Converging interests of Israel, Arab states is ‘opportunity,’ McMaster tells AJC

(JTA) — H.R. McMaster, the U.S. National Security Advisor, called the converging interests of Israel and other Middle Eastern countries an “opportunity,” during an address to the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum in Washington.

In a speech Sunday night, McMaster noted a “reassessment of regional relationships, most notably between Israel and a number of our Arab partners — all friends of America, but too often adversaries of each other. Today their interests are converging. This is an opportunity.”

Citing the 1967 Six Day War as an example, McMaster said that what can appear to be an unprecedented challenge can present opportunities. Today, in the face of threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic State and Iran, Israel “has adapted and performed amazingly well” because it “consistently recognized and acted on opportunities when others may have seen only difficulties,” he said.

McMaster praised Trump’s recent visit to the Middle East, noting that aimed to reaffirm American leadership in the world, build relationships with regional leaders and “promote a message of unity among the followers of three of the world’s great faiths.”

McMaster said that Trump convinced more than 50 leaders of Muslim countries he met with in Saudi Arabia to agree “to cut off the financing for extremists and prevent them from hijacking and perverting their religion,” a pledge he said the administration intended to monitor.

McMaster added that while in Israel, Trump “reaffirmed America’s rock-solid alliance with our closest military ally,” and emphasized to the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to counter terrorism.

The AJC Global Forum runs through June 6 in Washington, D.C., with more than 2,500 participants from across the United States and 70 countries around the world.

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