Recognizing Jerusalem Recognizes Israel

At this moment, it looks as if President Trump will sign another six-month waiver maintaining the US embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv. However, he will also formally recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

Many are predicting “the sky will fall” if the President does recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Pundits are warning of dire consequences to the move which will (1) damage critical US alliances with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, (2) weaken prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and (3) provoke violent Islamic extremist attacks on US installations throughout the world.

In essence, the arguments against the President’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital have nothing to do with the merits of the issue. Rather, the arguments are based on a feared backlash in the Arab world.

There is a crucial precedent at issue in the Jerusalem decision: Should US policy be determined by what it believes to be “right,” or should US policy be held hostage by implicit threats – be they diplomatic and/or terrorist violence.

In this particular instance, there is no inherent reason for the United States to continue to delay its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and, in the near future, to formally designate its embassy to be in Jerusalem.

Of all the countries where the United States has formal diplomatic relations, Israel is the only country in which the US does not have its capital.

It should be beyond dispute to everyone that West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Those who argue Jerusalem Is not the capital of Israel tend to be those who either refuse to accept Israel’s right to Jerusalem or deny Israel’s overall legitimacy.

By refusing to recognize Israel’s sovereign right to determine its capital city, the United States and other Western nations embolden Palestinian extremists who believe the US and the West actually support their claims that Israel is illegitimate. Failure to recognize Israel’s capital is an explicit challenge to the integrity of the Jewish State — thereby making a peace agreement more difficult to achieve and implement.

Experience has shown that diplomatic posturing does not equate with diplomatic actions. Jordan and Saudi Arabia might need to appear to be opposing a US embassy move, but the US alliance with both those countries far transcends any American decision on Jerusalem.

Nor should US policy be based on placating terrorist violence. Capitulating to terrorist blackmail has proven time and time again to be fruitless at best and disastrous at worst.

It would be outrageous for Islamic terrorists to attack US installations because the US recognizes Israel’s capital. All people of good will should affirm this unequivocally.

If President Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he will have taken a courageous step in validating the State of Israel in the eyes of the Arab world. He should be applauded for it.

About the Author
Mark S. Golub is the President and Executive Producer of America's television network, JBS, which is a PBS-style Jewish channel available on various television providers, Roku and online ( and YouTube JBSTV). Named by Newsweek magazine one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America, Mark is a graduate HUC-JIR in New York City ('72) and leads an independent chavurah in Connecticut which he founded in 1972. Mark is a graduate of Columbia College ('67) where he served as President of Seixas Menorah and as General Manager of WKCR-FM & AM while producing the longest running talk show in the station's history. During his rabbinic studies, Mark became the first assistant editor of Sh'ma magazine. After ordination, Mark became the Editorial Director and Director of Public Affairs for WMCA Radio in New York, then the leading telephone-talk station in the country. In 1979, Mark created Jewish Education in Media, Inc. (JEM) and the producer/host of its radio magazine, L'Chayim, which has not missed a Sunday since its premiere in 1979. L'Chayim's guest list reads like a "Who's Who" in the Jewish world and moved to television in 1990. In 1991, Mark created the first Russian language channel on American television, The Russian Television Network of America (RTN), to serve the needs of the Russian-speaking community of America. RTN has evolved into Russian Media Group, LLC which now licenses RTN to cable companies throughout America and Canada, and nationally distributes its own package of Russian channels to Russian speaking families throughout America. In 2006, Mark became the president and CEO of Shalom TV, the first Jewish network to be part of an American cable system's lineup of channel offerings (Comcast). Shalom TV has been renamed "Jewish Broadcasting Service" (JBS) and is now a 24/7 channel seen on such major television providers as Cablevision, RCN, Atlantic Broadband, Metrocast, Century Link and Google Fiber. When Mark is not producing television, he and his brother David produce Broadway shows and have won three Tony Awards ((The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Vanya, Sasha, Masha and Spike. Mark is married to Ruth Ellen Gelman who is his partner in all his endeavors. They have five children and three grandchildren.