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Trump’s ‘Recognition of Reality’

The main defense of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is that the president is merely acknowledging the obvious. As Trump said in his remarks [1] yesterday, formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.” That’s not really true, as advocates of this move have long understood. The issues at stake include Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem and the Palestinian aspiration to make East Jerusalem their capital. Giving formal recognition to one side’s claim while completely ignoring the other isn’t a “recognition” of reality, but rather a blatant effort to skew things even more in favor of the side whose claim is being endorsed.

There are many “realities” that the U.S. doesn’t formally recognize around the world. I suspect most of the enthusiasts of Trump’s decision on Jerusalem wouldn’t be interested in having him formally acknowledge the “reality” that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are no longer part of Georgia or that Crimea no longer belongs to Ukraine, and I am certain they would accuse him of the worst sort of appeasement if Trump gave official recognition to those “realities.” Those things aren’t likely to change, but it doesn’t follow from this that Washington must give them formal recognition. The U.S. doesn’t recognize these “realities” because our government doesn’t accept their legitimacy. When the U.S. confers recognition on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it lends legitimacy to an illegal occupation and denies the rights of the other party to the conflict. That isn’t a “recognition of reality,” but part of an ongoing effort to change the political landscape to ensure that no Palestinian state ever comes into being. Contra Trump, that isn’t the “right thing to do,” but another example of a one-sided policy that is now even worse.

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15 Comments To "Trump’s ‘Recognition of Reality’"

#1 Comment By Jon On December 7, 2017 @ 9:52 am

And a groundswell of dissent is emerging from the streets of Ramallah while a shadow is moving from many corners of the globe to converge around Jerusalem demanding its partition as the leitmotif for a separate peace. And that shadow percolating from the bottom but with also the tacit assent of its leadership from above will counterbalance this unilateral initiative to recognize only one side of this wide and deep divide.

Slowly but ever so slowly a vast military empire is being shunned by the world. Perhaps this unilateral action of relocating an embassy will accelerate such isolation. And perhaps there is still time for an awakening of the public to bring their leadership to account and demand a departure from the policies in place built on the blood spilled upon foreign shores in the name of blut und boden. Yet the populace slumbers ever seeking distractions, windmills, to stab their lances and watch them shatter in the impact against the stone.

#2 Comment By kevin on the left On December 7, 2017 @ 10:26 am

The one question I’d like the “America First” crowd address is: what American interest is served by this decision? What’s in it for us?

#3 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 7, 2017 @ 10:36 am

No argument here.

Laughing

Sadly.

#4 Comment By collin On December 7, 2017 @ 11:19 am

The main defense of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is that the president is merely acknowledging the obvious.

It is a poor defense because the obvious reality is Israel and Palestine are today and have been for decades a single nation. So announcing you support Jerusalem as the captial but also supporting a two state solution tells me he is stating half the obvious.

#5 Comment By Zgler On December 7, 2017 @ 2:26 pm

The Jerusalem move is a concession to Trump donors that wanted this. That’s all. Plus Jared and his family probably like it.

#6 Comment By Chris Fisher On December 7, 2017 @ 3:28 pm

There never will be a Palestinian state.

I suspect that the hardliners in the Israeli government will use the riots now or some future reason to turn Gaza into the next Yemen.

And on the other side of the country, continue to support settlements and the theft of land, and turn a blind eye to settler initiated violence until the areas are cleansed.

#7 Comment By Jon K On December 7, 2017 @ 4:46 pm

Daniel – Curious to know your thoughts on this Marc Lynch piece: [2]

Lynch’s explanation seems plausible, even likely, and I guess we should have known that it’s Iran hard-liners who are animating Trump’s actions.

#8 Comment By neighbor beggarers On December 7, 2017 @ 5:04 pm

@Chris Fisher – “I suspect that the hardliners in the Israeli government will use the riots now or some future reason to turn Gaza into the next Yemen.

… and I can remember when Yemen was still the next Gaza.

Truly, the Saudis and Israelis are brothers under the skin. Which doesn’t bode well for the Palestinians.

#9 Comment By GregR On December 7, 2017 @ 5:43 pm

I really have to wonder if this won’t cause OPEC to start accepting oil sales in denominations other than USD. It would be devastating to the US economic hegemony, and it isn’t like the US is going to stop selling them weapons (the original incentive for all oil sales to be held in USD).

#10 Comment By Leslie Jacobs On December 8, 2017 @ 2:41 am

I guarantee you that any America who goes to Manger Square in Bethlehem this Christmas Eve will become an intensely committed Palestinian supporter. The rudeness of the Israelis there was unbearable back in 1979, but by now it must be even worse. It would be good this Christmas for pastors across America to explain to their congregations that the Maji, the Wise Men who came to worship Jesus, were Zoroastrian scholars from Iran.

#11 Comment By PAX On December 8, 2017 @ 5:02 pm

Just further discounted our influence and put our military at risk to defend this indefensible decision. No worries the Trumps and Kushners will not be on the front lines.

#12 Comment By straight outta nyc On December 8, 2017 @ 6:34 pm

Well, Mr. Trump, the “reality” as of today is that Muslims all over the world are demonstrating and rioting, and eventually some innocent American is going to pay the price of your corrupt deal with the Israel money boys.

I voted for you. I never really trusted you, but I also never thought you’d spit on real Americans like you’re doing.

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 10, 2017 @ 11:59 am

“I voted for you. I never really trusted you, but I also never thought you’d spit on real Americans like you’re doing.”

I remain hopeful. It is early in the admin – yet.

#14 Comment By Cynthia McLean On December 11, 2017 @ 3:17 pm

Reality:

1) Illegal Jewish Settlements have eaten up most of Palestinians’ aspired to state.
2) The US has never been an honest broker, vetoing near all UN criticisms of this Settlement activity; as far back as Clinton promising to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, on a bi-partisan basis; and supplying Israel with billions$$ in “aid” that translates into US weapon sales.
3) A one state outcome is the only possible — just — reality, with equal rights for all.k
4) Israel cannot simultaneously be a Jewish state and a Democracy.

#15 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 12, 2017 @ 12:55 pm

“3) A one state outcome is the only possible — just — reality, with equal rights for all.k
4) Israel cannot simultaneously be a Jewish state and a Democracy.”

on one state:
Hmmmm . . . I am not sure that is entirely accurate. It depends on what the Palestinians are willing to give in exchange for something else.
I don’t know how Israel can turn around her history to grant equal status to others living in Israel proper — including christians. That would be a sizable hurdle for most Jews.

on Jewish statehood

Absolutely correct — spot on.