Does Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster Hold Anti-Israel Views?

RTS19WLK
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster joins White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (unseen) for the daily briefing, to address sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, at the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 31. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Amid the growing clamor surrounding President Donald Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster and his feud with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, a right-wing, pro-Israel group has said it is reviewing the three-star general’s views on the Middle Eastern country.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) said in a statement to Breitbart.com, which Bannon ran before joining Trump's 2016 election campaign, that the review had been precipitated by inquiries from the media.

“ZOA’s leadership is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of all publicly available facts and statements. Morton Klein, national president of ZOA, will be issuing a full statement later this week,” it read.

Related: Mattis had to wade into feud between furious White House rivals McMaster and Bannon

McMaster and Bannon have been in competition from the outset of the lieutenant general’s appointment to replace Michael Flynn in February. By April, following McMaster’s elevation to the role, Bannon was ejected from the principals committee of the National Security Council.

The two men, who hold diametrically opposing views on Afghanistan, openly sparred in a well-attended national policy meeting on the war in mid-July. However, as alt-right groups have mounted an increasingly pressurized attack on McMaster, his views on Israel have come into question.

The alt-right’s grievances with McMaster stem from his recent firing of Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council's senior director for intelligence programs; Rich Higgins, the council’s director for strategic planning; and Derek Harvey, its senior director for the Middle East—all of whom are former Flynn allies. Breitbart, which McMaster believes Bannon uses to leak negative information about him to the media, has run headlines including "NSC Purge: McMaster ‘Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump.’"

The article cites a Facebook post by Caroline Glick, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, which states Cohen-Watnick, Higgins and Harvey are all pro-Israel and opposed the Iran nuclear deal. Glick accuses McMaster of undermining Trump’s May visit to Israel and the president’s broader foreign policy. “If McMaster isn’t fired after all that he has done and all that he will do, we’re all going to have to reconsider Trump’s foreign policy,” she wrote.

The furor grew to such an extent that Trump responded in defense of his senior aide Friday: "General McMaster and I are working very well together. He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country."

However, according to White House insiders, Trump is said to have voiced increased misgivings over McMaster in private. McMaster is said to be a volatile figure in the West Wing.

However, McMaster’s standing in the White House appears to have become more solid with the appointment of former Marine General John Kelly to the position of White House chief of staff. Kelly has said he wanted his old military colleague to stay on as national security adviser, and McMaster has wasted no time using the endorsement to reinvigorate the ejection of his predecessor's hires.