T Nation

JB (and Others): Jerusalem


If there is one thing I hate; it’s my own ignorance…so this is why I started this thread.

My first instinct was to think that by pushing the recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel; Trump was merely throwing chum at the Base while pissing off as many Muslims as he could…but then Netenyahu chimes in…and of course, Palestinians, and Muslims, and Christians…

Some are ecstatic…some are angry…

What is your (and others) take?

Is the official recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel by the US “good”, “bad” or “indifferent” (I would imagine unlikely) for Israel?

Is it “good” or “bad” timing?

While Israeli politics is often more contentious than that in the U.S…what does the “average” Israeli think? (If there is such thing).

What do you think the short and long term implications are with this recognition?

What do you think Trump’s “real” motivation was?

I would go with your instincts. With Trump it’s always Occam’s Razor.

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Trump’s move is spectacularly retarded for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to the with the status of Jerusalem itself.

First of all, US foreign policy under Trump is supposedly dedicated to building a grand Sunni led coalition against Iran, with Israel unofficially joining and overcoming…let’s just say differences with the Saudis in the interest of reining in the Shiites.

Great. Now, the Arab world is completely engrossed in an open Shia/Sunni war in Yemen, Syria and Iraq (with a cold war in Lebanon) with both branches of Islam at each other’s throats both literally and figuratively. Things have escalated so far that “infidel heretics” (depending on the side) have supplanted “US” and “Zionists” as the first go-to archetypal villain (they come third and second respectively for the time being) in the diatribes of preachers, muftis and mullahs.

Now, is there something one could do to draw attention of the Arabs from their bloody sectarian conflict with the Shiites and provide a hypocritical talking point for the radical demagogues?

It’s the instinct of a TV personality who only understands ratings - "Hey guys, you’ve been killing each other so much that you’ve forgotten that in your diatribes we’re the main bad guys! Woohoo, look what I’ve done! And to think that you’ve completely forgotten about the Palestinians and sidelined the “evil America” schtick!

Oh, and if anyone is wondering, the mullahs in Iran are absolutely delighted. Notice how they still haven’t officially protested? They’re loving this because it’s drawing Sunni attention from them and boosting Assad’s and Hezbollah credentials as the only two terror groups nominally fighting Israel, making it difficult to dislodge them.


Interesting his announcement happened the same day his son was testifying before the HIC.

It would help even if I had a hint as to what Trump wished to accomplish by this move.

What is the “Goal” or the “End-Game” here?

(It’s times like this that I really miss the discussions on “Charlie Rose”).

I think it’s simpler than that. Jerusalem IS the capital of Israel. Trump is cutting state department staff. Someone probably brought it to his attention that the embassy is in Tel Aviv (where the embassy staff have been trying to “solve” the Israel/Palestinian violence for 70 years). Most embassies are in capitals yes?

Wouldn’t it take 5+ years to build a giant embassy anyhow? Its just more Trump shit talk. Do they even have a place to build it?

Depends on how big the wall around it is.


Wasn’t there a bill passed in 1995 that said we were going to move the embassy to Jerusalem?

This is why I like you … you’re very nuanced :wink:

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Yes, but all administrations since then have sensibly dragged their feet over this, citing security concerns for US consular staff in ME and Africa as well US civilians and even US troops in the region.

It seems that the party of “Benghazi” doesn’t care about these security concerns…

Besides strengthening Iran, thanks to his speech Trump managed to destroy Abbas and Fatah in a few minutes, thus making the Hamas and Hezbollah only players in the Lebanon/Palestine game.

Super smart.


I’m with loppar on this one.

Spectacularly awful timing at the least.

As for the actual announcement, I am a fan of acknowledging reality so it’s hard to fault him on the face of it, but geopolitics is about image and perception more than anything else INCLUDING actual reality so…bad move.

I personally think this announcement was way overdue, but like I said it is a terrible move from the standpoint of perception–both in terms of timing re: testimony of son and also infighting among islamists.

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Lots of questions, here, but the easiest ones first: in general (as noted, the political spectrum in Israel is very diverse and vociferous, so it’s easy to find exceptions) the Israeli populace considers this a good thing, long delayed for what are seen as silly or unfair reasons.

First off, Jerusalem IS Israel’s capital. Ignoring the very long history of being our capital just to avoid the history lesson, the entire apparatus of Israel’s government is in Jerusalem --prime minister’s office, the bureaucracy and all that comes with the executive branch, Knesset (i.e., our Congress), the supreme court, etc. Everything is there, and has been since ~1949. This is not a new thing.

Every other country in the world picks its capital; it’s logical, and no one cares. Except with Israel.

Well, why the double standard?, we ask.

The reason is, of course, is the separatist Arabs in the PA (to be distinguished from the Israeli Arabs in Israel and Arabs in Jordan and Egypt) not only want Jerusalem to be their capital – but they want Jerusalem to be EXCLUSIVELY their capital. No Jews allowed.

The official Israeli position is we are happy to share (again, there are plenty of divisive voices on this end, too).

Now, the position that Jews-can’t-live-in-Jerusalem is pretty silly.

And the PA’s claim that they want Jerusalem to be their capital is really not practical, in that the PA’s seat of government is in Ramallah (a historically Christian city until it was ethnically “cleansed” of troublesome Christians, which is another dispute), but, hey if they want to move their entire apparatus of government to Jerusalem, so be it.

Most importantly, it is common knowledge that the separatist Arabs don’t give a crap about this. They don’t want to give up a bargaining chip. (And they don’t like Jews, so anything that they can do to cause grief is good.)

In short, it’s like a 1970’s style business negotiation (taught in business school) where a side throws up a bunch of meaningless roadblocks to get what they really want, in order to trade away stuff they don’t care about and keep what they care about. This was one of the meaningless chips.

So, Trump (who also read those 1970s business books) knocked off a silly chip off the bargaining table to knock things off center.

The don’t-upset-the-Arabs approach hasn’t worked since 1949, so he’ll upset them. So they riot. If it’s Tuesday, they riot.

Regarding the practicalities, I believe Israel gave the USA the land and the USA built a “consulate” that is bigger than the “embassy” in Tel Aviv, so, while there will be much porting of computers and moving of CIA agents, and the US Ambassador (who already spends most of his time in Jerusalem given the government is there) gets a new plaque on the wall.

It’s just not that big of a deal, logistically.

It’s a big symbolic move for Israel that the nations of the world stop holding us to a double standard, especially one so silly.


Question… My cousins live in Tel Aviv and some in Jerusalem. As I understand it there’s not a lot of real estate for sale in Jerusalem and the facility in Tel Aviv is working just fine and is pretty modern. Is it really something that would happen and where would they put it? Seems like a giant waste of money since the current one is operational… Also what would they do with old one?

Depends on where you are in J-town. Old City, yeah, it’s tight. Suburbs, not so much.

The current consulate may get some growth, but for everything but things like student visas, it’s already at the consulate – again, because the US ambassador is there to talk with our government, which is in Jerusalem.

I could literally make about 80% move by going to Thing Remembered and getting a new wall plaque.

I’m sure the stuff average Israelis deal with (e.g., student visas) will stay in Tel Aviv simply because it’s bigger. Same reason there are giant consulates of other countries in NYC.

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I disagree. The “peace process” was going nowhere anyway. Further we need not give into the ‘bigotry of low expectations’ in that ‘oh this may cause Palestinian violence’. Anything Israel deems good is a cause for Palestinian violence. We cannot and the people of Israel certainly cannot be guided in their lives by what may piss of the Palestinians. They are mouth open, blood thirsty for war anyway.
If the Palestinians cannot accept the terms of ‘recognizing Israels right to exist’ and ‘do no violence’, nothing short of razing Israel and drumming all the Jews out of the middle east will satisfy them.

At this point, I say Israel annex the occupied territories, deport Hammas to anywhere else, grant citizenship to the people who like it and a bus ticket to those who don’t.
Either that or leave the occupied territories.

Fear of Palestinian violence is a non-issue, because they are always violent. They shoot rockets into Israel because they have rockets.

It’s been on the docket for decades. The situation was going no where anyway and Jerusalem is the real capitol. Sooo, why not?
Niether the U.S. or Israel should base their decisions on whether or not it might piss off the Palestinians. They don’t even recognize Israel’s right to exist, so they do not need to be consulted.
Now, if they offered a real peace initiative based on not moving the embassy, then maybe it would be worth considering. But since they think all Jews, men, women and children deserve to and need to die, I am not bothered that they are bothered.

Palestinians are not the problem. Well, they are the problem but they’re fucked and there’s nothing they can do about it except continue multiplying in their two ghettos and get slowly pushed out of East Jerusalem.

They are the epitome of “poor life choices” - a nation (some may dispute this) that’s been on a hundred year long losing streak. Played their hand in 1948 and lost. Played bad hands with the fedayeen and later by trying to overthrow King Hussein in Jordan and Arafat’s support of Saddam. Sure, they’ve won the hearts and minds of totalitarian leftists on college campuses, but does that matter?

But seriously, do you believe that “blood thirsty Palestinians” in overcrowded Gaza or the West Bank present an existential threat to the State of Israel? They emphatically do not. If they couldn’t win in 1948 they sure as hell cannot win now, Hamas terror campaigns notwithstanding.

Up north - well, that’s another matter. Thanks to the past and current brilliance of US foreign policy, IRGC is at Israel’s northern border with a land bridge to Iran, protected by Russian AA systems.

And Trump’s “logical” decision further strengthened their hand, both by providing them much needed Islam-wide credentials after three years of proxy Shia/Sunni wars and a PR boon.

That’s the real danger, not angry Palestinians rioting.

Would the extra space in Tel Aviv just convert to Israel. Office space of some kind or go private you think? I guess its good for economy it will be Israeli construction right?