In the brand new Museum of Tolerance, highlights from the signing of the Abraham Accord played as the former president’s daughter and son-in-law, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Trump administration alumni. Rich and potent on ceviche, steak, and lots of drinks.
At one of the many open bars – including NFL star Peyton Manning and FIFA president Gianni Infantino – giant, black-edged table lamps drape over a curious selection of guests.
The entire event had an “Alice in Wonderland” feel, as attendees fell through the glass and into an alternate reality, where Donald Trump was still the President of the United States and Benjamin Netanyahu was still the Prime Minister of Israel.
In theory, it was a launch party for the Friedman Center for Peace Through Strength, an organization founded by former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, which seeks to advance the Abrahamic Agreement – a September 2020 deal, brokered by the US, To normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
In practice, it felt like a reelection of Trump, and a campaign event for Pompeo, who received an award in recognition of his work on the Abraham Accords, while strictly avoiding journalists.
Many attendees wished aloud that Pompeo would run for US president in 2024 – something he is reportedly considering, if Trump does not run again.
“We need to order Pompeo wine!” The wife of a diplomat at the bar said, upon learning that some of the drinks on offer were from Sagot Winery, located in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, which last year named one of its reds after Pompeo.
Others were even more obvious.
Billionaire philanthropist Sylvan Adams, co-chair of the program, said, “Time ran out on the Trump administration, and we looked at some of your achievements in retrospect, but hopefully President Pompeo continues down that path.” He said he thought Pompeo and Abraham Accord architects would be the “more deserving” winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The current leaders of the US and Israel, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, probably did not exist. Just one serving member of the Israeli cabinet – Interior Minister Eylet Sheik – appeared in attendance.
In a brief interview with CNN on the program, Friedman said he remained in close contact with Trump administration alumni who flew the program and that it was not difficult to get them to make the long trip to Israel. Kushner and Trump arrived at 4 a.m. on Monday and left the same evening.
“I love all these people: Jared, Ivanka, Mnuchin, Pompeo; we worked so closely together, we really liked each other – which is unusual, by the way, for administration in politics – And it’s good to see everyone here in Jerusalem,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Kushner, Trump, Netanyahu and others attended the launch of the Abraham Accord caucus in the Israeli parliament. The caucus, made up of more than 100 members of parliament, aims to work on measures that expand the Abrahamic Agreement.
And while the evening’s celebration appeared to be a toast to the Trump administration, the Knesset event experienced a Netanyahu campaign rally.
Almost every time the former Israeli PM’s name was mentioned, parts of the audience burst into applause. Whenever the names of Biden or Bennett came up, the same could not be said.
When Netanyahu arrived – halfway through the event – with wife Sarah, about a quarter of the audience gave a standing ovation, despite the fact that Morocco’s ambassador to Israel was in the middle of the speech at the time.
During his own address, Netanyahu cited excerpts from his book and earlier speeches to say that they completely determined how peace with Arab countries could be achieved.
Applauding the work done by the Trump administration to make such deals, Netanyahu said he believed he and Kushner, along with the rest of Trump’s team, “changed history.”
Just hours later Netanyahu, who took a page out of the former president’s playbook on how to treat his successor, lashed out at Bennett from the Knesset platform, saying he was “not a real prime minister.”
For both Netanyahu and the Trump crew, it was a day spent reminiscing about the glories of the past, and looking forward to – perhaps – what might happen again.