It never ceases to amaze me how intrusive Israel’s penetration of U.S. foreign policy is. Until 2016, we would never have accepted such sabotage of our sovereign affairs. I recently posted about Israeli senior minister, Tzahi Hanegbi’s repeated attempts to offer the Trump campaign Israeli intelligence to ensure his election victory. Earlier, I posted about Netanyahu’s bid to derail efforts by the Obama administration to pass a UN Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s illegal settlements (though the U.S. Abstained on the vote, it encouraged other states to vote Yes).
Michael Flynn’s case has now returned to the news, after the Justice Department sought (so far unsuccessfully) to dismiss the case it had prosecuted against him. We’ve learned that not only did Israel actively sabotage the Obama policy objectives, but it recruited Jared Kushner, working on behalf of Trump himself, as a key participant. It did so after appealing directly to the Obama administration to veto the vote, a request the president rejected. Whereupon, Netanyahu explicitly warned the administration that it would turn to Trump and enlist his involvement.
It is remarkable and disappointing that considering that Flynn lied to the FBI in claiming that he had no conversations with Russian ambassador Kislyak, that Kushner did not get swept up in the investigation as well. When Flynn lied, he didn’t do so of his own volition. And if Flynn lied certainly Kushner would’ve wished to conceal his own role. The fact that Trump’s son-in-law/poodle wasn’t prosecuted as well seems to indicate he had a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card in his pocket.
Kushner had directed Flynn to contact every Security Council member to vote against the resolution. In contacting the Russian, Flynn was following Kushner’s directive. And when he lied he was falling on his sword to protect Kushner. Keep in mind as well that Kushner suggested to Russian officials that they create a backchannel to the campaign using Russian diplomatic facilities as a secure facility to conduct the discussions.
Remember that Kushner had a far more than a passing relationship with Netanyahu who, when Kushner was a teenager, used to sleep in the boy’s bed when he visited the U.S. as a junior minister. This, of course, was well before he became Prime Minister and became used to traveling in luxury.
It is one thing for a foreign leader to plot their own covert intervention in U.S. Foreign affairs. But it is quite another when such a leader conspires with a U.S. citizen and senior operative of a political campaign to sabotage the nation’s foreign policy. This makes me wish that the Logan Act was one Mueller had been willing to use during his own investigation. Though politicians regularly use it as a cudgel to beat their opponents if they engage in foreign diplomacy, in this case, the Act was designed precisely to prevent the sort of skullduggery in which Kushner engaged.
I suppose that in the context of the enormous dysfunction and mayhem that Donald Trump has wrought on this country, that UN vote ranks as one of his less outrageous acts. But this country has always prided itself, and George Washington himself emphasized how critical this issue was in his speech warning against “foreign entanglements,” on retaining its independence from such intervention. In this case, Kushner and Trump trampled on such American values and precedents. They did so in a way that permitted this country to become a mere extension of Israeli interests. Netanyahu in effect made a laughingstock of America. Which is in no way surprising considering that in a video of a meeting he conducted with a settler family, he characterized the U.S. as a pushover he could manipulate at will. Even if you concede a certain element of boasting and political self-aggrandizement, his words were prescient in terms of what he did in 2016.
It is shameful we have permitted Israel hijack our own foreign policy for its own benefit. One of the Talmud’s more despairing sayings concerns the sage Elisha Ben Abuya lamenting the death of a young boy: “there is no judge and there is no justice.” Many of us in this country have found this to be true for the past three years and it has driven us too to despair. In the case of Jared Kushner, I hope that there is a judge and there is justice. He, and the American people, richly deserve it.