On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States officially recognized the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Noting that “Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries…. we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.”
It is indeed a plain reality.
And it is also a reality that pains many Arab and Muslim nations. Therefore, some people and nations that have sympathy for those angry parties have continued to deny reality. They have tried to isolate Israel. To deny the Jewish State the air of normalcy.
This is not new.
But true leaders through the decades since Israel’s founding distanced themselves from the angry Arab and Muslim mob, and placed reality and decency first.
- Country (1948): In 1948, US President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel, even while Arab nations went to war to destroy the nascent country. To this day, many of those angry Arab and Muslim nations still refuse to acknowledge the existence of Israel.
- Borders (1949): In 1949, at the end of Israel’s War of Independence, the US and many nations recognized Israel’s expanded borders beyond those outlined in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, even when the Arab countries refused to recognize them.
- Citizenship (1954): In 1954, the world recognized the importance of citizenship by awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in dealing with the millions of refugees from Europe after World War II and the Middle East. Many of those refugees were Jews that survived the Holocaust and others expelled from nearly a dozen Arab countries. Meanwhile, in that same year, the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, that had expelled all of the Jews from eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, specifically excluded Jews from getting citizenship.
- Peace (1948, 1967): The world recognized the importance of settling disputes in a peaceful manner through negotiations, as enshrined in UN Charter (1945) Article 2, but Syria, Egypt and Jordan went to war against Israel again in 1967. After the Arabs lost, the entire Arab world implemented the Khartoum resolution: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.
- Freedom of Movement (1968 to today): Civilized nations recognize that people should be allowed to travel by airplane freely. Unfortunately, Palestinians upset with Israel, began hijacking planes in 1968 and through the 1970s, including the infamous 1976 Entebbe hijacking. Angry Arab countries continue to deny the basic rights of movement to Israelis, such as the November 2017 ruling that Kuwait Airlines refuses to transport Israelis.
- Athletes (1972 to today): The world recognizes and appreciates the camaraderie and competition of international sports. However, angry Palestinian Arabs murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Arab countries today continue to refuse to compete against Israelis, show the Israeli flags or play the Israeli national anthem at competitions.
- Self-Determination (1975 – 1991): US Ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynihan recognized that Zionism is a natural movement for self-determination like all nations display. However, the Arab and Muslim nations put forward UN Resolution 3379 equating Zionism as a form of racism. It would not be repealed until 1991. Arab leaders continue to call Zionism a form of colonialism.
- Rights to Holy Places (1949-1967; 1980 / 2000): Israel recognized the importance of freedom of access to the holy places of Jerusalem and enshrined such commitment into law, the exact opposite of how Arabs governed the Temple Mount under Jordanians from 1949-1967 when they denied Jews any access to the Old City of Jerusalem. When Ariel Sharon visited Judaism’s holiest site in 2000, the Palestinian Authority launched a multi-year “Intifada” killing thousands.
- Terrorism (1997, 2006): The US labeled Hamas and several other Palestinian groups as foreign terrorist organizations, in recognizing their incitement and acts of terror against Israeli civilians. Meanwhile, Palestinians happily support these terrorist organizations, and elected Hamas to 58% of the parliament in 2006.
- Land Purchases (2010): The US instituted the Fair Housing Act of 1968 which recognized the importance of allowing all people to buy homes without any discrimination. In 2010, the Palestinian Authority affirmed the death penalty for any Arab that sells land to a Jew, quite an inversion of international law of 1922 that “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.“
- Defense (2008, 2012, 2014): The United States recognized that Israel had a right to defend itself against the incoming rockets from Hamas in Gaza. However, the Muslim and Arab world was appalled at Israel’s actions and wanted Hamas to defeat Israel. Allies of the Arabs wanted Israel to be investigated for war crimes.
- History (2009, 2015-): The United States and some western countries recognize the 3000-year history of Jews in Jerusalem. However, Arab and Muslim nations put forward resolutions at the United Nations which denied the history of Jews in Jerusalem and condemned Israel for “Judaizing” Judaism’s holiest city.
- Capital (2017): US President Donald Trump recognized that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, while Arab countries refused to entertain the idea and threatened “days of rage.”
What’s next? Will Arab and Muslim states push forward the notion that today’s Jews have nothing to do with the children of Israel in the Bible? Will they say that Jews are not human beings but “sons of apes and pigs?” Will they advance a notion that the Jewish Temple never existed or that it was not located in Jerusalem? Will they contend that the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem is not the Jewish matriarch but a famous Muslim? That the Holocaust never happened? Maybe they will come up with conspiracy theories that the Israelis planned the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and that the Mossad uses sharks to attack tourists in Sinai.
Should the world recognize reality or Palestinian lies which make Arabs more comfortable? Should world opinion be framed by the Arab view of history, attitudes of decency, and perception of reality?
Many Arab countries like Syria, Lebanon and UAE refuse to recognize Israel to this day. Muslim countries like Indonesia also refuse to recognize Israel. Iran won’t even mention Israel by name.
Should the US refuse to recognize the reality of Israel because of the insane attitudes of Arab and Muslim countries?
Should the US refuse to recognize the reality of Jewish history in Israel because it offends Arab and Muslim sensibilities?
Should Israelis just shrug off the insult of not having its flag and national anthem played during sporting events in Arab countries, because they know the reality of their victory?
Or is it time to stop the insanity of ignoring reality because of the noxious antisemitism pervasive in the Arab and Muslim societies?
President Truman will be forever remembered by Zionists for his willingness to recognize the new country of Israel within minutes of its declaring independence, even as Arab nations attacked Israel with weapons. Ambassador Moynihan’s passionate speech at the United Nations decrying the “Racism is Zionism” resolution while Arab nations pounced on Israel on the international stage, remains a highlight in the dark history of the United Nations.
This week, President Trump joined those leaders and took a stand in the shadow of UN Resolution 2334 denying Israel’s rights in Jerusalem. Reality cannot be held hostage to hatred.
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