Month: December 2016

Are Jared Kushner’s West Bank donations the Trump team’s latest conflict of interest?

via Are Jared Kushner’s West Bank donations the Trump team’s latest conflict of interest?

President-elect Donald Trump‘s business career will likely bring anunprecedented number of conflicts of interest into the Oval Office. However it became clear this week there’s another conflict of interest might come from a different member of Trump’s team: son-in-law Jared Kushner.

In an interview after the election with the New York Times, Trump posited Kushner could play a role in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict in Trump’s administration. When asked if Kushner could help with Trump’s desire to “be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said,  “Well, I think he’d be very good at it. I mean he knows it so well. He knows the region, knows the people, knows the players.”

Some recently uncovered donations by Kushner’s family foundation, the Seryl and Charles Kushner Family Foundation, however, show Kushner may not be the impartial observer needed for these contentious negotiations.  Kushner serves as a director for the foundation, along with his parents and three siblings.

$58,500 in donations

Are Jared Kushner's West Bank donations the Trump team's latest conflict of interest?
The West Bank settlement of Beit El.
Source: Nasser Nasser/AP

IRS records for Kushner’s foundation, first uncovered by Israeli newspaperHaaretz, indicate the foundation donated $58,500 toward West Bank settlements between 2011 and 2013.

As detailed by the Washington Post, the donations were primarily made to schools and religious yeshivas located in Jewish settlements outside the Green Line marking Israel’s official border. The donations, all of which are legal donations to registered charities, include the following: 

$38,000 to American Friends of Bet El, benefitting a well-established settlement outside of the Palestine city Ramallah;

• $15,000 to the Etzion Foundation, supporting facilities in a cluster of settlements between Jerusalem and Palestine-owned Bethlehem;

• $5,000 to Ohr Torah Stone, a settlement founded by U.S.-born Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. 

Most controversially, the Washington Post reported the foundation also gave $500 in 2012 to the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar, which is home to violent extremists responsible for “violent attacks” against both Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

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