One fact that got lost in all of the chatter about the opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem on Monday is that it wasn’t just a voluntary move. In fact, it’s been required by law for 23 years, ever since the Jerusalem Embassy Act went into effect in 1995.
Since then, three presidents — Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — have all refused to follow American law because it would make Palestinian militants and others in the Middle East angry.
Far from treating this as an abrogation of the law, the media has generally praised presidents for taking this tack and censured any politician who suggested the law be followed. (Witness, for instance, the regularity with which the lede of stories regarding Israel on Monday had to do with the protests in Gaza.)
The good news is that President Donald Trump has proved he doesn’t care about that kind of censoriousness from the press, no matter what the issue. That’s doubly true on Israel, where he’s questioned everything from the two-state solution to the fact that despite what U.S. law said, we still maintained our embassy in Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem.
While what the administration plans to do in the former case isn’t clear yet, the president’s decision on the latter case culminated with the move on Monday.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked thinks she espies a similarity with another world leader by making the move. On Monday, she said that Trump is the “Churchill of the 21st century” by not capitulating to the opinion of the media or the United Nations, the Times of Israel reports.
Shaked, a member of the Jewish Home party, was speaking at a celebratory Orthodox Union breakfast in Jerusalem when she made the remarks.
According to the justice minister, Europe had “closed its eyes to the strengthening of the Nazis. Today it is choosing to close its eyes to the strengthening of Iran.”
However, she said that Trump had “reversed Chamberlain’s policy of capitulation” and demonstrated to the rest of the world that “Israel is running the show here.”
Chamberlain was the British prime minister who famously ceded Czechoslovakia to Hitler in an epic act of appeasement, and famously came home to wave his agreement with the German dictator in the air and say that he had secured “peace for our time.” If you need any further elucidation as to how that ended, I encourage you to read a book.
It may seem a bit severe to lump other American presidents and the whole of Europe in with the likes of Chamberlain, but the comparison isn’t totally an inapt one.
We live in a time when we are pretending that the most extreme anti-Semitic elements in world politics today — the ayatollah-run Iranian regime and a Palestinian Authority which is partially run by terror group Hamas — should actually be considered trustworthy players upon the global stage whose grievances against Israel ought to be viewed as legitimate.
For instance, let’s look at a bit of reporting on the unrest in Gaza. The New York Times alleged at the top of one of its stories that 2,700 people were injured on Monday alone, including 1,350 from gunfire.
It wasn’t until well down in the story that they admitted these figures came from the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry, a department controlled by Hamas. That alone should have cast serious doubt on the story, particularly given video evidence collected by IDF at past protests that showed “injured” people on stretchers getting up after they thought the cameras had stopped rolling.
Furthermore, let’s take the opening sentence of The Times’ David M. Halberfinger’s report from the scene, where 58 people were allegedly killed: “Across the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, loudspeakers on minarets urged Palestinians to rush the fence bordering Israel, where they were met by army snipers.”
This is a Hamas-led Gazan government that encourages its people to besiege an armed fence knowing there’s a high likelihood they may injured or killed in violent protests, during which Israeli officials said that “(s)ome in the crowds were planting or hurling explosives … and many were flying flaming kites into Israel.”
Does this sound like a government the world ought to be dealing with? Does this sound like a group that can be a legitimate participant at peace talks?
Of course not. The very act of letting them sit down at the table while they still suborned behavior like this would be a capitulation to the most base sort of anti-Semitic thuggery.
And yet, that’s the same thuggery we’re supposed to appease by not moving the embassy to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.
If the rest of the world and the media wants to go all Chamberlain on this, that’s fine. We’ll be more than happy to be the Churchill in this situation.
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