Opinion |

Israelis, Why Are You Celebrating Trump's Jerusalem Decision?

Where did our national pride go? For it’s clear that every Israeli sees Jerusalem as his capital and most Israelis can’t understand the rejoicing over a declaration of the obvious

Emilie Moatti
Emilie Moatti
The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, December 6, 2017.
The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, December 6, 2017. Credit: Jack Guez / AFP
Emilie Moatti
Emilie Moatti

U.S. President Donald Trump is playing a political trick at Israel’s expense, intended to blur the fact that the U.S. Embassy won’t actually be moved to Jerusalem and that he’ll probably demand a strategic price – regarding his peace initiative with the Palestinians – in exchange for his announcement.

This announcement serves no purpose but the possibility of distracting public opinion from what’s really important, and the hell with the cost. It’s also surprising that the right-wing Israeli leadership isn’t taking into consideration that in exchange for Trump’s declaration, settlements will be evacuated in order to implement Trump’s peace plan, as he’s a passionate supporter of a two-state solution.

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This is strange and sad. Sad that the people of a nation that raised its head after 2,000 years in exile, whose capital is Jerusalem, are waiting for the most racist American president to say the word in front of the cameras – like children waiting for a hug from a drunken father who doesn’t come home.

But why be surprised when every blogger who says something good about Israel is elevated to star status, and every diplomat (like Nikki Haley) opens news shows because she said a few things in Israel’s favor? When did we become like that?

When did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeed in his plot to turn us back into a persecuted people surrounded by enemies? When did we turn from the country with the most advanced army in the region, with the most developed research institutes, into an ethnic group waiting to be recognized? A group that celebrates the obvious? That makes do with crumbs?

Where did our national pride go? For it’s clear that every Israeli sees Jerusalem as his capital and most Israelis can’t understand the rejoicing over a declaration of the obvious.

Evidently, our right-wing leaders doesn’t really care about Jerusalem the city or Jerusalem the symbol. For them Jerusalem is a currency, leverage to pimp with. The main thing is that Trump makes the announcement, and after him the flood. It’s like the desperate expectation that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, while aside from the right-wing leadership, no Israeli cares what the Palestinians think of us.

Trump, like Netanyahu, knows what repercussions will be caused by such an announcement, which will probably not be implemented. Any State Department travel warning to Americans planning to visit Jerusalem will attest to that. If the prime minister doesn’t care about the price to his own citizens, why should Trump?

Diplomacy and diplomatic relations aren’t a Hollywood movie. The right-wing leaders’ reduction of the debate to “Israel lovers” and “Israel haters” is its greatest success during their years in power.

The affection thing has become so central that interests and long-term strategy have become irrelevant, and under the cover of love, everything is accepted. You can be a stupid racist like Marine Le Pen and buy some Israeli leaders with a mess of pottage; just bat your eyelashes a few times and they’re yours. You can be a serial sexual harasser, a racist and a liar, but if you wink at us, you’ll get a special day of broadcasts.

In fact, chances are the U.S. Embassy won’t move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv; no time table has been set and reality as we know it won’t change a whit.

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