August 9, 2017
News Press Release

ZOA: NSC’s McMaster – Reassign Him to Area Not Dealing with Israel or Iran

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein; ZOA Director of Special Projects, Elizabeth Berney, Esq.; and ZOA Director of Center for Mideast Policy, Daniel Mandel, Ph.D. released the following report:

The duties of the National Security Council (NSC) include “coordinat[ing] and direct[ing] the activities of the United States Government relating to combating transnational threats.”  50 U.S.C. § 3021(i).  It is thus alarming that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster purged from the NSC those officials who were carrying out President Trump’s policies of combating Iranian and radical Islamist transnational threats, and purged from the NSC those officials who support the U.S.-Israel alliance – an alliance that is vital to America’s ability to combat radical Islamist terrorism.

Instead, General McMaster has appointed officials who are holdovers from the Obama administration, who favor the Iran nuclear deal and are hostile to Israel – officials who are diametrically opposed to President Trump’s policies.  Moreover, new revelations demonstrate that General McMaster’s ideology is antagonistic to the President’s policies on these vital issues.  The ZOA thus urges President Trump to remove General McMaster from his current position and reassign him to another position where he can do no further harm on these critical national security issues.  General McMaster should not maintain a position where he can continue to undermine President Trump’s policies on Iran, Israel and the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism” – a term that General McMaster believes should not even be used.

McMaster Fired Officials Carrying Out President Trump’s Pro-Israel, Anti-Iran Policies That McMaster Opposes

As highly respected journalist and Jerusalem Post senior editor Caroline Glick pointed out, all the Trump loyalists whom General McMaster purged from the NSC “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.”  General McMaster has purged the following officials from the NSC, who were carrying out the president’s policies:

  • K.T. McFarland: McFarland is a staunch Iran deal opponent, opponent of the Islamist global jihad against western civilization, and a highly respected and experienced pro-Israel national security professional, who served on the NSC during the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations.  President Trump’s appointment of McFarland as deputy national security advisor was widely praised.  (See Trump Assembling Team of Fierce Iran Deal Opponents,” by Adam Kredo, Dec. 5, 2016.)  General McMaster promptly forced out McFarland, who was then nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore. (WH Press Release, May 19, 2017.)
  • Ezra Cohen-Watnick: President Trump’s former NSC appointee, General Michael Flynn, appointed Cohen-Watnick as the NSC’s senior director for intelligence.  Cohen-Watnick was a staunch opponent of the Iran nuclear deal and Islamist terrorism, who “wanted to revamp counter-Iran efforts in the Middle East, and sought to reform the intelligence community to rein in the ‘deep state’ of unaccountable bureaucrats with rogue agendas.”  (“Trump Loyalist Ezra Cohen-Watnick Fired from NSC: McMaster’s Purge of Conservatives Continues,” by Jordan Schachtel, Conservative Review, Aug. 2, 2017.)  Cohen-Watnick also exposed the Obama administration’s eavesdropping on Trump officials.  Foreign policy expert Daniel Greenfield noted that General McMaster fired Cohen-Watnick because “there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.”  (“McMaster’s NSC Coup Against Trump Purges Critics of Islam and Obama: The National Security Council is Becoming a National Security Threat,” by Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag., Aug. 4, 2017; see also McMaster Pushes Cohen-Watnick, Iran Hard-Liner, Out at NSC,” by JTA, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 3, 2017.) 
  • Rich Higgins: Higgins was the NSC’s director of strategic planning, until General McMaster fired him on July 21.  Higgins was an “Iran hawk” (“McMaster Pushes Cohen-Watnick, Iran Hard-Liner, Out at NSC,” cited above),and also had sought to declassify Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11), the secret blueprint of Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.  Former House Intelligence Committee Chair Pete Hoekstra linked PSD-11 to the rise of ISIS and called for its declassification.  Higgins had stood by Trump during the Khizr Khan attacks. Higgins also wrote a memo warning of the strategic threats from the left’s alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic terrorism, Sharia and the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants.  As expert Greenfield noted: “Like [Derek] Harvey and Ezra Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had warned of an enemy within.  And paid the price.” (“McMaster’s NSC Coup Against Trump Purges Critics of Islam and Obama,” cited above.
  • Adam Lovinger: Caroline Glick reported:  “In May, Adam Lovinger, a pro-Trump national security strategist on loan from the Pentagon’s office of net assessment was summarily informed that his security clearance was revoked.  He was fired and escorted from the White House like a spy and put on file duty at the Pentagon.  Lovinger is a seasoned strategic analyst who McMaster hated because he supported India over Pakistan, among other things.”   

Journalist Daniel Greenfield noted that: “When Adam Lovinger urged that ‘more attention be given to the threat of Iran and Islamic extremism,’ his security clearance was revoked.” 

  • Steve Bannon: Early in the McMaster era, General McMaster removed Steve Bannon from the NSC’s principals committee.  Bannon is a strong opponent of the Iran deal, and a staunch supporter of Israel.
  • Derek Harvey:  Former U.S. Army Colonel Harvey – one of the CENTCOM’s most trusted advisors on Iraq, who had also warned of Al Qaeda early on – was eminently qualified to serve as the NSC’s top Middle East advisor in the Trump administration.  Harvey vocally advocated for a tougher policy on Iran and Iran’s proxies.  Harvey also reportedly constructed a comprehensive plan on how to scrap the Iran nuclear deal – a Trump campaign promise that General McMaster apparently opposes.  Harvey also uncovered the holdovers from the Obama administration who were leaking to the press.  Instead of firing the Obama loyalists and leakers, General McMaster fired Harvey.  (See, e.g., “McMaster, On ‘Warpath,’ Purges Key Trump Allies From White House NSC,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, Aug. 3, 2017; and “McMaster’s NSC Coup Against Trump Purges Critics of Islam and Obama,” above; and “McMaster Fires Iran Hawk From NSC: Another Flynn Holdover Has Been Removed,” by Kate Brannen, Foreign Policy, July 27, 2017.) 

 More Firings to Come:  General McMaster reportedly has a list of additional senior Trump allies whom he intends to purge from the NSC, if he is not stopped.  (See, e.g., “McMaster, On ‘Warpath,’ Purges Key Trump Allies From White House NSC: McMaster Has List of Senior Officials He Plans to Fire,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, Aug. 3, 2017.)

McMaster Appointed Replacements to the NSC Who are Pro-Iran, Hostile to Israel Opposing Trump’s Policies

General McMaster’s appointees to the NSC are hostile to Israel, favor the Iran deal, and are weak on, or seek to appease, Islamists.  These include the following: 

  • Kris Bauman:  The ZOA previously objected to General McMaster’s appointment of hostile critic of Israel Kris Bauman to be NSC advisor on Israel-Palestinian matters.  McMaster-appointee Bauman is a protégé of hostile-to-Israel, Iran-deal negotiator John Kerry.  Bauman’s plans for Israel include: Israel’s retreat to indefensible borders; creating a Palestinian-Arab (terrorist) state; sending in U.S. and Palestinian Arab troops to areas currently controlled by Israel; and “engaging” genocidal terrorist organization Hamas.  Bauman also falsely blames and accuses Israel of inciting Palestinian Arab violence and derailing peace.  (See ZOA Concerned: NSC’s McMaster Appoints Kris Bauman – Hostile Israel Critic,” May 17, 2017.) 
  • Dina Habib-Powell: After General McMaster forced out the highly experienced K.T. McFarland from her role as deputy national security advisor (see above), General McMaster appointed Egyptian-born Dina Habib-Powell to the position – someone without any background in national security.  Habib-Powell has been called Huma Abedin’s “Republican doppelganger,” and she defended Abedin.  (Hillary’s Mystery Woman: Who Is Huma?,” by Spencer Morgan, The Observer, Apr. 2, 2007.)  Politico noted that Habib-Powell “has strong relationships with senior Democrats including outgoing Obama White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.” 

Journalist Daniel Greenfield also explained that:  “Habib-Powell had attended the Iftar dinner with members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups.  You can see her photographed at the American Task Force of Palestine gala.  The ATFP was originally Israel-basher Rashid Khalidi’s American Committee on Jerusalem. She was there as a presenter at the Middle East Institute after a speech by [Israel-basher] Hanan Ashrawi.  Her achievements under Bush included cultural exchanges with Iran, as well as cash for the Palestinian Authority and for Lebanon after the Hezbollah war with Israel.  While President Trump fights to restrict Muslim immigration, at his side is the woman who had once bragged on CNN, ‘Over 90% of student visas are now issued in under a week, and that is in the Middle East.’  But that is typical of the McMaster revamp of the NSC. It’s populated by swamp creatures who oppose the positions that President Trump ran on. And who are doing everything possible to undermine them.”

  • Lisa Weissgold (attempted hire):  General McMaster also attempted to hire Lisa Weissgold (to replace Trump loyalist Ezra Cohen-Watnick), but was overruled by President Trump.  Weissgold authored the Obama administration’s infamous Benghazi “talking points” – which falsely blamed a video for triggering the Benghazi attacks, instead of blaming radical Islamist terrorist groups responsible for them.  (See McMaster Interviewed CIA Operative to Replace Trump NSC Official,” by Michael Warren, Weekly Standard, Mar. 16, 2017; and “McMaster Tried To Bring In CIA Official Who Lied About Benghazi ‘Protest’,” by Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag., Mar. 19, 2017.) 
  • Obama Holdovers: Caroline Glick reported that General McMaster “allows anti-Israel, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Iran Obama people like Robert Malley to walk around the NSC and tell people what to do and think.  [McMaster] has left Ben (reporters know nothing about foreign policy and I lied to sell them the Iran deal) Rhodes’ and Valerie Jarrett’s people in place.”

McMaster’s Ideology and Actions Undermine President Trump’s Agenda

Since “personnel is policy,” it speaks volumes that General McMaster purged Trump loyalists from the NSC who were dedicated to the President’s policies on Israel, Iran and combatting radical Islam – and that instead, General McMaster retained or appointed Obama holdovers and their ilk.  General McMaster’s additional actions that warrant his removal from his current position and his reassignment to another include the following:

  • McMaster Supports the Iran Deal; Refused to Publish Side Deals:  Caroline Glick reported thatMcMaster supports the [Iran] deal and refuses to publish the side deals Obama signed with the Iranians and then hid from the public.”  (See Caroline Glick post.) 

 The Washington Free Beacon reported that “McMaster . . . ha[s] aggressively urged maintaining [the Iran deal].  ‘That’s why they took [Derek] Harvey out,’ explained one source, . . . [Harvey] is said to have constructed a comprehensive plan on how to scrap the nuclear deal.  Another source described the Trump administration’s Iran policy as ‘completely gutted’ in the aftermath of [McMaster’s] firings.”  (McMaster, On ‘Warpath,’ Purges Key Trump Allies From White House NSC,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, Aug. 3, 2017.)

  • McMaster Wrongly Pushed to Recertify the Iran Nuclear Deal; Refused to Acknowledge Iran’s Violations:  General McMaster reportedly pushed for recertification of the Iran deal.  He evaded a reporter’s questions about Iran’s actual violations of the deal.  Instead, General McMaster misleadingly stated that Iran was violating the “spirit” of the agreement.  This ignored the facts and enabled the recertification of the Iran deal, and continued unwarranted sanctions relief to Iran.  (“McMaster Outlines Hillary Clinton–Like Approach to Certification of Iran Nuclear Deal,” by Fred Fleitz, National Review, July 17, 2017.)
  • McMaster Opposes Calling Out Radical Islamist Terrorism:  Iran scholar Dr. Michael Ledeen noted that “McMaster has instructed his staff to avoid using the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ and tried to remove it from the president’s recent speech in Warsaw, Poland (Trump put it back in). According to a recent rumor, the NSC declined to schedule a talk on radical Islamic terrorism by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the country’s most respected authorities, reportedly because one of McMaster’s appointees, Mustafa Javed Ali, accused her of ‘Islamophobia.’”  (“The McMaster Turmoil,” by Michael Ledeen, PJ Media, Aug. 6, 2017.)
  • McMaster’s Presumptuous Attempt at Anti-Israel, Pro-Palestinian Regime Policy-Making:  ZOA previously expressed concern when, at a May 12, 2017 White House press conference, General McMaster stepped to the podium and presumptuously attempted to supplant President Trump’s pro-Israel policy.  General McMaster proclaimed that President Trump would call for “Palestinian self-determination” during the President’s upcoming Israel visit, when this clearly conflicted with the President’s policy.  General McMaster also said nothing about the fact that President Trump would be demanding that Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders end their horrendous “pay to slay” payments incentivizing Palestinian Arab terrorists to murder Jews. (SeeZOA Urges Trump: Don’t Promote McMaster’s Call for ‘Palestinian Self-Determination’: Calling for ‘Palestinian Self-Determination’ Damages Peace; Prejudices Negotiations; Encourages Abbas That He Can Get His Demands Met While Continuing to Teach Hatred and Paying Terrorists to Murder Jews,” May 19, 2017.)
  • McMaster Refused to Acknowledge the Western Wall is in Israel:  At the same May 12, 2017 press conference, General McMaster refused to say whether the Western Wall is in Israel.  (“McMaster’s Western Wall Evasion: McMaster’s Ideological Differences With Trump Became Apparent From The Minute He Accepted The Offer To Replace Gen. Michael Flynn In The Role Of National Security Adviser,” by Ruthie Blum, May 21, 2017.)
  • McMaster Pressured Trump Not to Visit the Western Wall:  General McMaster is apparently bent on undermining President Trump’s policies of recognizing the Jewish people’s historic connection to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and of promoting the U.S.-Israel alliance.  It was recently shockingly revealed that General McMaster pressured President Trump not to visit Judaism’s holy site, the Western Wall, and that he insisted that neither Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu nor any other Israeli official could accompany President Trump on his visit – an insult to our ally Israel.  (See Caroline Glick post.)  As Caroline Glick noted, General McMaster “pressured Trump to cancel his visit to the Wall and only visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — ala the Islamists who insist that the only reason Israel exists is European guilt over the Holocaust.”  (See Caroline Glick post.) 
  • McMaster’s Overall Arabist Views and Hostility to Israel:  As Ms. Glick also reported: “McMaster . . . is deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump.  According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.”  (Caroline Glick post; see also Official: McMaster Calls Israel ‘Illegitimate,’ ‘Occupying Power’: Embattled NSC Chief Holds Anti-Trump Positions On Israel,” by Jordan Schachtel, Conservative Review, Aug. 3, 2017.) Daniel Horowitz, Senior Editor, Conservative Review, stated on Frank Gaffney’s radio show (Aug 3):  “From his time at CENTCOMM, McMaster has developed the full Arabist world-view, that Israel’s an enemy; he’s as anti-Israel as anyone in the Obama administration; he’s pro-Iran-deal; he wants to get all of our troops involved in every Islamic civil war.  Literally, if you would check the boxes on Trump’s campaign promises, he’s on the opposite side of every one of them…
  • McMaster Served as a Consulting Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which is partially financed by outspoken anti-Zionist George Soros and by multinational corporate firms doing billions of dollars of business in Iran. Bahrain has provided one quarter ($32.5 million) of  their budget over the years. It is also partially financed by outspoken anti-Zionist George Soros and by multinational corporate firms doing billions of dollars of business in Iran. They include Airbus, Total SA, BP International Limited, Shell International LTD. 
  • McMaster Shut Down Joint U.S.-Israel Counterterror, Anti-Hezbollah Effort: As the Conservative Review reported, General McMaster “expressed great reluctance to work with Israel on counterterror efforts, as he shut down a joint U.S.-Israel project to counter the terrorist group Hezbollah’s efforts to expand Iran’s worldwide influence.  The project was led by the now-former NSC Middle East director Derek Harvey [whom McMaster fired].”  (See Jordan Schachtel’s article in the Conservative Review, above.)  We cannot afford to have a NSC head who shuts down joint U.S.-Israel counter-terror efforts against Iran that are so vital to our security. 
  • McMaster Opposed Israel Counterterror Efforts:  A senior defense official told the Conservative Review that General McMaster viewed Israel’s reasonable security measures (the installation of metal detectors after armed Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount) as “just another excuse by the Israelis to repress the Arabs.” (See Schachtel’s article, above.)
  • McMaster Gave Susan Rice Access to Classified Information:  General McMaster wrote an official letter that gave President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice unfettered, continuing access to classified information and that waived her “need-to-know” requirement. (“A Letter From H.R. McMaster Said Susan Rice Will Keep Her Top-Secret Security Clearance,” by Sara A. Carter, Circa, Aug. 3, 2017.)  Rice was deeply involved in many of the Obama administration’s policies that are inimical to President Trump’s positions, and in the unmasking of Trump campaign officials.  Although such letters are generally pro forma for former administration security officials, the letter appears to make little sense in Rice’s case.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply concerned about General McMaster’s actions in his role as the Trump administration’s top national security adviser.

“We find it hard to understand how someone who clearly has animus toward Israel, who supports the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, who opposes calling out radical Islamist terrorists, who fires Trump loyalists and supporters of Israel and opponents of Iran, who hires those opposed to President Trump’s policies especially on Israel and Iran, who refused to acknowledge that the Western Wall is in Israel, who opposes Israeli counterterrorism measures, and who shuts down joint U.S. counterterrorism programs that are of enormous value to U.S. security, can faithfully serve President Trump as top national security advisor.  President Trump made it crystal clear, both before and since his election, that supporting Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance, abrogating or at least vigorously enforcing the Iran deal while calling out and sanctioning Iran’s violations, confronting radical Islamist terrorism, and draining the Washington swamp, were key, distinguishing policies of his administration. 

“General McMaster’s record during these past few months can only lead to the conclusion that McMaster is opposed to President Trump’s basic policy positions on Israel, Iran, and Islamist terror.  General McMaster is not the appropriate person to serve the Trump White House as top national security adviser. The ZOA strongly recommends that General McMaster be reassigned to a different role in this administration, unrelated to these critical issues.”