Mr Kushner’s comments come in the middle of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the group in charge of the Gaza Strip, which has been labelled as a terror organisation by the US and the EU.
On 7 October, Hamas launched an attack on Israel that killed more than 1,400 people in Israel. More than 8,000 people have died in Gaza following counterattacks by the Israeli military, according to the AP.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that calls for a ceasefire are the same as calling for Israel to surrender.
“Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities after the horrific attacks of October 7,” Mr Netanyahu said in English on Monday, speaking to the international press. “Calls for a ceasefire are a call for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terror, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen. Ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says that there is a time for peace and a time for war. This is a time for war.”
Mr Netanyahu compared the Hamas attack to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan in December 1941, saying that no one would have called for a ceasefire after that attack.
“The horrors that Hamas perpetrated on October 7 remind us that we will not realize the promise of a better future unless we, the civilized world, are willing to fight the barbarians,” he said, according to The Times of Israel.“Because the barbarians are ready to fight us… and usher in a world of fear and darkness.”
“This is a turning point — for leaders and for nations,” he added. “It is time for all of us to decide if we are willing to fight for a future of hope and promise or surrender to tyranny and terror.”
“Israel did not start this war. Israel did not want this war. But Israel will win this war,” he argued.
He called the Hamas attack “the worst savagery our people have seen since the Holocaust”.
He added: “Hamas murdered children in front of their parents, murdered parents in front of their children. They burned people alive, they raped women, they beheaded men, they tortured Holocaust survivors, they kidnapped babies.”
Israel cut off food, fuel, electricity, medicine, and other supplies from Gaza, but subsequently allowed some aid to enter from Egypt. As many as 360,000 army reservists have been called up as Israel prepares for an expected ground invasion of Gaza aimed at taking out Hamas.
The conflict has led to a heated public debate with many calling for a ceasefire to end the killing of civilians.
A number of pro-Palestinian protests have taken place on college campuses with some student groups making statements in support of the Palestinian cause, leading to them facing criticism from those arguing they were backing the actions of Hamas.
A number of Harvard student groups faced a fierce backlash after issuing a statement claiming that Israel was “entirely responsible” for the attack on the country by Hamas, as noted by The Harvard Crimson.
Mr Kushner appeared on Sunday Morning Futures on Fox News claiming that Jewish people would be safer in Saudi Arabia than on college campuses in the US.
Despite having little to no experience, Mr Kushner became one of the top officials in the White House working on US-Middle East policy during the Trump administration.
Mr Kushner has faced scrutiny for his relationship with Saudi Arabia, which invested heavily in Mr Kushner’s post-White House venture.
Mr Kushner appeared on Fox after recently travelling to Saudi Arabia.
Jared Kushner, who just returned from a visit to Saudi Arabia, on Fox Business: "One of the ironies is that as a American Jew you're safer in Saudi Arabia right now than you are on a college campus like Columbia University." pic.twitter.com/bYQNPSkGee
— Jacob N. Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) October 29, 2023
“Yeah, so it was a very interesting time to be over there, and I’ve been there many times before,” he said. “One of the ironies is that as an American Jew, you’re safer in Saudi Arabia right now than you are on a college campus like Columbia University.”
“I spoke at the conference. They allowed me to speak freely,” he added.
Mr Kushner said he sensed a “very big disgust” in Saudi Arabia with the actions of Hamas.
He appeared alongside former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the annual Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Following intense debate and protests, the Columbia campus was closed down this month as a safety precaution, The Hill noted.