Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Jared Kushner's curious change of heart

(JNS) — Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, was a senior foreign-policy adviser in the Trump administration. Now an op-ed by Kushner published in The Wall Street Journal has caused jaws to drop.

Kushner was a key mover behind the Abraham Accords between Israel and the Gulf States. This agreement, brokered by Trump, was the most significant move towards peace in the Middle East for the best part of a century.

In parallel, Trump’s U.S. withdrawal in May 2018 from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, coupled with the re-imposition of sanctions and more severe ones later added, was gradually bringing the fanatical and genocidal Iranian regime to its knees.

Since President Joe Biden took office, however, there’s been mounting alarm that his administration is re-empowering Iran, dumping on Israel and undermining the newly birthed alliance between Israel and its former foes in the Arab world.

On Iran, the Biden administration has declared its intention to rejoin the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This effectively gave a green light to an Iranian nuclear bomb with only a few years’ delay. It also funneled billions of dollars into Iran’s coffers, enabling it to ramp up its regional power grab, and pursue terrorism and wars by proxy in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen.

Restarting this deal would be a disaster. Yet Kushner’s article was a paean of praise to Biden for his approach. He wrote approvingly of the Biden team’s “relationship” with Iran, and said the American offer to rejoin the deal was “a smart diplomatic move.”

By the “relationship” with Iran, he presumably meant that some of the key players behind that deal, including the U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, are now in the Biden administration.

But forming a relationship with a regime that has waged a four-decade war against America is inescapably an act of appeasement.

While officials such as Blinken pretended that the 2015 deal would bring Iran into the family of nations, its leaders recognized this as a weakness they could exploit. They understood that the Americans were so desperate to pretend they had tamed Iran that they would even present as a triumph a deal that actually green-lighted the Iranian bomb and would funnel billions into a genocidal rogue state, which America itself regarded as the greatest terrorist threat in the world.

So it was. And now the same officials are intent on repeating the same lethally craven exercise.

Although Blinken has said America won’t enter negotiations or lift sanctions against Iran until it comes back into compliance, many take this with a pinch of salt from an administration that’s clearly gagging to make nice with the regime once again.

Yet according to Kushner, Biden’s offer to Iran called its bluff when America refused its demand to be rewarded for initiating negotiations. This, said Kushner, revealed to the Europeans that the 2015 deal was dead.

But the Europeans recognized no such thing. On the contrary, they tried to broker negotiations between America and Iran — only to get slapped down contemptuously by the regime, which repeated its demand that Washington lift sanctions first.

A “smart diplomatic move”? More like a national humiliation.

Smelling exactly the same weakness by many of the very same people, an emboldened Iran has shown its contempt for America by increasing terrorist attacks in the Middle East and stepping up its progress to a nuclear bomb.

Last year, Iran was enriching uranium to 4.5 percent, breaching the 2015 deal’s limit of 3.67 percent. As soon as Biden took office, however, Tehran started enriching uranium to 20 percent, which, according to John Hannahof the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, represents 90 percent of the work required to produce weapons-grade material.

The more Biden reaches out to Iran, the more Iran attacks American assets. Last month, Blinken announced that the United States would no longer designate the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen as a terrorist group, signaling that it now backed Iran against America’s Saudi Arabian ally that is fighting Iran in Yemen. Two days later, the Houthis launched drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Last month, Iran attacked a U.S. base in northern Iraq, killing an American contractor and wounding several other civilians. The American military wanted to respond by attacking Iranian assets in Iraq, but this was vetoed by Biden.

Instead, the United States launched an attack on Iran-backed Shi’ite militias in northern Syria, in which no Iranians were killed.

This may have been because the United States notified the Russians about their attack plans in advance and the Russians promptly tipped off the Iranians. Or it may have been because these Iran-backed militias were non-Iranian Shi’ites — meaning there weren’t any Iranians there anyway. Either way, it was no more than a limp-wristed gesture.

As Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, former editor-in-chief of the Saudi newspaper Ashraq Al-Awsat, has written: “In Tehran’s eyes, Biden is a pushover.” In addition to Iranian attacks in Yemen and Iraq, he wrote, “Lokman Slim, Iran’s most prominent and vocal opponent in Beirut, was murdered and his body was found on the sidewalk.”

Appallingly, Biden is turning the United States into a laughing stock in Tehran. Yet Kushner wrote: “Thanks to his policies, America holds a strong hand.”

In his article, Kushner boasted about the Abraham Accords. Yet even here, his choice of words revealed an astonishing ignorance. For while he rightly observed that this agreement had destroyed the “myth” that ending the Arab-Israel “conflict” depended upon Israel and the Palestinians resolving their differences, he went on to say: “The Abraham Accords exposed the conflict as nothing more than a real-estate dispute between Israelis and Palestinians that need not hold up Israel’s relations with the broader Arab world.”

“A real-estate dispute”? But the “conflict” was a war by the Arab world against Israel’s very existence. Its presentation as a “real-estate dispute” is what’s been the actual myth.

That, indeed, was the fiction promoted by the Palestinians to gull the West into believing that a Palestinian state would solve the conflict. This propaganda achievement, which has fueled the West’s animus against Israel, evilly repackaged the Arab war of extermination against Israel as a Palestinian struggle for land.

This was the delusion that enabled the Palestinians to play the West for suckers by holding out for a land-based compromise to which they had no intention of agreeing.

It was this myth that was shattered by the Abraham Accords. At a stroke, the Palestinian cause became irrelevant, and the Palestinians’ principal weapon in their diplomatic war against Israel was rendered useless.

Yet Biden has now brought the Palestinians back in from the cold. He has re-established diplomatic relations and restored their funding, turning a blind eye to the ways in which that money helps promote terrorism against Israel.

He has thus re-empowered the Palestinian aggressors against Israel and undermined one of the signal achievements of the Abraham Accords. Kushner has shown that he doesn’t even understand the significance of what he himself helped achieve.

Although his article praised Trump for the breakthrough in Israel’s relationship with the Arab world, he was effectively praising himself. Attempting to bathe his opinions about Iran in the reflected glory of the Abraham Accords, his op-ed can only be read as a shallow, unprincipled and disloyal job application to the Biden administration.

The threat posed by the Iranian regime, both to the world and the suffering people of Iran, can only be removed if the regime is removed. Frighteningly, Biden has reversed the progress being made to that end.

Instead, he has strengthened Tehran and enfeebled America. And now, Jared Kushner has become his cheerleader. What a betrayal.

Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.


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