Middle East pundits no longer laugh at Jared Kushner


In recent years, a new certainty has been added to death and taxes: Jared Kushner would fail in his role as the top man of administration in the Middle East.It sparked much glee among critics of President Trump (and even some of his supporters) when he gave his son-in-law the responsibility of negotiating peace in the Middle East early in his administration.

It was assumed ridiculous that Trump brought in Kushner, 39, and not a diplomat or regional expert, for this role and assumed that anything he did afterwards was ridiculous, if not nefarious.

Rarely has so much mockery been directed at an approach which, in this case, was methodical and creative and ultimately resulted in a breakthrough.

Kushner didn’t make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but neither did anyone else. What he has done is find a path for historic agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with possibly other Arab countries to follow. The agreements could transform the region’s strategic environment, isolate and reduce the influence of Iran and a blameless and corrupt Palestinian political leadership.

If you had followed the commentary on Kushner’s efforts in recent years, you would be truly shocked at this result.

It wasn’t just that his detractors were skeptical. They took it for granted that Kushner is an idiot and that this was all going to be an embarrassing debacle.

One of the administration’s plans was to craft a $ 50 billion economic plan for the Palestinians and then hold a conference in Bahrain to promote it. An article in the progressive publication Mother Jones was titled “Highlights From Jared Kushner Bizarre and Fantastical Middle East Peace Conference”.

When the administration prepared to follow through on a peace plan, a foreign policy expert warned, “Trump must not let Jared Kushner’s peace plan see the light of day.” When the plan was released, another expert wrote an analysis for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: “I am a veteran negotiator in the Middle East. Trump’s plan is the most dangerous I have ever seen. A Washington Post column said, “The Trump administration’s new Middle East ‘peace’ plan is absurd.”

Vox said, “Jared Kushner, the architect of Trump’s Middle East peace plan, still doesn’t get it.”

Vanity Fair ridiculed Kushner’s criticism of the Palestinian leadership as “Jared Kushner: Palestinians have never done anything right in their sad and pathetic lives.” He noted that there was a video: “Don’t worry, there are footage of Kushner making this statement, so it can be read for all eternity.” ”

It seems unlikely that anyone will return to it now.

Critics were very shocked by Kushner’s rebuke to the Palestinian leadership, failing to realize that they were beholden to outdated conventional wisdom. The tectonic plates were moving in such a way that the only way to peace was no longer through the Palestinians, if ever it did. The frustration expressed by Kushner was shared by Arab leaders.

Of course, given that Kushner had been intensely engaged in the region, he understood this when most journalists and lawyers portraying him as a desperate ignorant had no idea. He knew what he was talking about when they didn’t.

Trump fans call him a disruptor, too often just to excuse everything he does. But in the case of the Middle East, he reversed the politics he had inherited, did things no other president would do (especially moving the US embassy to Jerusalem) and then was able to capitalize when something shook.

It is an undeniable success and has been cleverly designed. With few exceptions, very few of Trump’s critics have been willing to give credit where it’s due.

For them, as always, it’s down to the next thing, but the record will show who got the better of this one and who marinated in their own Pharisaic contempt.

Twitter: @RichLowry


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