Seeking Backers for New Fund, Jared Kushner Turns to Middle East


That spring, just months later, Mr Kushner successfully pushed for his father-in-law to take his first international trip to a summit in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, where the president was photographed performing a traditional sword dance. Around the same time, Mr. Kushner personally helped negotiate a 10-year deal for Saudi Arabia to purchase more than $ 110 billion in American arms. In June of this year, Prince Mohammed was named Crown Prince.

Mr. Kushner and Prince Mohammed communicated regularly and informally via SMS and addressed each other by first name. Following the murder of Khashoggi, Mr Kushner defended Prince Mohammed in the White House, despite intelligence reports showing his involvement in the plan to execute the journalist.

In a move widely interpreted as an attempt to protect the prince, Mr Trump kept these reports secret throughout his tenure. They were unsealed earlier this year by President Biden, who called Saudi Arabia an “outcast” and took a much cooler stance towards the kingdom than his predecessor.

While at the White House, Mr. Kushner devoted much of his energy to trying to win Arab states in a large trade in order to provide the Palestinians with economic benefits in exchange for Palestinian concessions to Israel. Although this attempt was no more successful than previous peace efforts in the Middle East, his talks with the Emirates and some neighbors eventually led to the more limited Abraham Accords to normalize relations with Israel.

Mr Kushner has retired from the White House since leaving. Together with his wife Ivanka Trump and their children, he moved to Miami, beyond the media attention of New York and Washington. He founded Affinity there over the past few months.

He has told his employees that he has no desire to get back into politics. In an effort to build on pacts he negotiated in government, Mr. Kushner founded the Abraham Accords Institute for Peace, a nonprofit group that will seek to develop trade ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Mr. Kushner also hopes his new firm Affinity finds opportunities for cross-border investments in the Middle East, said the person who knows the firm’s plans. An important area of ​​interest, said the person, is building investment links between Israel and Saudi Arabia.