By Carol Morello / The Washington Post
December 5, 2016
“I imagine this will be the end of State Department statements for 50 years calling settlements illegal to illegitimate, unhelpful or obstacles to peace. American foreign policy is about to be dramatically shifted. . . . It’s not about one check from Jared Kushner, but a broad threat to 50 years of bipartisan support for the proposition that settlements are an obstacle to peace. Now, that could be declared dead. I’m very alarmed.”
— Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J Street
Jared Kushner, who may become a Middle East peace envoy in his father-in-law’s administration, is a director of a family foundation that has made charitable donations to West Bank settlements.
The gifts totaled $58,500 between 2011 and 2013, a small portion of the almost $8.5 million the Seryl and Charles Kushner Family Foundation gave away in that period, according to IRS records first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and reviewed independently by The Washington Post. Kushner and his three siblings are directors, along with their parents, of the foundation.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he may make his son-in-law, who is married to Ivanka Trump, a broker for talks between Israelis and Palestinians, saying Kushner would be “very good” at working with both sides.
Kushner is not known to have publicly expressed a position on Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which every U.S. administration since 1967 has considered illegitimate and counterproductive to peace, because they make it more difficult to stitch together a contiguous Palestinian state. But several Trump advisers made statements during the campaign suggesting that they reject the characterization and believe a policy change may be in order.
David Friedman, Trump’s real estate lawyer and adviser on Israel who would like to become U.S. ambassador to the country, has said it may be time to reconsider the two-state formula. Friedman heads the American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva, which got $10,000 from the Kushner family in 2011 and $28,000 in 2013.