President Trump’s decision to formally recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and to announce plans to move America’s embassy to the seat of Israel’s government is one of the best, most moral, and important decisions of his young administration. On this issue, he is demonstrating greater resolve than Republican and Democratic presidents before him, and he is defying some of the worst people in the world.
Think I’m overstating this? Think I’m too enthusiastic about an isolated diplomatic maneuver — especially when that maneuver, to quote the New York Times, “isolates the U.S.” and “has drawn a storm of criticism from Arab and European leaders”? Let’s consider some law, history, and context.
Yet the international community condemns America for recognizing reality, for treating Israel the way the world treats every other nation. Why?
From the birth of the modern nation-state of Israel, an unholy mixture of anti-Semites and eliminationists have both sought to drive the Jewish people into the sea and — when military measures failed — isolate the Jewish nation diplomatically, militarily, and culturally. Working through the U.N. and enabled by Soviet-bloc (and later) European allies, these anti-Semites and eliminationists have waged unrelenting “lawfare” against Israel. (Lawfare is the abuse of international law and legal processes to accomplish military objectives that can’t be achieved on the battlefield.)
The examples are legion. Time and again the U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N. General Assembly dedicate more resolutions to condemning Israel than the rest of the world’s nations combined. The world’s Islamic countries vote in unified lockstep against Israel, in spite of the fact that many of these countries are thousands of miles from the Middle East. They’re often motivated by vile anti-Semitic bias, and their populations are shot-through with bigotry. According to a 2013 Anti-Defamation League survey, a whopping 74 percent of North African and Middle Eastern residents registered anti-Semitic beliefs. Even 61 percent of far-away Malaysians have anti-Semitic attitudes.
The U.N., moreover, adjusted its definition of refugees for the special and sole benefit of Palestinians. Contrary to conventional international law, the U.N. treats the descendants of Palestinian war refugees as refugees themselves. Thus, incredibly, the population of Palestinian “refugees” from the 1948 and 1967 conflicts is growing. The result is a perpetual, unique, and artificial crisis, one that is designed specifically to place pressure on one nation on planet Earth: Israel.
When it comes to the scrutiny placed on the Israeli military, one hardly knows where to begin. The IDF takes greater care than any other actively engaged military in the world (including the U.S.) to avoid civilian casualties. Its routine conduct of military operations goes above and beyond the requirements of the law of armed conflict. By contrast, Israel’s terrorist opponents violate the law of armed conflict not just as a matter of course but as a matter of strategy. They target civilians on purpose. They use human shields. They hide weapons in civilian locations like mosques and hospitals. Yet when armed conflict breaks out, the anti-Semitic legions cheer Hamas and condemn the IDF.
The bottom line is that to be Israeli in the world is to face unique challenges. In international competitions, athletes will sometimes forfeit rather than compete against Israelis. Universities will impose sanctions on Israeli academics that they’ll impose on no one else. You’ll find yourself barred from entering numerous countries. And when defenders of these double standards bleat about “Israeli occupation,” remember that they don’t impose the same penalties on nations with far worse records on human rights. That, friends, is textbook anti-Semitism.
If ‘stability’ means the perpetuation of double standards, the isolation of Israel, and continued kowtowing to threats of violence, then it’s time to call the Arabs’ bluff.
If “stability” means the perpetuation of double standards, the isolation of Israel, and continued kowtowing to threats of violence, then it’s time to call the Arabs’ bluff. If the most powerful nation in the history of the world doesn’t have the moral strength to even properly recognize Israel’s capital, it gives aid and comfort to those who impose unique burdens on the Jewish state. Will America’s Arab allies — nations that depend on our alliances to confront a growing Iranian threat — forsake their own national security to protest an embassy location? It’s time to find out.
The Trump administration has made the right move. Now let’s see how the bigots respond.
— David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.