Of late, President Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, has come under sustained political attack – including from segments of the Jewish community – with some even urging that he be fired.
In fact, some of the allegations being made against him, if true, are very disturbing. But almost invariably the negative assertions are prefaced with words like “reportedly” or “allegedly” or variations of both. And it is no secret that there are several competing factions within the Trump administration, each seeking to promote its own vision of where the national interest lies.
Thus, for example, we are told that it is “alleged” by “administration officials” that Gen. McMaster has problems with Israel and opposed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request that he appear alongside the president on the latter’s visit to the Western Wall.
There are also “reports” that Gen. McMaster was seeking – out of anti- Israel or anti-Semitic animus – to purposefully purge the National Security Council of pro-Israel staffers brought on board by former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and replace them with holdovers from the Obama administration. Gen. McMaster also “reportedly” backs America’s continued support of the Iran nuclear deal.
We take a back seat to no one in taking seriously the role a national security adviser plays when it comes to U.S. interests and those of Israel. So despite the lack of hard, compelling evidence of problems with Gen. McMaster at this point, we are also not unmindful of the risks involved should these allegations have substance and believe we must be alert should any such evidence begin to surface.
We can look to collateral sources for reassurance despite the uncertainties. For one thing, President Trump recently declared Gen. McMaster to be “very pro-Israel,” and described him as being in sync with his own views about Iran and that overall they work well together.
And then there is this week’s Jerusalem Post op-ed by Israeli Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, who report that among Israelis with whom he worked, Gen. Mc Master was known as someone “highly appreciative of Israel and of its contributions to the security of the U.S.”
They add that “It is absurd to assert that all these years, hidden underneath McMaster’s friendliness was a grudge against Israel that the general is now free to act on.”
We also note that a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said this week that Mr. Abbas believes Israel and the U.S. are working with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt on a regional peace plan that would come at the expense of a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. So assuming that Gen. McMaster is not out of the loop – not an unreasonable assumption – he hardly seems to have presented a problem to this point.