Since his appointment as senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, appears to have severed his ties with an organization that raises money for the Israeli army.
Kushner, who is expected to play a major role in drafting Middle East policy in the new administration, no longer has his name listed as a member of the national board of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, presumably because of potential conflicts of interest. FIDF is a New York-based non-profit that raises tens of millions of dollars a year to support a wide array of educational and social programs that benefit Israeli soldiers and their families.
Kushner’s name appeared on the FIDF website as a member of the national board until just two days ago. A day after Haaretz submitted questions both to the organization and to a spokeswoman for the Kushner family about his continued involvement on the board, it was suddenly removed.
As reported last month, FIDF is one of the pet causes of the Kushner family in Israel. According to its tax forms, the Charles and Seryl Kushner Family Foundation has donated more than $325,000 to FIDF over the years. Trump’s son-in-law was the only member of the family to sit on the organization’s national board, a position which according to FIDF’s financial statements, required five hours a week of volunteer work.
Earlier this week, when asked whether Kushner would continue to sit on the FIDF board while serving in the U.S. administration as a senior adviser to the president, a spokesman for the organization said: “As a matter of policy, FIDF does not respond to requests for information about donors, including donors who are or were members of its board.”
Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for the Kushner family, did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump has suggested that his son-in-law would play a key role in trying to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. “If he can’t do it, nobody can,” the president recently said. By continuing to serve on the board of an organization that raises money for the Israeli army, Kushner could have been seen to be compromising his neutrality in such a position.
Trump himself reportedly made a big pledge to FIDF, which is known for its star-studded gala fundraising events, 10 years ago. According to The Jerusalem Post, he promised to donate $250,000 to the organization back then. A follow-up in The Washington Post revealed, however, that he never followed through and that another person, who was unnamed, fulfilled the pledge for him.