Yes, Jared Kushner is a Threat to National Security
Never before has someone so close to the President of the United States been so vulnerable to foreign influence, but more importantly so inappropriate and dangerously incompetent. Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, has been all over the news recently as revelations about his inability to retain his security clearance come to light. If that weren't enough to call into question his role as a Senior Advisor to the President, his 666 Fifth Avenue investment has brought accusations that he and his father-in-law are driving American policy to benefit the Kushner family business.
However, Kushner's conflicts of interest are secondary to his total incompetence in his current role. If we can forget about his business ties (I personally cannot, but let's try), Kushner's past experience leaves him utterly unqualified to lead the projects Trump has apparently given him. Let's give them a brief rundown.
The Middle East Peace Process
I'm not one of those who believes a Jew can't be impartial when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict. A person's religion does not necessarily determine their political allegiance, even when we're talking about Israel. For instance, Bernie Sanders was famously divergent from the traditional American role in supporting Israel above its neighbours. Not to mention the moderate Israeli opposition element pushing for an equitable agreement with the Palestinians. No, it's not his religion that makes Kushner so unreliable on this issue. It's who he is.
The Kushner family empire has extensive business ties with Israel, as Haaretz and the Guardian have reported. The Kushners' real estate holdings in Israel may have little to do with the Palestinian conflict, but the same can't be said for the family's long-standing financial relationship with Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported "The Kushners also donate considerable sums to projects in Israel through their family foundation. As first reported in Haaretz, the family has donated tens of thousands of dollars in recent years to organizations and institutions in settlements in the West Bank through the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation."
If the Trump administration had any integrity, it would have suspended Kushner's involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian issue once his connections to the West Bank settlements came to light. However, his continued responsibility in that regard demonstrates Trump's commitment to nepotism above the interests of the country.
You may be wondering (like I am): What does the son of a New York real estate tycoon know about reforming the prison system? Well, unfortunately, you already know the answer. Not a whole lot. Kushner's charge of the prison reform process is about as serious as Dennis Rodman's attempts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Jared Kushner is Trump's "go-to" guy for every issue. Prison reform is no different. The expectations of success are likely marginal, which is absolutely shameful. Putting a project of national importance in the hands of an unqualified, uninterested real estate developer is dereliction of the duties of the executive branch.
We shouldn't discount his personal experience, however. Jared's father, Charles Kushner, did spend time in prison, leaving 24-year-old Jared in charge of the Kushner family business. This event is a pivotal moment in Kushner's development, but does it grant him expert knowledge of the criminal justice system? Hardly.
666 Fifth Avenue
Yes, finally, the most disturbing Kushner involvement. As The Intercept reported, Qatar refused a Kushner request to invest in his 666 Fifth Avenue property immediately before the diplomatic crisis last June. The ongoing Saudi-Emirati-led blockade on Qatar was reportedly given the green light from the Trump administration to pursue Kushner's business interests rather than the national interest.
MSNBC reported that the United Arab Emirates considered a military invasion of Qatar using its private army. An aggressive military invasion of another Gulf Arab state would risk destabilizing the precarious peace in the Gulf region. Irresponsible policy driven by personal and business motivations should be met with ire from the American public.
A recent report from ABC News alleges that Qatar has damaging information about Kushner's relationship with the United Arab Emirates, but declined to hand it over to Robert Mueller. The larger question about the Trump team's ties with foreign governments continues to become clearer as more information is revealed.
What is already clear, however, is that Kushner is unqualified and unsuitable to conduct American foreign and domestic policy. His unfamiliarity and lack of experience demonstrates a core unsuitability for one of the nation's top jobs. But his conflicts of interest and apparent willingness to act in pursuit of personal benefit rather than national benefit demonstrate more importantly that his presence in the White House could be damaging to the national interest.