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White House Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner speaks during a conversation with Haim Saban at Saban Forum, December 3, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Kushner Under Fire for Receiving $30M From Israeli Firm While Shaping Middle East Policy

"Are you comfortable with having Jared Kushner be the beneficiary of huge amounts of Israeli financing at the same time he's overseeing U.S. foreign policy on Israel?"

Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is once more under intense scrutiny after new reporting revealed that his lucrative financial relationship with Israel has deepened even as his influence over U.S. Middle East policy—from his leading role in Trump's effort to "derail" a U.N. vote against Israel to his sway over the president's Jerusalem move—has continued to grow.

"There has indeed been clear collusion proven between pre-inaugurated Trump and a foreign power—with Israel, to sink Obama's U.N. policy on settlements."
—Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

According to a report published Sunday by the New York Times, Kushner's real estate firm received a $30 million investment from Menora Mivtachim—one of Israel's largest financial institutions—just before he accompanied Trump on his first diplomatic trip to Israel last year.

"The deal, which was not made public, pumped significant new equity into 10 Maryland apartment complexes controlled by Mr. Kushner's firm," the Times notes. "While Mr. Kushner has sold parts of his business since taking a White House job last year, he still has stakes in most of the family empire—including the apartment buildings in and around Baltimore."

While Menora executive Ran Markman insisted that Kushner's role in directing America's Middle East policy "didn't make us do the deal," critics raised pointed questions about the ethics of the transaction.

Describing Kushner as "the worst and most oppressive kind of slum lord," The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald asked, "Are you comfortable with having Jared Kushner be the beneficiary of huge amounts of Israeli financing at the same time he's overseeing U.S. foreign policy on Israel?"

And the Menora deal is just one component of Kushner's sprawling and complex financial ties with Israel, the Times makes clear.

In April, the Times reported that the Kushners had teamed up with at least one member of Israel’s wealthy Steinmetz family to buy nearly $200 million of Manhattan apartment buildings, as well as to build a luxury rental tower in New Jersey...

Mr. Kushner's company has also taken out at least four loans from Israel's largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, which is the subject of a Justice Department investigation over allegations that it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes.

The firm also bought several floors of the former New York Times headquarters building in Manhattan from Lev Leviev, an Israeli businessman and philanthropist.

And the Kushner family's foundation continues to donate money to a settlement group in the West Bank.

"No one could ever imagine this scale of ongoing business interests, not in a local peanut farm or a hardware store but sprawling global businesses that give the president and his top adviser personal economic stakes in an astounding number of policy interests," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

The Times report comes just days after the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Trump transition team's failed effort to undermine a 2016 United Nations Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank—led in part by Kushner and encouraged by Israeli government officials—"was wider and more intense than has been reported."

According to the Journal, Kushner "directed" former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to pressure foreign governments—including Russia—to delay or defeat the resolution. Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about the effort last month.

Greenwald concluded in a tweet on Sunday that the Trump transition team's campaign to defeat the U.N. resolution at Israel's behest lays bare a fact that is "uncomfortable for many."

"There has indeed been clear collusion proven between pre-inaugurated Trump and a foreign power—with Israel, to sink Obama's U.N. policy on settlements," Greenwald wrote.


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