WASHINGTON (JTA) – In an Israel Independence Day message, U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said President Donald Trump’s disruptive approach to governing coupled with the rise of the Islamic State presented new opportunities for regional peace.
Trump “is a results-oriented businessman who feels an intense responsibility to succeed for his investors, in this case the American people,” McMaster said Tuesday at Independence Day celebrations hosted by Israel’s embassy in Washington, agreeing with those who say Trump is “disruptive.”
“‘We have always done it this way’ is not a phrase that works on President Trump,” McMaster said, adding that Trump has little patience for “a debate over doctrine.”
That style and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group, along with Iran’s efforts to expand its “malign” influence, create opportunities to forge a unified approach among Israel and its Arab neighbors, McMaster said, and that could lead to peace.
These elements “have created an opportunity that coincides with our new and unconventional American president,” he said.
Noting Trump’s push for Middle East peace – the president meets Wednesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and is reported to be headed to Israel later this month – McMaster called on those present to back the initiative.
“We should all support this effort and do our best to seize this opportunity,” he said.
Earlier Tuesday, Vice-President Mike Pence held an Israel Independence Day celebration at the Old Executive Office Building, effectively a White House annex.
Trump has made clear he “stands with Israel,” Pence said, and “as we speak, is giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
Trump, campaigning for president, pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but has retreated from the promise since assuming office.
The event, attended by Trump’s new ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is believed to be the first time the White House celebrated Israel’s independence on its grounds. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush held Chaukah parties at the White House, and Obama celebrated Jewish Heritage Month.