Feb. 26, 2020
JERUSALEM — A leading Israeli venture capital firm said Wednesday it has hired the Trump administration’s former Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt as a business developer for the region.
OurCrowd said the former attorney for Donald Trump will be acting as a partner responsible for “building ties with the Middle East region.”
Greenblatt was the architect of Trump’s recently unveiled Mideast plan that largely favored Israel. He worked as the White House’s special representative for international negotiations until resigning in October 2019.
Greenblatt told The Associated Press his focus would be on cultivating investment from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain — all countries that have developed behind-the-scenes relations with Israel in recent years, and who were to be key investors in the economic development side of the Trump administration’s Mideast plan.
“I’m hoping to be able to utilize the platform that I have and connect Israel and the Gulf in a way to continue the momentum that we’ve seen over the last three years,” Greenblatt said. “They work together on security to a degree. And, you know, there’s enough commerce going on in a small way that leads me to believe we’re going to see a bigger impact.”
OurCrowd is an Israeli platform that allows affluent individuals to invest smaller sums in start-ups that are pooled together with other smaller investors, akin to crowdfunding for venture capital. Since its launch in 2013, the company says it has raised $1.4 billion in assets for 200 companies and 20 funds, most of them Israeli.
OurCrowd’s founder Jon Medved said in a statement that he expects Greenblatt’s addition “to open up a new world of opportunities for our growing portfolio of 200+ companies and 20 funds.”
Greenblatt spoke at OurCrowd’s annual conference in Jerusalem earlier this month. OurCrowd said its February 2020 summit included participants from around the Arab world.
Greenblatt said he would be based out of New York, but his job “will undoubtedly involve a great deal of travel to the region.”
Trump unveiled his long-awaited “Deal of the Century” last month in Washington. It sided with Israel on most of the conflict’s main sticking points, and the Palestinians rejected it outright.
The plan grants Israel sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank, and falls far short of the Palestinian dream of an independent state. Instead, it calls for giving them limited autonomy over disjointed stretches of land, and only if they meet a stringent set of demands.
Greenblatt said that peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the broader Arab world “have always gone hand-in-hand, but they’re not necessarily always going to go hand in hand.“
“If the Palestinians don’t engage on President Trump’s peace vision, I still think we’re going to see movement between Israel and the region,” he said.