If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I remember thee not;
If I set not Jerusalem
Above my chiefest joy.
— Psalm 137: 5-6
Yeah, I know. Everybody’s pissed off at Trump. I’m pissed off at Trump. I mean, that’s just a typical human reaction to Trump – disgust, horror, anger. If you don’t feel one or some combination of these, well, I would worry about you.
The latest debacle is Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Arab nations are up in arms, Europeans are demonstrating their typical disdain for anything supportive of Israel, the progressive left in the US is apoplectic, and the Palestinians are screaming that this ends the peace process.
Understand, please, that I think Trump took this action to a) placate his evangelical and right-wing pro-Israel check writers and b) do whatever he could to remove Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation from the front-page. Do I agree with this declaration at this time? No. Do I find the faux gasps of horror, disdain, and impending apocalypse from the Arabs, Palestinians, Europeans and the progressive left to be self-serving, sanctimonious, and misrepresentative of reality? You bet your ass I do. Let’s take the items in turn:
- Declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel kills the peace process.
What peace process? The Palestinians have rejected every peace overture made by Israel in the last 50 years, as has most of the Arab world. Camp David accords – rejected. Oslo accords – rejected. Ehud Barak’s overtures – rebuffed. Ehud Olmert’s plan – ignored. Israel unilaterally exits the Gaza Strip with the result that a terrorist organization, Hamas, is elected by the Palestinians to govern the territory and whose number one aim is the destruction of Israel, not helping the Palestinians. Let us not forget the original rejection of the Palestinian State created by UN Resolution 181 in 1947, causing the first war. And then, the three “No;’s” of the Khartoum Resolution of 1967 (“no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it) by the Arab world and the Palestinians. Repudiation of either position would be explicit recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and that has not been forthcoming.
My point is simple. There has to be a genuine desire for peace for a peace process to exist. I remain convinced that the two-state solution is the best answer. I believe the Palestinian people and the Israelis could work and live together in peace. However, the current Palestinian leadership, Hamas, and Fatah have no desire for such an outcome. History tells me that the real aim of Hamas and Fatah, aided and abetted by Hezbollah and Iran, is the destruction of the State of Israel. Hence, there is no peace process to kill. It has been and continues to be dead on arrival.
- The US can no longer be viewed as an “honest broker” by the Arab world.
Entirely correct, but also entirely irrelevant. Because we never really were an “honest broker.” The first and chief priority of the United States is and should be its interests. Those include reducing the risk of terrorism, supporting democracy, denying the Russians warm water ports for use, protecting shipping in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and the Mediterranean, and, until recently, oil security to ensure economic stability. Interestingly, up until this President, I would have argued that our values came first, before the economics and probably tied with security. But I would have never argued that the United States was a neutral, uninterested party. Never was, and probably never will be and does not have to be to continue a role in getting both parties to the negotiating table. Doing so takes political leverage, which until recently, we had in relative abundance. We will always be a player, and the Arabs know this.
- We have ensured a one-state solution.
Nonsense. The Israelis don’t want a one-state solution. They would rather the status-quo than a solution that ultimately gives the majority to a non-Jewish population. Israel is the Jewish State. The only one in the world. The only place the post-Holocaust survivors had to go where their immigration was unlimited. The only place that took in the over 800,000 Jews forced to flee their homes in Arab countries after the state of Israel was established and then again after the 1967 war.
Note the irony here. In 1948, after the UN Vote on Resolution 181 created a Jewish State and a Palestinian State and the Israelis declared statehood, the Arab world, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in particular, urged the Palestinians to reject the partition, leave their homes, and drive the Jews into the sea. They did so. War ensued. The Arabs lost the war.
In the nearly 70 years since the end of the Israeli War of Independence, not one Arab country has volunteered to house the original 600,000 Palestinian refugees (now in the millions) that they helped create. Jordan fought a civil war to expel them. Lebanon has fought two civil wars, and Israel has fought one, trying to dislodge Hezbollah from that country. Egypt is currently battling Hamas in the Sinai, where the terrorist organization is doing to them what they have attempted to do to the Israelis. No Arab country wants to help the Palestinian people. Why is that?
Contrast that to what happened after 1948 and 1967. Iraq, Iran, Libya, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, and other Muslim Arab countries forced their Jewish population to flee – either by deporting them (e.g., Libya) or by making life so miserable for them that they had to leave (e.g., Iran, Iraq, and others). Almost all of those 800,000 refugees were taken in by Israel. There are virtually no Jews left in some of those countries which once had a flourishing Jewish culture. And, as an aside, ever wonder why Arabs can be citizens of Israel, but the Palestinians reject having any Jews as residents of the West Bank or Gaza? Food for thought.
So, no, we have not ensured a one-state solution. Israel is still the last place of refuge for Jews who have no place to go and cannot stay where they are. If you believe those days are past, think again. Think about what is happening and has happened in Argentina, France, Belguim, the UK. Jews have been targets of recent violence in all those countries. And don’t get smug, because there is also Charlottesville with David Duke and Richard Spencer who would love to see the same in the good, old US of A.
To remain the last hope and refuge, Israel must remain the Jewish state. And it can only do that with a two-state solution or a continuation of the status-quo.
So, yes, a typical unthinking, dumbass, infuriating, creating more damage than good Donald Trump move. Done for domestic political reasons that are disgusting. We all should be embarrassed and more than a little incensed.
But don’t buy the bullshit being pedaled about regarding consequences. Think it through and you can easily see why all that crap is wrong. Just plain fucking wrong.
One thought on “Jerusalem”
Couldn’t agree more with your overall conclusion, I see the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel as an inspired move. This talk about disrupting the “peace process” is absolute nonsense. Nothing meaningful has happened on that front in the last 25 years or so. Not surprisingly, there are the predictable (and festive) burnings of the U.S. flag and pictures of Trump in Gaza and the West Bank and the knee-jerk condemnations from the usual quarters. I find Russia’s disapproval rich in that they recognized Jerusalem as the capital back in April, but are slamming the U.S. for doing so now!
At the risk of seeming like a Trump apologist (which I’m not), I perceive three things:
1) Trump is a realist and he’s recognized some changing realities in the Middle East. With the Israeli Knesset and Supreme Court already located there…Jerusalem IS already the capital.
2) The Arab powers of the region are far more worried about the Persian threat than they are about the Palestinian “problem”, Israel is the more valuable “ally” in this power play’;and
3) I don’t believe domestic U.S. politics played that big a part in this decision. Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem before he was elected….and like so many other things, he’s kept his promise whether one agrees with them or not. He also promised to decimate ISIS…which he has, not that he gets any credit or notice for it.
So while others can fulminate against Trump….and often for damn good reasons…as noted above, I see this as an inspired decision.