Washington (QNN)- US President Donald Trump has announced a replacement for departing Middle East peace plan point man Jason Greenblatt. His choice is raising many eyebrows and voices, as the new person in the position, Avi Berkowitz, is not qualified for the post.
30-year-old Avi Berkowitz filled a number of odd jobs in the West Wing. They have included shepherding distinguished visitors — the likes of Kim Kardashian, Jeff Bezos, Sheldon Adelson — around the White House, and hanging onto Jared Kushner’s phone while Kushner is in meetings, a duty that sometimes had Berkowitz responding to messages on his boss’ behalf.
“There are times when people think they’re texting with Jared, but they’re actually texting with Avi,” said one former White House official, who recalled thinking, according to Politico “Holy crap” when witnessing Berkowitz reading an incoming message from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Kushner’s phone.
Berkowitz, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 2016, has no foreign policy experience. He joined the Trump campaign in 2016 and has since served as Kushner’s right-hand-man in the administration.
A 2017 Business Insider profile of Berkowitz quoted former White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks as saying his main duties were “daily logistics like getting coffee and coordinating meetings.”
A former employer said on Twitter Berkowitz was “not very impressive and needed significant hand-holding to handle even simple assignments. But Mideast peace? I’m sure he’s got this!” Another Arab states expert described him as “a glorified intern”.
Even former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk shared his concerns on Twitter, saying that while Berkowitz, 29, and a recent law school graduate seemed amicable, he was in no way the right person to be the architect for peace in the Mideast.
The Telegraph quoted former Middle East advisor to the US defence department Jasmine El-Gamal saying that the appointment “demonstrates a lack of seriousness” in the administration’s approach to the peace plan and Kushner’s complete dominance over the process.
Meanwhile, others have raised concerns that Berkowitz, like Greenblatt before him and Kushner, is a Zionist Jew, which would be a clear sign Trump’s administration’s bias in any peace negotiations with Palestinian officials. Upon Greenblatt’s announcement of his departure, Trump thanked him for his “dedication to Israel.”