US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner failed to disclose on government records his position as co-director of a foundation that funds illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Jerusalem Post reported today.
Kushner headed the family-run Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 to 2015, during which the organisation donated at least $38,000 to the building of a Jewish seminary in the West Bank settlement of Beit El and an additional $20,000 to Jewish and educational institutions in other settlements.
However, he did not reveal his history with the foundation to the Office of Government Ethics in March, despite having amended his financial records with the office several times and made three revisions to his security clearance application.
The US has previously called illegal settlement building as “unhelpful” in bringing together Israel and Palestine for a peace deal; Kushner is currently charged with leading that process.
According to the researchers at communications organisation American Bridge who made the discovery, Kushner may have avoided disclosing the information in order to prevent it being considered a conflict of interest with his government role.
The news of Kushner aiding settlement funding comes amid official investigations into his contact with senior Israeli officials in an attempt to block a UN resolution condemning Israel’s occupation during the transition between former US President Barack Obama and Trump. If true, the cooperation would be one of many allegations of conversations between Kushner and foreign leaders, including Russia.
Although being charged with spearheading the Middle East peace process, a recent report in Politico also found that despite carrying information on and conducting some of the country’s most sensitive diplomatic talks, Kushner does not have sufficient security clearance.
The Trump administration’s backing for Israel is thought to have been bolstered by the strong Zionist stance of many senior US officials, Kushner primary among them. The president’s son-in-law is a faithful advocate of Israel and his support for the country, say critics, is odd even by American standards. He counts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a close family friend and has regularly visited the country even before being assigned his role as peace negotiator.