Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has deep business and personal ties to Israel that could raise questions about his ability to serve as an honest broker as he oversees the White House’s Middle East peace efforts.
But some say these ties, which include a previously undisclosed real estate deal in New Jersey with a major Israeli insurer, may give Mr. Kushner a surprising advantage as he is expected to launch the first peace talks of the Trump era.
Having the trust of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the thinking goes, could make Mr. Kushner well positioned to extract concessions from the hardline Israeli leader.
Mr. Kushner’s family real estate company has long-standing and ongoing deals with major Israeli financial institutions. These relationships, along with a personal friendship with Mr. Netanyahu and past links to the West Bank settler movement, could emerge as potential stumbling blocks by creating an appearance of bias.
“Financial investments in Israel would seem to only further complicate conflicts of interest issues,” said Larry Noble, senior director of regulatory programs and general counsel at Campaign Legal Center, a group that advocates for strong enforcement of campaign finance laws.
Jared Kushner headed the billion-dollar family firm before joining the White House as a senior adviser in January. As a condition to taking the job, Mr. Kushner has agreed to file a financial disclosure report and divest some holdings that could create a conflict of interest. The Trump administration has faced repeated conflict of interest accusations since taking office.
Although the billionaire real estate magnate says he’s no longer managing his global financial interests, critics say these businesses still stand to profit from the prestige or policy decisions of the presidency. In addition, they note that Trump’s children continue to manage many of these ventures