Jared Kushner screamed 'get out' to Israeli ambassador in White House, says new book
Former US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner shouted at Israel's ambassador to Washington and kicked him out of the White House in February 2020, according to a new book on Trump's Middle East dealings.
Kushner was Trump's senior advisor and was tasked in 2017 with handling Middle Eastern affairs, including the Palestine-Israel conflict and US ties with Arab countries, mainly in the Gulf.
The details of the heated conversation between Kushner and Ron Dermer, Israel's then-ambassador in the US, were published on Sunday in Trump's Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East, a book in Hebrew written by journalist Barak Ravid based on interviews with senior US officials, including Trump.
Ravid describes worsening ties between the Trump administration and ex-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the latter could not secure a majority government in the September 2019 election.
Frustrated, Trump said at the time: "Our relationship is with Israel."
"That was the beginning of a change of attitude by Trump," Ravid told The Forward in an interview.
During Trump's tenure, the US administration unilaterally recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
It also said it did not consider the West Bank as occupied territory, giving a green light to settlement expansion on Palestinian lands.
But that did not help Netanyahu win enough votes to cobble together a majority government, and Israel had to go to another election in March 2020.
Just weeks before the election, Dermer met Kushner in the White House and reiterated Netanyahu's doubts about "whether he could trust the Trump administration", according to Ravid's reporting.
Kushner replied angrily: "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," Kushner screamed at Dermer, according to sections of Ravid's book quoted by the Forward.
A month before the February meeting, Dermer's request to meet Trump was greeted with hostility.
"'The president doesn't like you guys right now,'" Avi Berkowitz, one of Trump's Middle East officials, reportedly told him.
'Let him go fuck himself'
According to Ravid's book, currently unavailable in English, Israeli ex-premier Netanyahu attempted to back out from signing a normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, known as the Abraham Accords, in September 2020.
However, the Americans were crystal clear that "the train departed the station" and they had to accept it.
Beforehand, the Israelis had tried to press Trump's administration to wait on signing the normalisation deals until two other Arab countries joined the UAE and Bahrain.
Kushner told Berkowitz, according to the book: "'Tell Ron that one country is all he's getting, and if he doesn't want it, let him go fuck himself.'"
Kushner also warned Netanyahu against annexing the occupied West Bank, which was planned for the summer of 2020, telling him, "This will be the biggest mistake you have ever made... Trump will come out against you.'"
Unlike his father-in-law, who has not spoken to Netanyahu since he left the White House, and rebuked him for congratulating Joe Biden on his election win, Kushner has since spoken and met the former Israeli premier.
Netanyahu is a long-time friend of the Kushners. Jared reportedly lent him his bed - going to sleep in the basement - when Netanyahu came to stay the night at their house in Livingston, New Jersey.
In October, Kushner and Trump's daughter, Ivanka, visited occupied Jerusalem to promote the normalisation deals between Israel and Arab countries, attending a reception held atop a Muslim cemetery in the city.
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.