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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Jared Kushner looks to the Middle East to find sponsors for a new foundation

That spring, just months later, Mr. Kushner successfully convinced his father-in-law to make his first international summit trip in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital, where the president was photographed participating in a traditional sword dance. Around the same time, Mr. Kushner personally helped negotiate a 10-year agreement with Saudi Arabia to buy more than $ 110 billion of American weapons. In June of the same year, Prince Muhammad was appointed Crown Prince.

Mr. Kushner and Prince Mohammed communicated regularly and informally through text messages, referring to each other by name. Following the assassination of Khashoggi, Mr. Kushner defended Prince Mohammed in the White House, despite intelligence reports suggesting his involvement in the journalist’s execution plan.

A move widely interpreted as an attempt to protect the prince, Trump kept these reports under wraps throughout his term. This year, they were exposed by President Biden, who called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” and took a much cooler approach to the kingdom than his predecessor.

While in the White House, Mr. Kouchner devoted much of his energy to trying to get the Arab states involved in a grand deal to provide Palestinians with economic benefits in exchange for Palestinian concessions to Israel. While this attempt was no more successful than previous efforts to bring peace to the Middle East, his negotiations with the Emiratis and several neighbors eventually led to Abraham’s more limited accords to normalize relations with Israel.

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After leaving the White House, Kushner began to behave with restraint. Together with his wife Ivanka Trump and their children, he moved to Miami, outside the media attention of New York and Washington. In recent months, he founded Affinity there.

He told his colleagues that he did not want to return to politics. Seeking to build on the pacts he helped negotiate in government, Mr. Kushner founded the Abraham Accords Institute for Peace, a non-profit group that will seek to expand trade ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Mr Kushner also hopes his new firm, Affinity, will find cross-border investment opportunities in the Middle East, said a person familiar with the firm’s plans. According to this person, one of the key areas of interest is the establishment of investment relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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