Where's the Outrage Over Trump Campaign's Alleged Collusion With Israel?
Time will tell if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. But we know the Trump transition team colluded with Israel, The Intercept reports.
Mehdi Hasan writes:
Thanks to [Robert] Mueller’s ongoing investigation, we now know that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of his inner circle went to bat on behalf of Israel, and specifically on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, behind the scenes and in opposition to official U.S. foreign policy. That’s the kind of collusion with a foreign state that has gotten a lot of attention with respect to the Kremlin—but colluding with Israel seems to be of far less interest, strangely.
Here’s what we learned last week when Mueller’s team unveiled its plea deal with Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn. In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council was debating a draft resolution that condemned Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied territories as a “flagrant violation under international law” that was “dangerously imperiling the viability” of an independent Palestinian state.
The Obama administration had made it clear that the U.S. was planning to abstain on the resolution, while noting that “the settlements have no legal validity” and observing how “the settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is now putting at risk the … two-state solution.” (Rhetorically, at least, U.S. opposition to Israeli settlements has been a long-standing and bipartisan position for decades: Ronald Reagan called for “a real settlement freeze” in 1982 while George H.W. Bush tried to curb Israeli settlement-building plans by briefly cutting off U.S. loan guarantees to the Jewish state in 1991.)
Before Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government expressed objections to the U.N. resolution. Multiple news outlets report that Jared Kushner—Trump’s son-in-law and the president’s senior adviser leading the Middle East peace process—directed Flynn to make calls to foreign government officials about the U.N. Israel vote. One of Flynn’s calls was to Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.
On Sunday, Kushner appeared at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss Middle East plans for Trump’s administration. According to The Intercept, Kushner “was welcomed by the forum’s sponsor, the Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, who said he ‘personally wanted to thank’ Kushner for ‘taking steps to try and get the United Nations Security Council to not go along with what ended up being an abstention by the U.S.’ Kushner’s response? The first son-in-law smiled, nodded, and mouthed ‘thank you’ to Saban.”