BLOG 375 December 11, 2017
How do you assess moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem and the President’s actions officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? Every country in the world (except Israel) condemned the action. The State Department opposed such unilateral action. And the USA got nothing in return. The biggest bargaining chip went down the drain. So, what should we say?
Evangelicals rejoice. Palestinians scream. Politicians wiggle. Jews are divided. Interesting situation.
Perhaps, the question you’re asking is why Jewish people around the world would be split on a decision that supports Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews. After all, Jews have identified Jerusalem as their capital for over 3,000 years. The Passover doesn’t end with “Next Year in Tel Aviv.” The oldest continuous observance in history always concludes with “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
So, why are Jews divided?
They correctly view Trump’s actions as arbitrarily ending reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. The Arabian world now understands American to be biased toward Israel. While the US always was partial to Israel, the country is no longer seen as a possible broker in the peace process.
By the way, Israel did not take Jerusalem from the Palestinians. Jordan controlled the West Bank and the Old City until the Seven Day War. Israel defeated Jordan. Yasser Arafat invented the idea that the Palestinians held the land. They did not.
Timing is the stumbling block. Even Jews who favor an American Embassy in Jerusalem are concerned that Trump’s actions are arbitrary and political –not strategic. For his own political reasons, the President has made a capricious move that has already ignited 30 demonstrations and two deaths. Unfortunately, more will come.
The larger issue is not whether the world should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but why do so now out of the clear blue. The action was political theater.
The issue to watch is what happens next. Does an intifada follow? How much blood shed will flow? Will this action only further erode American influence in the Middle East? These are tough and important questions. We will all watch and see.
Stay tuned. More to come.