Kushner urges world to stop scapegoating Israel

US-Israeli teams to fly to Morocco to sign normalization MOU's.

Special Advisor to US President Donald Trump Jared Kushner speaks alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, December 21, 2020 (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Special Advisor to US President Donald Trump Jared Kushner speaks alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, December 21, 2020
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner urged the world to stop scapegoating Israel and called for lasting Middle East peace on Monday in Jerusalem. He is to leave for Rabat along with an Israeli delegation on Tuesday to help solidify Israel’s normalization deal with Morocco.
“Tomorrow we will very proudly advance the Abraham Accords with the first direct commercial flight on El Al from Israel to Morocco,” Kushner said at a joint press briefing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“This will bring about a whole set of new opportunities for Northern Africa and the entire Middle East,” he said. “As this new Middle East moves forward, I hope that all countries will focus on pursuing common interests for the benefits of their citizens instead of being held back by stale thinking and old conflicts.”
“Scapegoating, antisemitism and isolating Israel have led to destructive behavior that has held the world back for far too long,” Kushner said.
Netanyahu has shown that Israel is willing to compromise for “true peace,” just not with regard to security, he said.
“I urge the world as it goes forward to take the time to understand Israel’s perspective and to ask yourself if you would make the compromises that Israel has been asked to make if you were in the prime minister’s shoes,” Kushner said.
While in Rabat, the US and Israeli delegations are expected to sign the first documents that are part of the Israel-Morocco normalization deal, which both countries announced earlier this month. National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat will head Israel’s delegation.
Morocco is the fourth Arab and Muslim country to normalize ties with Israel under the US-brokered Abraham Accords. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have ratified deals with the Jewish state. Sudan and Morocco have issued declarations.
Both Netanyahu and Kushner spoke of additional normalization deals. But it is unclear how much can happen in the short time left prior to the change of administrations in Washington on January 20.
“The pace of these deals has been quite strong,” Kushner told reporters earlier at the US Embassy. “A lot of countries have been watching closely to see that there have been great benefits to making peace with Israel.”
“Deals happen when deals are ready,” he said.
Kushner’s visit in Israel is likely the last in his position of White House senior adviser. Many of his activities on Monday allowed for Israeli and US officials to thank him and Trump for their efforts on behalf of Israel.
Netanyahu presented Kushner with a plaque at the Prime Minister’s Residence. The US Embassy in Jerusalem named its courtyard for Kushner, and the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund inaugurated the Kushner Garden for Peace at the Grove of Nations in the Jerusalem Forest.
Kushner spoke about his work on behalf of Middle East peace and offered advice for the future.
To create a lasting and sustainable peace, “any deal must leave all people more secure, free to worship how they choose and with sustainable opportunity,” he said.
To the people of Israel, “You will remain in my daily prayers, and I have great confidence that your future will continue to be bright and existing,” Kushner said. “Middle East peace is such an impossible task that it is only possible due to the intent and blessings of God.”
“Every morning in my daily prayers I recite the paragraph Sim shalom, in which I ask God to grant peace, goodness, blessing and grace,” he said.
At the ceremony in the Grove of Nations, Kushner spoke of the role Jerusalem had played in providing opportunities for peace, noting that it was not the source of Middle East divisions.
“Jerusalem is not the cause of the problem; it is the core of the solution,” he said.
As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, trees were an important part of his family’s history, Kushner said. He recalled how during the Holocaust, his grandparents had hid in the forest and fought the Nazis.
“The peace agreements that we have made are planted seeds that will sustain life and bear fruit if tended to correctly,” Kushner said.
“Over the last four months we’ve achieved four peace agreements,” he stated, adding that “a peace deal is only possible when two sides in pursuit of common interests agree to take bold actions.”
“In 2017, Trump was warned that it would set upon an explosion in the Middle East,” Kushner said. “And there has been an explosion... Trump’s bold actions led to an explosion of peace.”
Addressing the decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, he said: “Jerusalem remains open and is uniting people of all faiths.”
“Regional transformation is on its way,” and “we must continue to rewrite new and exciting chapters and not revert to old ideas... the world is changing for the better,” Kushner said.
Specifically, “Saudi Arabia is allowing Israelis to arrive, Bahrain is opening kosher restaurants... Morocco teaches Jewish history – things that wouldn’t be imaginable otherwise,” he said.
Kushner ended his speech by thanking Netanyahu, who “has been a tremendous partner for peace.”
Netanyahu asked Kushner to thank the king of Morocco for establishing ties with Israel.
“Please give him my warmest regards and the regards of the entire people of Israel for the brave and important historic decision that he has made, again under the leadership of President Trump and your important personal role in making these things happen,” he said.
Netanyahu thanked Kushner for his efforts on behalf of Israel and regional peace and said a garden of peace had been named for him.
“In planting this garden, we’ll make sure that future generations know what your contribution has been,” Netanyahu said. “I want to express my appreciation... the young teenager I met years ago in your house has helped change the reality of the region.”
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.