Monday, December 11, 2017

NYT Columnist Bret Stephens Tries (And Fails) to Justify Jerusalem Move

Stupid, Incoherent and Ignorant

This Forum has strongly criticized the apparently political move by Trumpie to move the U. S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as the capital of Israel. The basis of the criticism is that there was no benefit, just all cost. So we were excited when a conservative, Bret Stephens, said he would tell us why this was justified. Turns out he did not say much.

Well first of all there is this.

Would Jews be allowed to visit Jewish sites, and would those sites be respected, if the city were redivided? Doubtful, considering Palestinian attacks on such sites, which is one of the reasons why it shouldn’t be.

Uh, Jews can for the last 40 years visit the holy sites in the city without recognition it is the capital by the U. S. So that argument is bogus.

The next argument is that any effort by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would set the proverbial Arab street on fire and perhaps lead to another intifada.

But this misapprehends the nature of the street, which has typically been a propaganda tool of Arab leaders to channel domestic discontent and manipulate foreign opinion. 

Uh, yes. The Arab rebels who don't want peace can use the issue to rally the masses. That is why it was not a good idea to hand them this tool, which the tool did.

Finally there’s the view that recognition is like giving your college freshman a graduation gift: a premature reward for an Israeli government that hasn’t yet done what’s needed to make a Palestinian state possible.

But this also gets a few things wrong. It will have no effect on whether or how a Palestinian state comes into being, whatever the current histrionics in Ramallah. And it’s not much of a bargaining chip, since most Israelis couldn’t care less where the embassy is ultimately located.

So if most Israeli's don't care why do it? No answer from Stephens.

It belatedly aligns American words with deeds. It aligns word as well as deed with reality. And it aligns the United States with the country toward which we are constantly professing friendship even as we have spent seven decades stinting it of the most basic form of recognition.

Anybody understand that, anybody? Look the U. S. Congress gave the President the ability to defer moving the embassy because it recognized it might not be a good move to generate a peaceful solution in the Middle East. And Republican and Democratic Presidents and the State Department realized that was the case until an ignorant buffoon ignored reality and did something only to rally his political base. That Stephens cannot find a good rationale only reinforces the idiocy of the policy.

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