Te Deum laudámus. Praise be to God. Donald Trump, in his capacity as president of the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Candidate Trump had of course promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but so had candidate Bush before him, and so had candidate Clinton before him. In 1995 congress passed a law to that affect. Hitherto, a waiver embodied within the law was routinely exercised, rendering the law a dead-letter.
The GOP 2016 platform states that it will, “recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law.” The GOP 2012 platform envisioned, “ Israel with Jerusalem as its capital”. The GOP 2008 platform decided that, “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.” The GOP 2004 platform declared, “Republicans continue to support moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.” The GOP 2000 platform says, “The United States has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its Embassy and Ambassador in Jerusalem. Immediately upon taking office, the next Republican president will begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.” The GOP 1996 platform decided that, “A Republican administration will ensure that the U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem by May 1999.” The GOP platform of 1992, 1988, 1984, and 1980 all have the same exact line, “We believe that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city”. The 1976 platform only focuses on Israel; no mention is made of Jerusalem.
If all these repetitive platitudes are making your eyes role in boredom, then you have learnt the appropriate lesson. It was never about actually doing anything. It was always about pro-forma declarations. Words on paper. The sorts of paper, in fact, that nobody checks after the convention anyway. For decades the lethargic bipartisan bureaucracy in Washington could rest easy, secure in the knowledge that no will actually do anything that will change the status quo.
Trump actually did it. It’s done. What is more, there is no going back to the status-quo ante. Neither the next president nor the next congress will be able to change the substance of what took place, even if they should be so inclined.
Here is what I wrote on Dec 12, 2016, “It’s clear that a Trump presidency will be, on the whole, markedly warmer to Israel than the previous administration.” From the same article: “[Trump should] Move America’s embassy to Jerusalem, at long last. Every Republican in recent memory, including our soon to be President Trump, has promised this. Time to do it. No major country suffers the indignity of not having its capital city recognized as such by the serious players of the world, and neither should Israel. There have been Jews dwelling in Jerusalem, almost without break, for three millennia. Jerusalem was Israel’s capital before there was a Washington D.C., before there was a Berlin, before there was a London, and, most probably, before there was a Rome. It’s time to give it it’s fair due.”
Some 250 rabbis wrote a letter to Donald Trump regarding his decision. They quote Joshua 1:9, “Did I not command you, be strong and have courage, do not fear and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Right now, Trump has earned that. Of course, Trump may in the future do this or that action which will be injurious to the Jews. He should bear in mind Zechariah 14:16-17, “Then all who survive of the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the festival of booths. If any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain upon them.” That can scarcely be anything clearer. But for now, we must recognized the great thing that Trump has done—he touched upon the summum bonum. The future of the Jewish people is wide open. We can be assured by the words of Zechariah 14:11 “And it shall be inhabited, for never again shall it be doomed to destruction; Jerusalem shall abide in security.”