Jerusalem Syndrome is a recorded mental health condition.It only strikes those visiting Israel’s capital. There I go I have done it, called Jerusalem Israel’s capital, but I digress so lets get back to the Jerusalem Syndrome and what it constitutes.
Every year a small minority of tourists to the holy city, both Jews and Christians alike, hear heavenly voices while walking over the hallowed ground of this both ancient and modern conurbation. They see visions or hear voices telling them they are the messiah or a modern day prophet with news of great importance to the world. While most recover some stay on and start their own cults
The announcement by president Donald Trump that the USA was to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel demonstrated that Jerusalem Syndrome knows no boundaries. Israel, already top heavy with journalists were joined by hundreds more to witness the promised bloodfest. I eagerly waited for the announcement that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were seen galloping towards Megiddo , better known as Armageddon to herald the start of the war to end all wars.
In support of this belief an earnest faced CNN journalist solemnly held up a newspaper with a picture of Jerusalem covering the front page with the banner headline Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. Was this the New York or London Times. Perhaps Germany’s Bild or France;s Figaro. No it was a daily newspaper in Beirut which could have run this self same front page any time during the last 70 years of Israel’s independence and probably has.
Other journalists pointed to demonstrations in Pakistan , and Indonesia, which seem to have religious demonstrations on a weekly basis and the usual rent a mob of Arabs and extreme leftists in Europe’s capitals. At the end of three days of ” declared rage” two Palestinians had died in clashes with Israeli police and troops. and a further two in Gaza when the bombs they carried detonated on them.
I am not sure how frequent such demonstrations and riots are now but the press seem to have lost interest when it finally dawned on them that this time round we had not reached the “end of days” and we got back to a news diet of Brexit in Europe and Alabama Senate elections in the USA.
Jerusalem Syndrome though had taken an impressive toll. The expected third Intifada did not come because of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It changed nothing on the ground.Even most Palestinians were able to see the wood from the trees and though they were happy to play to the cameras of the world’s press and throw stones they were not willing to man the barricades in a life and death struggle which would leave them in exactly the same place as they started.
There was also some collateral damage of the Syndrome the most well known victim being Rabbi Rick Jacobs the leader of the American Reform Movement and the largest grouping of Jews in the States. He described the announcement as ” ill timed,” which left Natan Sharansky , who had fought so hard for the Reform movement in their struggle for equality at the Western Wall to describe the Rabbi’s statement as terrible.
Rabbi Richards position is as much political as religious and some felt he was simply ensuring that Donald Trump should get no thanks whatever for American recognition. A real example of long distance Jerusalem Syndrome which definitely boomeranged. It might have been better if he had taken a leaf out of the book of Kate Andrews formerly of Republicans Abroad and now the news editor at a London think tank.
Asked on the weekly UK political programme Question Time what she thought of the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital she made it clear that she was no fan of Trump and her usual default position was if Trump says or backs something then it must be wrong. But then quickly added :” Even a broken clock is right twice a day and Trump got this one right.”
If only Rabbi Jacobs had not exposed himself to Jerusalem so much in his travels to the City fighting for equal religious rights for Reform Jews he would not have put himself in a position where so many influential people could well peel away from him.