Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Bush, Sharon, Trump, Jerusalem - Update

Sar Shalom

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This is unequivocally something to celebrate. However, a look back at history should guide what we do going forward. I refer to President George W. Bush's letter to Ariel Sharon around the time of the disengagement from Gaza. In that letter, which was endorsed by Congress, the United States committed that on the heels of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza that the U.S. would refrain from raising an issue about the settlements close to the Green Line. Like Trump's later recognition of Jerusalem, Bush's acquiescing to the near settlements was an unambiguous positive while it was in force.

One would expect that congressional endorsement would give the Sharon letter some degree of permanence, but that was not to be. As soon as Bush's presidency ended, his successor ignored it and went on a messianic crusade against the settlements, treating the Ramat Shlomo section of Jerusalem no differently than Elon Moreh on the outskirts of Nablus. The question now is, what can we do so that Trump's recognition will not meet the same fate as the Sharon letter? Does anyone not think that if Bernie Sanders were chas v'shalom to become president in 2021, barring changes from current circumstances, that he would rescind Trump's recognition of Jerusalem?

One change that would complicate any successor's attempt to rescind the Jerusalem recognition would be to create facts on the ground. That would mean getting the embassy moved during Trump's current term. Going from recognizing Jerusalem is Israel's capital while the embassy remains in Tel Aviv to reverting back to recognizing Tel Aviv as Israel's capital is a fairly simple move for a potential future president with an Obama-like or worse mindset. Changing the status of a functioning embassy in Jerusalem would be more complicated. Tillerson must not be allowed to drag his feet on this issue.

A further change that would complicate a move to rescind the Jerusalem recognition would be to change the narrative surrounding it from one of a sop to the Israeli and American Christian rights to one of a blow against injustice. Unfortunately, Trump's lack of credibility on any other issue would not facilitate this. Nonetheless, we must try to advance this alternative narrative in order to increase the likelihood that the Jerusalem recognition outlives Trump's administration.

One possible approach to do so would be put forward a more compelling explanation of what is needed in order to achieve peace. Previously, I have written what would be needed to demonstrate that the Palestinians are genuinely interested in peace. What is needed is for the Palestinians to declare three things:
  • The Jews are a people
  • The Jewish people are deeply connected to the Land of Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular
  • The Pact of Umar has no place in the modern world (modified from the original list)
For the moral narcissist-peace processors, attacking that list of demands would require one of two things. Either they could contradict one or more of the items in the list or they could argue that even if they are true, the Palestinians' refusal to abide by them should be inconsequential compared to their eventual commitment to live in peace. As to the former, it is a straightforward declaration of being an anti-Semite. The latter requires more of a response.

Denial of any one of those three would mean Jewish sovereignty on so much as a postage stamp-sized plot of the hallowed Dar-al-Islam is an injustice. It is possible to recognize an inability to address that particular injustice. Abu Yehuda likened this to recognizing an alligator lying across the sidewalk, you can't ignore it, but you wouldn't recognize its right to be there and you would call the game commission to have it removed ASAP. Combine the saying "no justice, no peace" with denial of any of my three points meaning Israel's existence in any borders is an injustice and the result is that there can be no peace with both Israel existing and a Palestinian entity clinging to denial of any of those three.

Returning to the Jerusalem declaration, part of acknowledging the bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem is accepting that Jerusalem is the Jews' capital. Opposing that recognition is ipso facto proof of denial of point 2 and thus an inability to have anything more than a truce with Israel to be used to build up their forces to finally impose their concept of "justice."

UPDATE: Abbas recently announced that in the wake of the Jerusalem announcement, he will no longer listen to any American peace plan. If the current narrative persists, this will provide Trump's successor the perfect excuse to revoke his recognition of Jerusalem. The task ahead is to attack that narrative and replace it with one in which Abbas' tantrum in response to the recognition of Jerusalem is proof-positive that he is unwilling to accept any peace in which Israel remains. I do not have answers as to what would change the narrative, but I can say that resting on our laurels that we have the power for now to preserve the Jerusalem recognition will not do so.


  1. First, Bernie Sanders will never be president. Ever, of anything.

    Next, if the next president in 2020 or more likely 2024 decides to revoke this decision it's the final break in most relations between the two states. If that's what the US wants to do, if that president wants to play to their left wing fringe, then ok, but that's what the history will say. The first president to abandon the Jews. And truthfully more than half of all Jews in the US will be fine with that but all that means for the Israel is that they're no longer a vassal state, and the micro micro management that the US craves over Israel will be lost forever. Again, if that's what the US wants to do, fine. Lose that outpost. Who knows, maybe the next Democratic president will declare a pogrom and invite the Iranians to go forward with their holocaust dreams. But here too, the Democrats would be on record as doing that. I'm not sure all of them are on board with that. Maybe a few. The New York Times, MSNBC, The Atlantic, all the Muslims in Congress and state government. But not all of them.

  2. Articles about Media Bias against Israel from Aish HaTorah:

    Why is the Media Biased?

    4 Reasons Why the Media is Biased against Israel:

    Dishonest Reporting: Media Bias Against Israel:

    The Media: Destroying Jerusalem Again:

    European Media and Anti-Israel Bias:

    Palestinians: Western Media's Ignorance and Bias Palestinians:

    An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth
    by Matti Friedman, 2014/8/26


    SUMMARY: This article exposes intentional anti-Israel bias in the news media.
    It is still VERY relevant, even though it was written in 2014.

    Ancient Roman historians mentioned that the Temple of the Jews was in Jerusalem:



  3. Thank you for this, Sar Shalom.

    Moving the embassy is key. If Trump fails to do so, which I suspect will be the case, then the acknowledgment of Jerusalem can simply be ignored by any future POTUS.

    As for "the narrative," we need to insist upon the indigeneity of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.

    Once we drive this home then the enemies of the Jewish people can no longer make the left-leaning case against us.

    After all, one cannot illegally occupy one's historical homeland.

  4. "Haley reacted angrily to the move, tweeting, “On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”

    In a letter sent to several UN ambassadors, Haley warned that she would report back to Trump on the countries that supported the draft resolution.

    “The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us,” she wrote. “We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.”

    Taking names! Man, Trump is doing his part on this. Gotta love Nikki.

    1. Yes, Nikki Haley was the one that was supposed to be "unqualified" for the job.

  5. The difference between the congressional endorsement of the Sharon letter and Trump's declaration of recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is huge and really should be obvious.

  6. "WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump told reporters at the White House."


    If he has the guts to do it and the ability, it would be a great thing. I don't know how realistic it might be but wow.

    1. You get the feeling that UN ambassadors never bothered to read the charter.

  7. " I’m here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I’m here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel….

    It is the UN’s anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change. The United States will not hesitate to speak out against these biases in defense of our friend and ally, Israel."

    Nikki is unequivocal; about time someone was. LI has a good explanation about exactly what was said:


    "Haley stressed that the United States "was not asking for other countries [to] move their embassies to Jerusalem," but "simply asking you acknowledge the historical friendship, partnership, and support we have extended and respect our decision about our embassy.....At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more," Haley tweeted on Tuesday. "So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names"

  8. The best approach to the UN is to simply and progressively ratchet down funding and slowly but surely ratchet up our complete indifference to everything they do and say.

  9. I say move the UN to Ramallah and eliminate the middleman.

    1. Drone the UN. Or if that's too drastic, condemn the building and turn it over to Amazon.

  10. I would tell the PLO to move their DC office to Dearborn, Michigan the 'Muslim' capital of the Great Satan.