Kushner's Israel business ties raise doubts over impartiality
A recent NYT report claims Trump's son-in-law and special Mideast advisor sold some shares in family businesses before entering the White House, but his real estate company received a financial injection of $30M from an Israeli company in May, casting doubt on his ability to act as fair peace broker.
NEW YORK - US President Donald Trump’s special advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner has come under scrutiny that calls into question his ability to act as an impartial peace broker between Israel and the Palestinians, after it recently emerged that although he sold shares of his businesses before taking a position in the White House, he remains involved in family business that have dealings with Israeli companies.
According to the Sunday report in the New York Times (NYT), shortly before Kushner touched down in Israel with his father-in-law last May, his real estate company received a massive investment of $30 million from an Israeli insurance company, Menora Mivtachim.
“The business dealings don’t appear to violate federal ethics laws, which require Mr. Kushner to recuse himself only from narrow government decisions that would have a ‘direct and predictable effect’ on his financial interests,” according to the NYT report. “And no evidence has emerged that Mr. Kushner was personally involved in brokering the deal.”
However, skeptics posit that the involvement of firms in which he has a stake in business deals in Israel may constitute a potential conflict of interest and undermine his ability to act as an impartial arbitrator in the Middle East peace process.
Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Kushner Companies, was quoted in the NYT report saying the company has partners around the world but it “does no business with foreign sovereigns or governments, and is not precluded from doing business with any foreign company simply because Jared is working in the government.”
It is not the first time the political rookie has become unstuck over his management while in the White House. In September it was reported that Kushner used a private email account alongside his official White House account to exchange messages with other administration official.
Between January and August 2017, Kushner was said to have exchanged at least 100 emails with White House officials using his private email account after taking up his new post.
The use of private email accounts for governmental matters was one of the centerpieces of Trump’s political attacks against his rival Hillary Clinton, who was embroiled in a scandal that involved the exchange of tens of thousands of emails on matters relating directly to State Department work using such email account.
During one of the presidential debates, Trump promised that if he became president, he would order a special prosecutor to “look into her case” and suggested that if he was president, she “would be in jail.”