How Dumbo Heights provides a clue to Kushner’s peace plan rollout
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO
Earlier this week, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, revealed in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the Trump peace plan has been completed and will likely be rolled out soon after Israel’s elections on April 9th.
The Key Questions: What? When? And How? — While Danon shed some light on the question of timing, key questions remain about what’s actually in the plan (which, we’re told, is likely to include land swaps involving the cooperation of neighboring countries Egypt and Jordan) and how it will be released.
Kushner’s playbook — Many real estate deal analogies have been made given the professional backgrounds of Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. Trump himself has called Middle East peace “like a real estate deal.” While the comparisons have often focused on the contents of a possible deal, there’s another real estate technique that, according to sources who’ve been briefed, Kushner is likely to deploy: marketing films.
Flashback — On a late afternoon in the spring of 2014, Jared Kushner walked up to the podium at a Brooklyn real estate gathering to deliver a rare public presentation. Kushner kept his remarks brief and instead let a slickly produced two-minute film — featuring a deep voice over and futuristic renderings of his company’s Dumbo Heights development — do the talking. “That really gives you a flavor of what we’re trying to create,” Kushner concluded following the video. You can watch Kushner’s remarks here, along with the film.
‘Has to be the best’ — Kushner Companies later used the same marketing firm, Creative Soldier, founded by self-described ‘real estate ad genius’ Joshua Abehsera, to create a film promoting the penthouse residences of the Puck Building. In the video, Jared Kushner can be seen explaining, “we started with the premise that this project can’t be good, this project can’t be great, this project has to be the best.”
From Brooklyn to Bethlehem — Economic incentives are expected to be the centerpiece of the Trump peace proposal. Kushner toured the region last month in an effort to secure financial pledges from gulf countries and Turkey. As we previously reported, according to former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk, the number Kushner has in mind is $65 billion. Starting with showcasing what life in the region could look like with peace and financial prosperity, and painting a picture for ordinary Palestinians, appears to be one of the ‘unique’ approaches that Kushner plans to introduce to the peace process.
Whether the futuristic renderings bringing the Dumbo spirit to Gaza and the West Bank will win support for the overall plan remains to be seen. We’re living in the age of the Fyre Festival, which famously sold tickets for thousands of dollars entirely on a flashy promo video featuring Instagram models in the Bahamas. Producing teaser films to sell Middle East peace might not be such a stretch…