Column: Why President Trump is right to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
BY: Matthew Continetti
December 6, 2017 1:18 pm
Not only is President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy there one of the boldest moves of his presidency. It is one of the boldest moves any U.S. president has made since the beginning of the Oslo “peace process” in 1993. That process collapsed at Camp David in 2000 when Yasir Arafat rejected President Clinton’s offer of a Palestinian state. And the process has been moribund ever since, despite multiple attempts to restart it.
不仅总统川普决定承认耶路撒冷是以色列首都，还有开始将美国大使馆搬到那儿，都是他总统任期内最大胆的行动之一。自从1993年奥斯陆和平进程开始以来，这是历任总统做出的最大胆的举动。那个和平进程2000年在Camp David 垮了，当时Yasir Arafat 拒绝了克林顿总统提出的巴勒斯坦国。从那以后，那个和平进程一直垂死挣扎，尽管多次试图恢复它。
That is why the warnings from Trump critics that his decision may wreck the peace process ring hollow. There is no peace process to wreck. The conflict is frozen. And the largest barriers to the resumption of negotiations are found not in U.S. or Israeli policy but in Palestinian autocracy, corruption, and incitement. Have the former Obama administration officials decrying Trump’s announcement read a newspaper lately? From listening to them, you’d think it would be all roses and ponies in the Middle East but for Trump. In fact, the region is engulfed in war, terrorism, poverty, and despotism; Israel faces threats in the north and south; its sworn enemy, Iran, is growing in influence and reach; and the delegitimization of the Jewish State proceeds apace in international organizations and on college campuses. I forget how the Obama administration advanced the cause of peace by pressuring Israel while rewarding the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Maybe someone will remind me.
One of the reasons the Middle East persists in its decrepit condition is that it has been, for decades, a playground of magical thinking. Whether it is believing that poverty is the cause of terrorism or that the Ayatollah Khamenei is a good-faith partner, whether it is imagining that Assad will go just because we tell him to or that ISIS is akin to a terrorist “JV team,” liberal internationalists have all too eagerly accepted an alternative picture of the Middle East that is much more flattering than the actuality. A similar form of doublethink is present in our discussions over Jerusalem. Every Israeli knows Jerusalem was, is, and will remain his capital. Every recent president has agreed with him. And the U.S. consensus has been bipartisan. The last four Democratic platforms have said the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. The Senate voted 90-0 only six months ago urging the embassy be moved to the ancient city. Were we to take seriously neither these platforms nor that vote? Was it all virtue-signaling, a bunch of empty gestures in the kabuki theater of U.S. diplomacy?
中东持续衰败的一个原因是几十年来中东一直是一个奇思妙想之地。据信贫穷四恐怖主义的原因，或者Ayatollah Khamenei是好信仰的合作方， 因为我们让他消失就认为Assad会消失， 或者ISIS是类似JV团伙的恐怖主义者，自由的国际主义者都热切接受所有这些取代了真实情况的献媚之词。我们讨论耶路撒冷时呈现类似形式的双面思想。每一个以色列人知道耶路撒冷以前是现在是将来作为首都。每一个近来的总统也都同意。这是两党的美国共识。最近四任民主党的主席台上说的很明确：耶路撒冷是以色列的首都。6个月以前参议院投票以90:0敦促大使馆搬到老城。我们拿着主席台上的话和投票都不当回事吗？这是美国外交的歌舞伎剧院里的美德信号和一堆落空的手势吗？
It is a sign of the disingenuousness of American foreign policy that it required someone from outside this system to behave as if words have meaning. President Trump has no background in or admiration for the routines, manners, and norms of the U.S. foreign service, especially that part of it which specializes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This has enabled him to state unequivocally the fact others would prefer to avoid: Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, full stop. His transactional nature also brought him to this fateful recognition. In March 2016, at the AIPAC policy conference, he pledged that “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.” His remarks today make clear his intention to fulfill that promise and to cement his support within the pro-Israel community.
I wonder about the journalists and flacks and politicians criticizing this literal reading of U.S. law as “disruptive.” Have they not paid attention to this man? Donald Trump’s purpose in office is to disrupt if not overturn the patterns of governance and ideological consensus that have dominated the U.S. capital for decades. In this sense his Jerusalem policy is his presidency in microcosm. He is acting on a common sense appraisal of the world and satisfying the wishes of his supporters without regard to global or domestic elite opinion. What Trump knows more than the art of the deal is the art of the bluff—and how to call one. By keeping his campaign promise today, he has called the bluff of everyone who thought the United States could have its cake and eat it too on the question of Israel’s capital. And by moving our embassy to Jerusalem, the United States will acknowledge Israel’s right to determine its own capital city. That is not something to condemn or fear. It is something to be proud of.