In May 2017, President Donald Trump went to Jerusalem for a two-day summit with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the time, it was reported that Trump was going to Israel to bring peace to the Middle East. In the time since, Trump has moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as Israel slaughtered dozens of Palestinians, and has hired a bunch of people hell-bent on starting a war with Iran. So, what happened during that summit?
Luckily, the Young Turks’ Ken Klippenstein filed a FOIA request with the State Department that asked what gifts Israel gave Trump during the visit. One of the gifts is a “mother of pearl portrait of POTUS.” Yes, Israel gave Trump a portrait of himself. It’s really wonder he’s been cozying up to Netanyahu ever since.
Among the other gifts Israel gave him:
- A menorah
- A book of Israeli art he will absolutely never read
- A “leather-bound book of Psalms”
- A 100-year old Bible encased in glass
- A “carved wooden Madonna and child”
- “Martyrers’ and Heroes’ Rememberance Authority”
- This picture
As Klippenstein notes, the London Observer reported last month that, in the days following Trump’s visit to Israel, Trump aides hired the Israeli-based private security firm Black Cube to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, a former Obama administration official who helped negotiate the Iran deal. Not much, just your typical story about the White House reportedly working with a private company based in another country to smear a U.S. citizen.
“It’s hard for me to fathom a scenario where...the Israeli government didn’t know what was going on,” Rhodes told CBS earlier this week. Black Cube responded in a statement to CBS: “Black Cube has no relation whatsoever to the Trump administration, to Trump aides, to anyone close to the administration, or to the Iran Nuclear deal. Anyone who claims otherwise is misleading their readers and viewers.”
Anyway, I hope Trump likes his portrait.