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Jared Kushner’s ignorant incitement against Palestinians

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Last week, President Donald Trump’s Middle-East advisor and son in law Jared Kushner  spoke at a dinner hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (a spinoff of the Israel lobby group AIPAC). On the question of the ‘2-state solution’ in the context of the promised ‘deal of the century’, his suggestion was “let’s just not say it”.

Kushner was evasive and vague, with expressions such as:

Success can look like a lot of different things. It can look like an agreement, it can look like a discussion, it could lead to closer cooperation, maybe resolve a couple of issues, maybe not?

But he was quite clear when he incited against Palestinians, saying:

There’s a lot of impatience with the Palestinian issue… People have been funding this thing for a long time. They’ve gotten more aid than any group of people in history, and what we have to show for it is really not much at this point, unfortunately.

Jared Kushner was actually wrong, critically wrong. The Washington Post did a fact check on his claim of “more aid than any group of people in history” and reached an interesting conclusion. “Now, let’s compare the Palestinians with the Israelis”, wrote Glenn Kessler. His conclusion:

Israel has been getting an average of $3.5 billion a year for 66 years — just from the United States — while the Palestinians have received about $1.7 billion a year from international donors.

Aid to Israel far outstrips aid to Palestinians

Kessler detailed the funding to Israel:

The State Department’s foreign aid database shows that U.S. aid to Israel totaled $228 billion in constant 2017 dollars between 1951 and 2017. U.S. assistance to Israel was especially significant in some years, topping $10 billion in 1974 and $13 billion in 1979. These figures were so unexpectedly high that we confirmed them with the State Department to make sure the calculations were correct.

On the Palestinian count, US aid was a fraction of what Palestinians get:

The Palestinians, meanwhile, have received about $37.2 billion in development aid (in constant dollars) between 1994 and 2017, according to the OECD. The U.S. share of that was about $8.2 billion, according to the OECD. (The State Department, under a broader definition of aid, records U.S. assistance to the West Bank and Gaza as totaling $9.1 billion since 1988.) Some Arab donations are included but the OECD database does not reflect, for instance, Qatar’s contributions to Gaza, which totaled $1.1 billion between 2012 and 2018 with the approval of the Israeli government. To be conservative, we will round up the total Palestinian aid to $40 billion. In other words, the Palestinians received less from the international community than what Israel received from the United States in terms of economic aid.

So you see, Jared Kushner’s mistake is not just any mistake. The mistake relates to the Palestinians’ adversary – Israel, which Kushner apparently does not want to talk about in these terms. The nerve of his erroneous suggestion is the effort to show that Palestinians are essentially a burden. But not Israel, of course. Israel is not a burden.

Israel also plunders Palestinian foreign aid and natural resources

The numbers are actually worse than the Post suggests, because about four-fifths of the foreign aid to Palestine ends up in Israeli coffers, according to a study by Israeli economist Shir Hever from 2016.

Hever’s claim of “at least 78%”, comes from an analysis of Israel’s “self-imposed role as mediator”. To reach the Palestinians, donors have no choice but to go through Israel. This provides ripe opportunities for what he terms “aid subversion” and “aid diversion”. Without delving into the details of how this occurs (see Jonathan Cook’s coverage and explanation on this site), it should also be noted that Israel additionally plunders Palestinian resources worth at least $3.4 billion a year (according to a 2013 World Bank estimate). It is also worth noting that Israel uses its occupation as a means of justifying the military aid it gets from the US worth $3.8 billion a year, and it profits from marketing its weapons as “battle-tested” on the captive Palestinian population.

So when you add all these figures together, you see that Israel’s occupation of Palestinians (including, let it be explicitly noted, Gaza), is a very good business for Israel, and as such, it has little incentive to relinquish it.

Kushner leaves Israeli settlers out of the picture

Jared Kushner, like his father-in-law, is in the habit of giving Israel the gifts it wants, in brazen defiance of international law. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and that will be part of any final agreement anyway,” he said at the Soref Symposium at the Washington Institute. Translation: Jerusalem will NOT be part of any Palestinian autonomy construct that Jared Kushner will negotiate as any final agreement anyway – Jared Kushner just doesn’t care about international law.

Commentator Peter Beinart wrote in the Forward last year that Jared Kushner is uneducated.

Since joining the government, he has displayed a predictable, yet nonetheless alarming, ignorance of the subjects he oversees. Discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with congressional interns last summer, Kushner declared that “the variables haven’t been changed much” in “the last 40 or 50 years” — a period of time in which the Jewish settler population in the West Bank has risen from zero to close to 400,000. He went on to complain that people were always trying to explain the conflict’s history to him. “We don’t want a history lesson,” he told the interns. “We’ve read enough books.” In fact, it’s a virtual certainty that when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, Kushner hasn’t read enough books. More frightening is that he doesn’t think he needs to.

That figure of “close to 400,000” settlers in the West Bank was outdated when it was written. It excluded East Jerusalem, which is actually a part of the West Bank – a bad habit that has become common in mainstream media. B’tselem estimated over 622,000 settlers at the end of 2017.

This figure is derived from two sources: According to data provided by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of 2017, 413,400 people were living in the settlements of the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. According to data provided by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the population of the Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem numbered 209,270 people at the end of 2016.

Statistical adjustment of the data brings us today to about 650,000 settlers in the West Bank. One should add another 20,000 settlers in the Syrian occupied Jolan (Golan).

Jared Kushner is in the habit of turning a blind eye: a blind eye to Israeli settlement, to Israel’s massive reception of foreign aid, and to its plundering of Palestinian resources and aid.

Kushner’s message is that Palestinians should just be happy and stop complaining, because money is being thrown at them, and there’s “really not much” to show for it. If only Palestinians knew what was good for them…

H/t Loretta Brockmeier, Rune Lombardo, Jean Porter

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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25 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on May 9, 2019, 12:50 pm

    RE: “Aid to Israel far outstrips aid to Palestinians” ~ Ofir

    ALSO SEE: Israel “free” trade agreement delivers $144 billion deficit to US | By Grant Smith |
    • America’s first and worst bilateral

    [EXCERPT] The cumulative US merchandise trade deficit with Israel from 1985 through 2015 has ballooned to $144 billion adjusted for inflation. Why are these results so one-sided? By design. The 1985 US “free” trade deal with Israel was passed among a score of measures in the 1980s designed to prop up Israel’s tiny, sputtering economy—not to benefit the US. As recognized by industry opponents at the time, if the deal were truly about trade, the US would have sought out a foreign trading partner with a much larger and more diversified economy.

    The “US-Israel Joint Economic Discussion Group” headed up by economist Stanley Fischer demanded the Reagan administration henceforth deliver foreign aid to Israel in the form of grants, which did not have to be repaid, rather than loans. The team also insisted upon the unilateral elimination of US trade barriers on Israeli goods while allowing Israel to continue to protect its own domestic industries.

    Originally referred to as “Duty Free Treatment for US Imports from Israel” the spin-masters in the “discussion group,” the Israeli government, and its foreign lobby the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) knew a public relations reframing job was necessary if they were going to pull off the near unilateral lowering of US tariff and non-tariff barriers.

    The deal was therefore rebranded as America’s first “free trade” deal, conjuring up rosy images of bilaterally, if not equally, lowering barriers which would force each country’s producers to focus on their comparative advantages, boosting total trade volumes and making better, cheaper, more plentiful goods available to consumers in both countries.

    It did not work out that way.

    Israel maintained its set of fixed and floating tariff and non-tariff barriers in order to gradually reverse America’s bilateral trade surplus and create a chronic trade deficit solely to Israel’s advantage. . .


  2. Citizen on May 9, 2019, 1:13 pm

    Here’s an example of what the US mainstream media does not tell the US public: Trump and Kushner Middle East Peace Deal Is a Trojan Horse for Further Occupation

    Kushner plan is a pacification plan, not a peace plan.

  3. CHUCKMAN on May 9, 2019, 6:25 pm

    Thank you for this.

    It provides excellent perspective.

    And the prejudice and blindness are astounding.

  4. Citizen on May 9, 2019, 8:46 pm
  5. Mayhem on May 10, 2019, 1:55 am

    If one looks at the ROI on what the US has given to Israel and the Palestinian one can see that the Palestinians have virtually done nothing but dissipate what they got while Israel has turned their allocation into extraordinary economic and technological achievements.

    • Misterioso on May 10, 2019, 8:46 am


      Utter drivel.

      The racist/fascistic entity known as “Israel” is a failure. It’s over 70 years and it is still utterly dependent on aid provided by U.S. taxpayers.

      A reminder: “Congressional Research Service, U.S. Foreign aid to Israel, Jeremy M. Sharpe, Specialist in Middle East Affairs, April 10, 2018.”

      “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $134.7 billion (current, or non inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. At a signing ceremony at the State Department on September 14, 2016, representatives of the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU replaces a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which runs through FY2018.”

    • eljay on May 10, 2019, 9:11 am

      || Mayhem: If one looks at the ROI on what the US has given to Israel and the Palestinian one can see that the Palestinians have virtually done nothing but dissipate what they got while Israel has turned their allocation into extraordinary economic and technological achievements. ||

      Mayhem, you are absolutely right: It’s time for a shift.

      For the next ~70 years the U.S. should…
      – abandon and betray Israel the way it has abandoned and betrayed the Palestinians;
      – give to the Palestinians the same unconditional military, economic, political and financial support it currently gives to Israel;
      – defend the “right” of Palestinians to have a supremacist Palestinian and democratic state in as much as possible of geographic Palestine; and
      – support the “right” of Palestinians to oppressively control and with impunity to commit (war) crimes against Israelis in the region under the guise of self-defense.

      I have every confidence that in ~70 years the Israelis will be the disappointment while the ROI on the Palestinians will have paid off quite nicely.

      • Misterioso on May 10, 2019, 11:29 am



  6. Ronald Johnson on May 10, 2019, 8:46 am

    I can’t find positive words to describe Jared, as he presents himself. The less said, the better. But the pictures that he and the local Jewish Community Federations present about “Israel, the Start-up Nation” deserve refutation. A reporter in Juneau, Alaska has a 12-part series to correct the impression that Bibi likes to draw from a comical travelogue written by Mark Twain, that Palestine was the pits before the Jews took over. A survey made by the US military in 1858 reported a verdant land under cultivation with dry land farming techniques.
    So, see “Baseline of a Desecrated Land”, by Dick Callahan:

  7. James Canning on May 10, 2019, 4:48 pm

    Is Jared Kushner simply profoundly ignorant? Or simply dishonest? Or both?

    • RoHa on May 10, 2019, 10:59 pm

      Serious question?

    • Brewer on May 13, 2019, 3:16 am

      I can possibly answer that question.
      Jared Kushner reminds me of myself as a young man – self-assured, from a privileged background, certain of the “truths” my background had instilled in me, garrulous and forthright in expounding my opinions.
      One night a fellow stepped up and punched me in the jaw, laying me out.
      I laid a complaint with the Police and the fellow was made to come to my home and apologize.
      Years later I heard that he had been killed in a car accident.
      I was saddened by his death for I had never taken the time to thank him for that punch on the jaw.

  8. Ronald Johnson on May 11, 2019, 7:43 am

    See Part V:

    (correction: an 1848 survey)

    “The river one hundred twenty feet wide and six feet deep, gravelly bottom; current five knots.” W.F. Lynch, USN, Commander of the Jordan River Expedition, in 1848.

    Several citations follow from the text of that report.

    It should be noted that “America” has been similarly despoiled by European settlers, with tracts of groundwater poisoned by nuclear and other buried waste, Iowa topsoil washed into the Gulf of Mexico, along with agricultural chemicals, aquifers drawn down to extinction. Not satisfied with the domestic market, the Monsanto mindset is being imposed upon India and other countries, with the notion that life itself can be altered and patented. Anything for a buck.

  9. eljay on May 11, 2019, 7:50 am

    … Jared Kushner was actually wrong, critically wrong. …

    …but trumpally right.

    • Jonathan Ofir on May 11, 2019, 3:18 pm

      Eljay, that Kushner is Trumpal is undoubted. But will he be triumphal with his deal of the century?
      Well, it seems Kushner has a wide success criteria:
      “Success can look like a lot of different things. It can look like an agreement, it can look like a discussion, it could lead to closer cooperation, maybe resolve a couple of issues, maybe not?”

      By the descriptions and indications of how those issues are meant to be solved, I kind of hope he goes for the “maybe not”. But hell, it’ll be a success anyway. So maybe he could just go home instead? Then again, all this “shuttle-diplomacy” must be playing out good for his business.

      • eljay on May 11, 2019, 6:20 pm

        || Jonathan Ofir: Eljay, that Kushner is Trumpal is undoubted. But will he be triumphal with his deal of the century?
        Well, it seems Kushner has a wide success criteria … ||

        Success is how you define it and with Kushner (like with Trump) clearly the looser the definition the better.

        I imagine that if tomorrow Israel were to slaughter all non-Jews in geographic Palestine, Kushner could confidently state that, well, at least we’re not still mired in the status quo.

      • echinococcus on May 11, 2019, 11:28 pm


        I imagine that if tomorrow Israel Zionists were to slaughter all non-Jews owners of the country in geographic Palestine, Kushner could confidently state that , well, at least we’re not still mired in the status quo Zionism has fully and spectacularly achieved its original goal.

      • edthespark on May 12, 2019, 8:43 am

        Lets just wait and see.Obviously israel is in a sing a long mood but iran knows that time is running out

  10. echinococcus on May 12, 2019, 12:46 pm

    The 100 comments page eliminates all hypertext markings. This is a serious defect.

  11. Mooser on May 12, 2019, 1:25 pm

    “This is a serious defect.”

    Best to click on the link and read the comment in situ.

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