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Jared Kushner Threw a Temper Tantrum as Israeli-US Relations Frayed

It is quite evident that the last year of the Trump administration simply overwhelmed what was already an incompetent, inexperienced, understaffed, poorly-led, and deeply paranoid Trump administration.

The Trump camp might have been ready for a knock-down, drag-out, campaign (indeed, as we’ve seen, once the votes were counted, they even had a PowerPoint plan to militarize the entire election and have each state’s National Guard hand-count paper ballots). But it’s unsurprising to hear that even earlier in the year, in February of 2020, upon learning that COVID could upend all their plans, a combination of arrogance, incompetence, and panic burst out. This would be especially true with respect to Jared Kushner, perhaps the administration official most in over his head.

Jared Kushner must share Trump’s inability to handle friction, adversity, and difficulties. He threw a tempter-tantrum upon hearing that Benjamin Netanyahu had doubts as to whether he could trust the Trump administration, which seems entirely reasonable and it would be just as reasonable to say that the administration had doubts it could fully trust Bibi. It is easy to despise the longtime Israeli statesman, but he’s a complex guy. He wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did if he was a fool, and Bibi likely knew he was dealing with fools.

According to a new book out by David Ravid, Kushner was entirely unable to handle questions and situations that inevitably arise in international relations. Upon hearing of Netanhayu’s doubts from Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, Kushner exploded and ordered Dermer out of the White House, saying:

Don’t be mistaken to think that everything that happened in the past three years was for you. We did it because we were serious about peace. To say such a thing about us is disgusting. Get out!”

For Americans who might wonder if it would have been so hard to have said, “Yes, the U.S. and Israeli relationship is critical both from a moral and strategic perspective, but our policies don’t revolve around personal relationships, nor 100% loyalty to Israel. We wanted peace. Tell Bibi that he can count upon us to be reasonable and factor in his concerns, but not do his bidding at every point…” it is, in fact, hard for someone like Jared Kushner to pull off such an adult, international diplomacy-like stance. It is much easier to throw a fit and order someone around.

The book says the relationship deteriorated further over the next three to four months. Of course, it did. Once one is “disloyal” to that White House, well, it’s inevitable. Kushner told Netanhayu: ”This will be the biggest mistake you have ever made. Trump will come out against you. ”

Ah, yes – everything is transactional with the Trumps. If you upset Trump, he will come out against you, even if your opponent is a liberal, anti-settlement… doesn’t matter, it’s a matter of Trump and loyalty.

It might also be worth pointing out that the Trumps and Kushner can point to Jerusalem and the Peace Accord all day long. The fact remains that the Trump administration had split loyalties and everyone knows it. Trump could no more cross Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states than he could cross Moscow and it was surely in this context that Bibi expressed his concerns. It probably couldn’t matter less that an administration is supposed to take a more nuanced and global view at relationships anyway.

As with everything else, neither Kushner, nor Trump, were equipped with the tools to hold two thoughts, or one mature one, in their head at any given point. It eventually led to frayed Israeli-U.S. relations. This is what one expects when each leader acts more like a king, or a dictator, which sort of sums up the point of the entire section.

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