On Thursday night, May 23, the community of Kew Gardens Hills was privileged to host Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special adviser for Mid-East affairs. The gathering was hosted by The Coalition for Jewish Values, Jexodus, and the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. The event drew about 150 invited guests. Mr. Greenblatt took questions from the audience for over two hours and answered with full candor. Also speaking was Richard Kemp, retired colonel in the British army and outspoken defender of Israeli Defense Forces. Jeff Ballabon, co-founder of Jexodus, an advocacy group for Jewish causes, moderated with both Rabbi Pesach Lerner and Rabbi Yaakov Menken of CJV offering words, as well. Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld of the Young Israel and Vice President of CJV welcomed those in attendance.
The event was strictly off the record, so a substantive account of the proceedings cannot be offered at this time. Suffice it to say that Mr. Greenblatt described the basic philosophy behind the upcoming Trump peace initiative, which will focus on financial incentives to induce peace between the conflicting sides in the decades-long battle between the Israelis and Palestinians.
It should be noted that Abe Silberstein, reporter for The Forward, did attend, but, like all others, was made to sign the registration form upon entering in which it was stipulated that no reportage of the event is allowed. Nonetheless, Mr. Silberstein, although keeping to his pledge not to report on the substance of the event did write a column critical of the Trump administration and its representative, Jason Greenblatt, for being excessively one-sided toward Israel. He also had some unkind words to say about the Coalition for Jewish Values, presumably for being too Jewish.