Feb 2, 2020 - World

Pro-Netanyahu media turns on Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Pro-Netanyahu commentators in the Israeli media started on Sunday what looked like an orchestrated campaign against President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, attacking him for stopping the Israeli prime minister from annexing parts of the West Bank after the unveiling of the White House peace plan last Tuesday.

Why it matters: The right-wing commentators who were attacking Kushner on various media outlets in Israel on Sunday are Netanyahu supporters and surrogates. When comparing their tweets and remarks on the air, they largely used many of the same talking points.

The big picture: Kushner said in several interviews after the Trump peace plan was presented that Israel should not go forward with annexation of parts of the West Bank for now and that it should wait until after the March 2 elections. Netanyahu — who promised to annex the Jordan Valley and the settlements as soon as this week, hoping it would help his election campaign — was forced to back down. 

The main talking points from the pro-Netanyahu commentators include:

  • Kushner is the main obstacle who, in opposition to prior understandings, is blocking Netanyahu from annexing parts of the West Bank.
  • Trump could lose support from evangelicals who are angry about his peace plan and want annexation.
  • Netanyahu wants Trump to allow him to annex some parts of the West Bank before the March 2 elections.

What they're saying:

  • Yaakov Bardugo, a Netanyahu supporter, said on his show on Army Radio: "With all due respect to Kushner, there are millions of evangelicals in the U.S. and Netanyahu can mobilize them against Trump like he did to Obama. ... If Trump puts obstacles in front of Israeli annexation, the evangelicals will be mad and he won’t be re-elected."
  • Hagai Segal, the editor-in-chief of Makor Rishon, the settlers newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson, tweeted: “After the Palestinians made clear what they think about the Trump plan, it is appropriate Trump will make clear what he thinks about them — with deeds and not with words — and will stop letting his people push him around. Annexation of all settlements in the West Bank must take place now as it has been agreed between the U.S. and Israel before the ceremony at the White House last Tuesday – until Kushner got in the way.”
  • Eliran Tal, a political reporter on Channel 20 — a right-wing, pro-Netanyahu television channel — reported: “There is great anger among Netanyahu’s aides about Kushner’s remarks that annexation can only take place after the Israeli elections. One Netanyahu aide said it is like they [the White House] stabbed us in the back."

Netanyahu's office denied the report and said none of Netanyahu’s aides ever said Kushner "stabbed us in the back."

Go deeper: Why Trump's Middle East peace plan already matters

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a comment from Netanyahu's office.

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