Jewish and pro-Israel community leaders and groups reacted to the White House announcement on Thursday that U.S. Middle East special envoy Jason Greenblatt plans to resign within the coming weeks.
“Mr. Greenblatt has played a pivotal role over the last two years in strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship and in working on ways to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” American Israel Public Affairs Committee spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told JNS. “We are grateful for his service to our country, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
“Jason Greenblatt’s departure is a great loss to American diplomacy in the Mideast,” Mort Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, told JNS. “He knew how to make everyone comfortable and satisfied, no matter how difficult the issue. His knowledge and understanding of the details of the Arab war against Israel was extraordinary. He also showed grace and aplomb, and imperturbability even under the greatest pressure.”
B’nai B’rith International CEO Dan Mariaschin told JNS, “Jason Greenblatt took on the monumental task of trying to bring a realistic solution to the conflict. His tireless efforts in pursuing that will surely be missed.”
“Jason Greenblatt made a significant sacrifice in moving to Washington and being away from his family during these past years,” Christians United For Israel founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee told JNS. “He has served his country honorably and made important contributions to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship, and to the security of our nations, that will long outlast his tenure in D.C. We are grateful to him for his friendship and for his staunch support of Israel; he will be missed.”
Joseph Sabag, executive director of IAC for Action, said “Jason Greenblatt has been vital in creating a more realistic public understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He’s shown an exceptional willingness to speak the truth and lay out needed criticisms. He has left the situation in far better shape than he inherited it.”
“While we are sad to see Jason Greenblatt depart the administration, we wish him much continued success in his next chapter. [He] has done an amazing job representing the United States, working tirelessly to bring peace and security between Israel and the Palestinians,” Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks told JNS. “We are grateful to have had the honor of working closely with him and are looking forward to working with his very talented replacement, Avi Berkowitz.”
Berkowitz, a deputy to White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, will take over most of Greenblatt’s duties, though U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook will also take on some responsibilities.
Greenblatt will remain at the White House for another few weeks until the launch of the political component of the peace proposal following the Sept. 17 Israeli elections.
The economic component was revealed in June at a conference in Bahrain.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have worked in the White House for over two-and-a-half years under the leadership of President [Donald] Trump. I am incredibly grateful to have been part of a team that drafted a vision for peace,” said Greenblatt. “This vision has the potential to vastly improve the lives of millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region.”
“I would like to thank my incredible wife Naomi and my amazing six children for their strength and encouragement,” he continued. “I will thoroughly miss working with my friends and colleagues Jared Kushner, David Friedman and Avi Berkowitz, as well as the many other dedicated individuals within the U.S. government who were instrumental in our efforts.”
Not everyone, however, seemed surprised or disheartened by Greenblatt’s resignation.
“@jdgreenblatt45’s pending departure is another indication that @realDonaldTrump
has no attainable vision for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Like other aspects of Trump’s policy, the “ultimate deal” was never more than an empty promise,” tweeted Jewish Democratic Council of America executive director Halie Soifer.
“Deeply grateful for the service and sacrifice of @jdgreenblatt45 as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace. Thank you for your tireless and dedicated efforts, your consistent responsiveness, and friendship,” tweeted the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. JN