Mort Klein calls White House staffer ‘pro-Hamas’
Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), on Wednesday released a statement calling on President Donald Trump to fire the administration’s designated point person on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kris Bauman, labeling him a supporter of the terrorist group Hamas.
[This story originally appeared on jewishinsider.com]
“The ZOA has asked General McMaster, Director of the National Security Council, to reconsider his appointment new National Security Council advisor on Israel-Palestinian matters, pro-Hamas Kris Bauman,” Klein said in the lengthy statement. “This administration should be “cleaning out the swamp” from proponents, architects, and protégés of the Obama administration’s dangerous Middle East policies. Mr. Bauman’s ideas are particularly dangerous.”
Bauman was appointed as the National Security Council’s point person for the Israeli-Palestinian issue earlier this month, replacing Yael Lempert who left to work at the State Department. Bauman was General (Ret) John R. Allen’s Chief of Staff when Allen served in the Obama administration as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Middle East Security. During the last round of peace talks (2013-2014), Gen. Allen drafted a comprehensive security plan for the day after a peace settlement is reached.
The ZOA’s Klein — who was one of the few public defenders for a pair of controversial Trump advisors, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka — is blaming recent White House decisions that he disagrees with on other advisors, including Bauman, and outside consultants, such as the former Secretary of State James Baker.
In an interview with Jewish Insider earlier this week, Klein claimed the President “is getting bad advice from some of his aides.” He added that he’s worried about Rex Tillerson, citing the current Secretary of State’s relationship with Baker. “I am concerned that Tillerson will begin to pressure Israel to take stands that they can’t take,” he said. “I am worried.”
According to Klein, Bauman’s plan would force Israel to make “dangerous concessions to terrorists” and establish “unacceptably risky security arrangements in exchange for Israel retreating to the indefensible 1967 lines with swaps, to make way for a Hamas-Fatah (terrorist) state” in the West Bank. “ZOA sincerely hopes that the President will drain the swamp at the National Security Council, once and for all,” Klein concluded.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro called Klein’s statement “ridiculous” and “offensive.”
“Kris Bauman is a veteran, a patriot, and a dedicated friend of Israel,” Shapiro, who served as Ambassador to Israel from 2011-2017, told Jewish Insider. “He has worked for years, side-by-side with senior IDF leaders, to develop arrangements that would ensure Israel’s security in a two-state solution. To equate such efforts with being ‘pro-Hamas’ is beyond offensive — it’s ridiculous. It means that anyone who works for a two-state solution with provisions to protect Israel’s security is a terrorist supporter. That’s the majority of Israeli citizens, American Jews, Members of Congress, and IDF officers.”
Shapiro said that instead of getting into “overheated rhetoric,” the Trump administration should be commended for appointing Bauman to this position. “In my time working with Kris, I knew him to be conscientious, detail-oriented, and deeply committed to helping Israel maintain its security,” he stated. “But what most impressed me was the high esteem in which he was held by the IDF officers who worked with him. He earned their trust and friendship, which will serve him well in his new post.”