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3 Jun, 2019 17:57

Imagine suggesting Jews couldn't govern themselves? Kushner's remarks on Palestinians slammed

Imagine suggesting Jews couldn't govern themselves? Kushner's remarks on Palestinians slammed

White House envoy Jared Kushner stands accused of “racism” for answering a question about Palestinians’ ability to self-govern by expressing hope they’ll be capable of this in the future – implying they’re incapable of this now.

In a sit-down interview with Axios on HBO, the son-in-law of US President Donald Trump and his charge d’affaires for brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal triggered a storm of anger when he equivocated about Palestinian competence. “We’ll have to see,” said Kushner. “The hope is that they [Palestinians], over time, will become capable of governing.”

Kushner’s comments – called “racist” by some observers – put in doubt the possibility that the so-called “deal of the century” he has been hawking for over a year and a half stands a chance of meeting the minimum expectations of Palestinians, let alone cracking the code for a peace agreement that has long eluded the land’s inhabitants.

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His remarks elicited scorn from Twitter users, especially from Palestinian figures. “One of the painful things to listen to is Jared Kushner pretending that he knows – or cares – what the ‘Palestinian people’ want,” wrote Palestinian-American professor Shibley Telhami.

“The Palestinian people don’t need half a man to decide if they are capable of governing themselves,” wrote US-based Palestinian analyst Mohammad Oweis, in a tweet dripping with rage. “We have seen enough sh*t like him since 1948,” he said, a reference to the year the State of Israel was founded.

Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser for US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, argued that Kushner’s comments unwittingly revealed that he views Palestinians through a prejudicial lens. “This is the racist subtext of so much conservative pro-Israel advocacy, but Jared is too inexperienced to know it’s supposed to stay subtext,” tweeted Duss.

Some progressive Jewish pundits likewise slammed Kushner for his remarks, also attributing to him anti-Palestinian prejudice. “Democrats and Jewish leaders should be calling out Kushner's egregious racism. Can you imagine the outrage if someone suggested Jews couldn't govern themselves?” tweeted Max Berger, co-founder of the liberal US Jewish activist group If Not Now. “Why is it okay to say that about Palestinians? Because Islamophobia is extremely powerful in the US,” Berger opined.

The policy and strategy director for the liberal Jewish charity New Israel Fund, Harry Reis, said he doubted that the embryonic peace plan Kushner is promoting remotely resembles his description of it. ”Kushner[’s] scheme is clearly designed to peel back whatever progress towards self rule was achieved at Oslo, not build on it,” tweeted Reis. “The aim may very well be to collapse the institutions of the Palestinian national government and cement annexation.”

In further remarks to Axios, broadcast on HBO, Kushner asserted that Palestinians should judge the US peace plan on whether or not it will improve their lives, not on whether they trust him – its co-author. “I’m not here to be trusted,” he said.

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