Late last year, I realized I knew very little about the second Iraq War, since, in the spring of 2003, I was more focused on how many Mountain Dews I could drink without throwing up, and worrying if the weight of having braces and glasses at the same time would be too much for the neck of a porcelain-tough sixth-grade boy. Since then, I’ve listened to almost four entire audiobooks on the conflict, its misleading sale to the American people, and disastrous rollout on the ground — and I haven’t even gotten to Fiasco yet! So when I saw that a major news agency recently posted an opening for its Baghdad bureau chief — fluency in Arabic and nearly a decade of conflict-reporting experience required — I asked myself, Why not me?
It appears that Jared Kushner went through a similar thought process when justifying his fitness for taking on the 72-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Speaking with Sky News Arabia on Wednesday, Kushner explained why — nepotism aside — he was the right man for the job:
I’ve been studying this now for three years. I’ve read 25 books on it, I’ve spoken to every leader in the region, I’ve spoken to everyone who’s been involved in this.
That’s all but impossible, considering that the Palestinian National Authority has rejected Trump administration invitations to come to the table, aware that any deal made by the current White House would be designed to exert power in the region and to benefit Benjamin Netanyahu.
It’s also outright wrong, as proved yesterday in an interview with Christiane Amanpour. When the CNN host claimed that former Israeli officials involved in past peace plans, like Yossi Beilin, admonished the new framework, Kushner dismissed his kind as “random individuals who don’t have a lot of say or maybe knowledge.” Perhaps if he had paid closer attention to his own 25-book syllabus, he would have known that Beilin was a key figure in the back-channel deals that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords, the agreement that brought Israel and Palestine closer to peace than ever before, or since.