A pro-Israel lobby group in the US has warned that the Trump administration’s recently tapped advisor for the Arab-Israeli conflict has a record of anti-Israel positions and sympathy for the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip.
The Zionist Organization of America released a statement Wednesday calling upon National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster to nix his recent appointment of a former US Air Force officer Kris Bauman as chief NSC advisor on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Bauman, who previously served in the Obama administration as chief of staff to General John Allen, then a Senior Advisor in the Defense Department, was tapped earlier this month to replace Yael Lempert.
Lempert, an Obama-era holdover, was accused of pushing the Trump administration away from Israel’s position on key issues including Jewish housing in Judea and Samaria, and towards the Palestinian Authority.
But Lempert’s replacement, the ZOA argues, is hardly an improvement, with his own history of hostility towards Israel.
In Wednesday’s statement the ZOA dubbed Bauman “pro-Hamas” and noted his involvement in drafting a blueprint for a final status arrangement to be initiated by then-Secretary of State John Kerry which would have included a return by Israel to the pre-1967 borders and the deployment of US ground troops in the area.
“Bauman would deny such secure borders to Israel,” the ZOA wrote.
“Instead of leaving Israel with defensible Israeli borders, Bauman plans to send in U.S. troops and Palestinian Arab ‘security’ forces. Sending in American troops would embroil the U.S. in wars in Judea/Samaria and Gaza- when the U.S. already has more than enough military conflicts to contend with. Moreover, so-called Palestinian ‘security’ forces have too often used their American training and weaponry to kill innocent Israeli civilians – and couldn’t stop terrorist organization Hamas from taking over Gaza. Bauman proposes also relying on Jordan for Israel’s security, when Jordan is already having enough trouble assuring its own security nowadays.”
The ZOA also cited Bauman’s 2009 PhD dissertation, which the group claims blames Arab violence against Israelis on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who Bauman wrote “derail[ed] the peace process almost completely”.
Bauman also blamed Israel for not “engaging” the Hamas terror regime, and accused the Jewish state of turning the Strip into an “open-air prison”.
“Israel and the Quartet refused to engage with Hamas and instead turned Gaza into an open-air prison.”
But former Ambassador to Israel and Obama-appointee Daniel Shapiro pushed back against the ZOA’s statement, calling the claims against Bauman “overheated rhetoric”.
Bauman, Shapiro told the Jewish Insider, is a “dedicated friend of Israel”.
“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.”