Israeli Ambassador Briefed Trump's Son-in-law Ahead of AIPAC Speech

Netanyahu's confidant Ron Dermer discussed diplomatic and security policy with Jared Kushner, who wrote Trump's speech, ahead of the conference.

Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2016 Policy Conference at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., March 21, 2016.
Saul Loeb, AFP

Those listening to U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump's speech at the AIPAC conference in March may have found themselves puzzled as to the identity of the speaker. Large portions of the speech, especially those having to do with Iran and the Palestinians, sounded like they were taken verbatim from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's talking point sheet.

An article published by Reuters recently may have revealed why that is. It turns out that a few days before the conference Israel's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, spoke on the phone with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who wrote that speech. In their telephone conversation, Dermer briefed Kushner on the Netanyahu government's stance on current diplomatic and security issues.

A source at the Israeli embassy in Washington confirmed that this phone call did in fact take place, adding that "The ambassador spoke to the people of all the leading presidential candidates."

Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump. He has been involved with the Trump campaign's connection to Israel even before writing the speech. It was he who worked on organizing Trumps visit in Israel, which was supposed to take place in December. The visit was canceled last minute after the candidate's comments on Muslim immigration to the U.S. were harshly criticized in Jerusalem, including a critical statement issued by the prime minister.

On Thursday, during a question-and-answer session with Jewish journalists in New york, Trump commented on the incident, saying that he was "disappointed" with Netanyahu's response. According to the Jewish Insider Trump said that Netanyahu's response was less positive than what he hoped and he decided to cancel the visit.

“I like him. I have always liked him,” Trump said on Netanyahu. “I was disappointed in his statement. He didn’t say, ‘Don’t come.’ In fact, it was the opposite. But I didn’t like his statement. That wasn’t necessarily the reason I didn’t go, but I didn’t like his statement.”