Family foundations of which Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is a director gave $325,860 to the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces in recent years. The FIDF is headquartered in New York City and provides support services to soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Trump has suggested that Kushner could mediate peace in the Middle East.
The lion’s share of the Kushner family’s giving to the Israeli soldiers took place in the years following the attack on Gaza in 2009-2009 that killed more than 1400 Palestinians, including over 300 children. The overwhelming attack alarmed world opinion and resulted in the Goldstone Report alleging Israel had targeted civilians and carried out disproportionate and indiscriminate bombings. The 22-day onslaught also resulted in the deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians.
The Seryl and Charles Kushner Family Foundation gave the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces over $200,000 in the years 2010 and 2011. A second family foundation, the Charles Kushner Companies Foundation, also made gifts to the FIDF.
Jared Kushner is on the board of the Friends of the IDF.
Last week Haaretz and the Washington Post reported that the Kushner Family Foundation had given nearly $60,000 to settlement organizations between 2011-2013.
There is nothing illegal about the gifts to the Israeli Defense Forces support organization, as there is nothing illegal about gifts to settlements under U.S. tax laws. Barbra Streisand, Sylvester Stallone, Larry Ellison of Oracle, and Stevie Wonder have among others supported the FIDF. However, the support for an occupying army that has committed many human rights atrocities does not speak to the impartiality of Jared Kushner as a mediator. (Not that this has ever been a criterion for US mediators, most of whom have been Israel’s advocates; but here’s hoping.)
Last month Trump told the New York Times that Kushner, an Orthodox Jew who is married to his daughter Ivanka, would be “very good” at taking on negotiations between Israel and Palestine. “I mean he knows it so well. He knows the region, knows the people, knows the players,” Trump said.
Israeli officials have said they would welcome Jared Kushner’s involvement.
Here are portions of the Washington Post report on the settlements gifts:
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…
The Kushner foundation gifts were mostly made to schools, including religious yeshivas, located outside the Green Line that is internationally recognized as the border of Israel proper. The charities that received them are all registered as 501(c)(3) organizations, and there is nothing illegal about their existence or the donations made to them…
According to IRS filings for the Kushner foundation, the family gave $10,000 to the New York-based American Friends of Bet El in 2011, and two more gifts totaling $28,000 in 2013. Located next to the Palestinian city of Ramallah, the well-established settlement is considered hard-line and ideological.
(Jared Kushner had me fired from the New York Observer in 2007 after he had taken over the newspaper. I bear him no malice; I had greater freedom on my own, and was able to partner with Adam Horowitz a year later.)