly why Kushner and Bannon were fighting, the drastic policy change in “national security” days later seems to speak volumes.
While Bannon is hardly anti-war or anti-Israel, it seems that Kushner’s commitment to radical Zionism and neo-conservative ideas put him at odds with Bannon – who considers himself a “populist” and is a long-time conservative, unlike Kushner. Indeed, Kushner – until 2012 – was a key supporter of Democrats, much like his father, the notoriously corrupt Charles Kushner, and donated thousands to Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer. However, Jared Kushner had no problem changing parties as his political leanings have been shown to only change in regard to one issue – that is, Israel. In 2012, it was Kushner’s stalwart support for Israel, particularly Israel’s far right, that ultimately led him to reject the Democrat Party and support Mitt Romney’s candidacy. “Rather than strengthen the nation’s relationship with Israel as the Arab world imploded, President Barak Obama treated Israel as less a friend than a burden,” said the Kushner-owned New York Observer’s endorsement, summing up Kushner’s view on the matter in language that Trump would later echo.
Kushner’s unwavering support for Israel is obvious as any cursory examination of his background reveals. Kushner was raised in a wealthy Zionist family and met powerful Israeli politicians including current premier Benjamin Netanyahu in his teenage years. As an adult, Kushner has overseen the finances of his family’s foundation which has donated thousands to illegal Israeli settlements as well as thousands more to the Israeli army.
Of particular interest among these donations was the $20,000 donation in 2013 to American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, which supports one of the more extremist illegal settlements in the West Bank of River Jordan. The chairman of this organization, David Friedman, has been Trump’s real estate lawyer for the past 15 years and was selected by the Trump administration to serve as the US ambassador to Israel. Friedman is noticeable for being against the two-state solution, a position that Kushner also shares according to journalist Robert Parry and others – in view of his extreme hatred of Palestinians.
With Kushner’s “Israel first” mentality clear and his commitment to Zionism obvious, it is hardly surprising that Kushner, and his wife Ivanka, would push for a different approach to Syria than that promised by Trump during the 2016 election. A few weeks before the US bombing of Syria, Israel had once again violated Syrian airspace and bombed targets on Syrian soil, causing one of the Israeli warplanes to be shot down. Despite being the aggressor, the Zionist War Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli public radio on March 19th that “next time, if the Syrian aerial defense apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it. We won’t hesitate. Israel’s security is above everything else; there will be no compromise.”
While it remains unclear why Syria defending its own airspace is a threat to Israel’s security, the Syrian government’s recent gains against opposition rebels, particularly those actively supported by Israel and the United States-led coalition, may have prompted these foreign nations to act in order to protect their multi-million dollar investment in the rebels and the ‘change of government’ agenda they were created to realize.
That would certainly explain the rapid and fierce reaction of both the US and Israel to still unconfirmed gas attack at Idlib that even some world leaders have labeled as a “false flag” due to inconsistencies and dubious accounts of the event. For instance, Zionist Union chief Isaac Herzog — the head of Israel’s opposition — tweeted, “The United States and the world must lead an aggressive policy” – against Bashar Assad. Zionist Education Minister and HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett echoed Herzog when he tweeted, “The world must act against the chemical massacre in Syria. I call upon President Trump to lead this effort.” Other politicians from the US, Israel, and elsewhere also began to call for change of government in Syria in not-so-subtle terms.
This fierce reaction over the loss of an estimated 58 lives – in a suspicious incident where there is no proof of the Syrian government’s involvement – is unlikely the motivation behind the reactions of the US and Israel, as the US, a month prior, conducted an airstrike in Iraq that claimed the lives of over 240 civilians, while Israel, for its part, killed 1,492 Palestinian civilians in 2014 alone. Thus, the most likely reasons for the US and Israel’s recent outrage over the death of 58 persons in Syria’s Khan Shaykhoun in Idlib is unlikely to be the true motivator, making those two sides’ long-standing commitment to change of government in Syria a more likely factor in explaining renewed calls for Assad’s ouster.
Kushner’s influence on Trump’s Syria-reversal policy is telling, especially given that Israel stands to gain much more from Assad’s ouster than the US. By Trump’s own admission, US involvement in Syria would only lead to more debt for the US and yet another string of foreign policy blunders. Israel, however, stands to gain access to the massive oil reserves under the Golan Heights, the area of Syria that Israel has occupied since the 1967 war. Despite UN resolutions, Israel has vowed to never return the region to Syrian control and would likely work to officially integrate it were Assad to be replaced with a leader more willing to accommodate Zionist interests. Despite Trump’s campaign promises to not get involved in Syria or in change of government there, it seems Kushner really is the “neo-cons’ back door” into the Trump administration – pushing war to benefit specific political and economic interests, not the people.