President-elect Donald Trump has named his chief legal officer for the past 20 years Jason Dov Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew, as special representative for international negotiations, a spokeswoman for the Trump transition team announced Friday.
Greenblatt, a former adjunct professor of management at Yeshiva University, served as candidate Trump’s adviser on US-Israel relations. He graduated in 1992 from the New York University School of Law and worked for the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP before joining the Trump organization.
A source familiar with the appointment told CNN that Greenblatt will be working on the Israel-Palestinian peace process, US relations with Cuba, and various trade agreements.
The Trump team released a statement about Greenblatt’s appointment, citing him as saying, “My philosophy, in both business and in life, is that bringing people together and working to unite, rather than to divide, is the strongest path to success. I truly believe that this approach is one that can yield results for the United States in matters all over the world. I look forward to serving on President-elect Trump’s team, and helping to achieve great outcomes for our country.”
Although President-Elect Trump should not be taken for granted on any issue, his choices for Ambassador to Israel and for the Israel-PA peace negotiator are at least an opening signal to Israel’s rightwing majority that the next resident a 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is going to be their friend.
In a joint statement on November 2, 2016, Jason Greenblatt and Trump’s choice for US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, then Co-Chairmen of the Israel Advisory Committee to Donald J. Trump, said: “For those of you who are true friends of the State of Israel, and for those of you who believe that the State of Israel and the United States of America have an unbreakable friendship, we urge you to read the below. We would like to express our gratitude to those individuals who have helped us over the past few months — we truly appreciate your efforts, friendship and guidance. We would also like to express our gratitude to our friend, a great friend of the State of Israel, Donald J. Trump, who gave us the tremendous opportunity to serve in this capacity. May God bless the United States of America and the State of Israel.”
The two Trump advisors also promised back in November: “The US should veto any United Nations votes that unfairly single out Israel and will work in international institutions and forums, including in our relations with the European Union, to oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel, impose discriminatory double standards against Israel, or to impose special labeling requirements on Israeli products or boycotts on Israeli goods.”
As to the peace process, Greenblat and Friedman suggest “the US should support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians without preconditions, and will oppose all Palestinian, European and other efforts to bypass direct negotiations between parties in favor of an imposed settlement. Any solutions imposed on Israel by outside parties including by the United Nations Security Council, should be opposed. We support Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself against terror attacks upon its people and against alternative forms of warfare being waged upon it legally, economically, culturally, and otherwise.”
Finally, the cherry on this Hanukkah sufgania: both men promised that “the US will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and Mr. Trump’s Administration will move the US embassy to Jerusalem.”
In other words, expect a big improvement in US-Israeli relations come January 20, 2017.