Beware Pols’ Empty Promises

How gullible do Republicans, especially the Bush brothers, think we Jews are?  Very, judging by their empty promises to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

In this week's GOP presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C., Jeb Bush repeated his promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  A month earlier he told another South Carolina audience that on his first day in the Oval Office his second move would be to order the embassy moved as "a show of solidarity" with the Jewish state.  

Sound familiar?  That's just what big brother George W promised in his 2000 campaign to do on his first day as president and yet eight years later, on his last day in office, the Embassy was still at 71 Ha-Yarkon Street in Tel Aviv. And there it remains.

Now brother Jeb – wasn't he supposed to be the smarter brother? – says moving it will be "a clear signal" of American resolve to defend Israel against "the existential threat" posed by Iran.   "We should take them at their word when they say 'Death to Israel. Death to America'" and respond by moving the Embassy 

On Thursday he said it again: "We need to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to send a serious signal that we're back in the game with Israel."

The Iranians have been shouting "Death to Israel" since the 1970s.  Does that mean Jeb is saying Ronald Reagan, Poppy Bush 41 and W – to say nothing of all those Democrats —  didn't have the guts to stand up to Iran, but he will?

Jeb's not the only one playing this game. Democrats have been promising to move the Embassy to Jerusalem as well, and with the same results.

It has been and remains U.S. policy that the status of Jerusalem is to be determined in negotiations between the two sides and neither the U.S. nor any other country has recognized Israel's annexation of the eastern part of the city after the 1967 Six Day War.  The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital when their state is established.

Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida have introduced legislation to remove the president's waiver authority to delay a congressionally mandated embassy shift, but it's just grandstanding.  The bill, which has only five cosponsors, all Republicans, isn't going anywhere and even if it passed it won't work because Congress doesn't have the power to make it happen. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Congress does not have the Constitutional authority to force the Executive Branch to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

W can't blame his failure on the Democrats.  He had the full Constitutional power to carry through with his promise; instead he signed 16 waivers.  Coming into the White House from the campaign trail he finally understood that moving the embassy would only stir up rage in the Arab world.

Here's the emmes, the truth. Nice promises from all those presidential wannabes, but meaningless. None of them will move the embassy on Day One. For starters it would destroy any hopes of rekindling peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, notwithstanding the fact that their current leaders have shown little interest.  It would also cause much tzoris in any new administration's relations throughout the Muslim world.

The bottom line is the US Embassy stays put until the Israelis and Palestinians make peace.  Until then it is just empty promises by politicians looking for money and votes.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.