To quote Menachem Begin, “Sometimes the obvious needs to be said.”
That’s the initial reaction to President Trump’s courageous and long-awaited announcement that the United States, after seventy years of indecision, has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Well, of course, it is, and has been since King David designated it as such more than 3000 years ago. Even more, it has been so since G-d decreed that Jerusalem would be the world center of the divine presence and implanted the Jewish people there to safeguard the city and proclaim His word to mankind.
All credit goes to President Trump for overcoming the naysayers in his administration and across the world, fulfilling a campaign promise (something that still shocks the average American) and acknowledging that the declaration “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel” is not just an applause line at a generation of AIPAC conferences. Seventy years of vacillation is a long time. It means that if Choni the Circle Drawer (see Masechet Taanit 23a) had fallen asleep in 1948 with part of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty but with the United States renouncing Israel’s declaration of Jerusalem as its capital so as not to pre-judge final status negotiations, and awakened today with all of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and the US still rejecting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in order so as not to pre-judge final status negotiations, no one would blame him for wanting to take a sleeping pill and crawling back under his blanket. Nothing would have changed in seventy years, especially the empty rhetoric of diplomats.
So, who would oppose such an obvious iteration of reality? Who would mourn such an historic recognition of Jewish rights to Jerusalem? It seems like almost everybody. Almost.
They fall into several groups. First, those who make a living from fostering a “peace process” that by definition can never end, no matter the facts on the ground and the reality Above. These are the people who supported the catastrophic Oslo surrenders, the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif and the facilitation of the Iranian nuclear program. They include people who deny Jewish destiny in the land of Israel and would prefer the State of Israel not exist, although it is still considered impolitic (except on college campuses) to state that publicly. They include diplomats from across the world, and most of the pointy heads in Foggy Bottom, who find Israel to be, at least, an international nuisance, and so routinely castigate Israel at the United Nations and global conferences. For them, Israel’s right to exist is always tenuous, and they have determined that Israel should remain the only country on the planet denied the right to designate its capital city. They include the radical Arab world that will never recognize Israel’s existence except as a means to weaken it and then destroy it.
To them, America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has “destroyed the peace process,” which is a lot like saying the NY Giant’s restoration of Eli Manning as starting quarterback has “destroyed” my chances of leading the team to victory this Sunday. There is no “process” and there is no “peace.” If anything, acknowledgment of Jerusalem’s true status shatters some radical Arab fantasies that Israel’s existence is temporary and tentative, that the Jewish presence there will just slowly wither away. If anything, it pours cold water on some Arab dreams and is a wake-up call to Israel’s detractors as to the direction in which history is moving.
The second group consists of those who fear Arab violence in the wake of this decision. These well-meaning people are often inclined to give Arabs a pass for lack of self-control, thereby rationalizing and fomenting such violence. But “three days of rage” have really been “three generations of rage,” if not more, and succumbing to such blackmail is as understandable as it is pathetic. “The eternal people are not afraid of the long road,” as the song goes, and the voices who fear this decision because of the potential consequences would similarly have opposed (and like-minded people did oppose) the declaration of statehood in 1948. A proud, free nation asserts its just rights and privileges, and especially when those rights and privileges are rooted in the Torah, the Prophets and G-d’s eternal promises to His people. A nation of slaves, exiles and dependents lives in fear of the present and future. “Mi she’maamin lo mefached: those who believe are never scared.”
The third group is composed of leftist Jews who have abandoned their connection to Jewish destiny. The dogmas of the left have captured them and any action that strengthens Jewish destiny and our possession of the land of Israel is anathema to them. They have forgotten Jerusalem, their right hand has lost its cunning, their tongues cleave to their palates because they have not lifted Jerusalem above all their delights, especially the joy of hobnobbing with the rich and famous, the donors who sustain their organizations. They have sold their souls for the porridge of the acclaim that is garnered by Jews who turn on their own people, which is not to say that they are not sincere in their misguided beliefs.
The final group? The Trump haters who assume he can do no good and who will long resent that he was the president who recognized Jerusalem, rather than his predecessors (Clinton, Bush and Obama) who promised to do the same but never did. Once you posit that someone can never do anything good, then, by definition, anything done is not good.
To be sure, statements of the obvious are obvious but that does not mean they are not welcome and appreciated – nor do they mean that they come without a diplomatic price or at least a request for one. The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should not produce any demands for good-will gestures or concessions on Israel’s part, which will certainly be the approach of the old hands at State who must be railing against this decision. It should not be used to revive empty negotiations that are only designed to weaken Israel and not be construed as a means to resuscitate the two-state illusion, the Holy Grail of peace processors. Indeed, even President Trump announced his support for two states, “if agreed to by both sides,” which is quite an “if” and thus should not be construed as an endorsement of that chimera.
The decision should stand by itself, as “our feet stood firm at the gates of Jerusalem” (Tehillim 122:2). It should be perceived as a reaffirmation of the victory of Chanukah, which, after all, celebrated the liberation by Jews from the Hellenists of the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple that radical Arabs and haters of Israel today (including Arafat and his followers, and UNESCO and their fellow travelers) deny ever had any connection to the Jewish people. That, alone, is an arrow in the eye of Satan.
Those who deem restatements of the obvious are unnecessary most likely do not pray every day or express their love for spouses, parents and children. Those, too, are obvious sentiments, but the sensible and sensitive individual knows that uttering things that we know are true is good for us and good for the listeners. It sets the record straight, and here it attempts to correct an historical absurdity, not to mention an historic injustice. The recognition is even more important than the location of the embassy for it recognizes what is natural and right, and everything else follows from that. It is a proclamation that rivals that of Harry Truman in 1948. With much of the world and the US State Department vehemently opposed to Israel’s declaration of independence (the revered George Marshall threatened to quit if Truman acted and even to vote against him that November), Truman announced that he would recognize the nascent state of Israel.
History eventually came around, more or less, as it will to this announcement. Gratitude is in order. If people clamor for something for years, and then finally are granted their wish, it behooves them to show a little gratitude to the President who kept his word, remained resolute despite the pressures, and who changed the direction of history.
This is a joyous day. The decision should be embraced by all those who love Jerusalem and Israel, and may they be rewarded with the fulfillment of the prophetic vision: “Seek the peace of Jerusalem, those who love it shall find serenity” (Tehillim 122:6).
The real racism lies in treating Arabs who threaten “Days of Rage” or any other type of violence as nothing more than “forces of nature.” We don’t negotiate with or try to mollify hurricanes or earthquakes. We seek to protect ourselves from them. Conservatives view Arabs as human beings who are responsible and accountable for their behavior. In fact, according to some eye witnesses on the ground, the “Days of Rage” activists are small in number. The size of their crowds has been exaggerated by media outlets with a vested interest in their importance. In any case, President Trump has given the Palestinians and their supporters a challenge. We will see how they meet it. Job well done, Rabbi.
Not only did President Trump keep his campaign promise, but, he also sent a strong message to the North Koreans – that what he says he will do ., , , he does, indeed, follow through. So, if he says North Korea will never be allowed to deliver a nuclear armed missile to the United States . . . he means it, That was also a very blunt warning to China. And Iran will, undoubtedly, take notice of this action, as well. Israel has a steadfast friend in President Trump and he just forcefully announced that fact to the rest of the World.
Expert chess players know that it is not enough to make good moves; each move must be made at the correct time, or it is not really a good move.
Maybe I am wrong about this, but I view USA President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a good move, that was made at a bad time.
I say “bad time” because in recent years, Israel is made significant progress in relations with its Arab neighbors, even if only secretly. Donald Trump’s sudden move severely endangers this progress.
I say “bad time” because in recent years, hundreds of Arab Muslims made significant progress in viewing Israel and Jews as decent people, not as monsters. Donald Trump’s sudden move severely endangers this progress.
Another reason why I say “bad time” is because the USA acted alone in its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Ideally, the USA should have recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as part of a coalition of a dozen nations that all recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, all dozen nations at the same time.
My greatest concern with the timing of Donald Trump’s sudden move is that right now, the Arabs are united against Iran. My fear is that Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could unite the Arabs with Iran, all against Israel, G_d forbid.
Why Israel’s 1967 Borders are Undefendable:
How intermarriage harms Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel:
How Shabbat-desecration harms Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem:
Why Pray for Tzahal-IDF:
How to Pray for Tzahal-IDF:
Ancient Roman historians connected Jews with the Land of Israel:
How Torah Can Defeat Terrorism:
(based on the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov ZYA)
The fact that you have to state the obvious truth, and remind us that we are a bunch of unthinking boobs is depressing to me….Go with God!!