Liran Kapoano

When it comes to Jerusalem, the vessel matters as much as the message

The US president is divisive, self-serving, possibly corrupt, and everything he does in office is tainted
US President Donald Trump delivers a statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on December 6, 2017. (AFP/ Saul Loeb)
US President Donald Trump delivers a statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on December 6, 2017. (AFP/ Saul Loeb)

While the announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem is long overdue, the fact that Trump is the one to do it has extremely serious long term complications and potentially disastrous consequences.

Let me start off by saying that the idea that “this isn’t the right time” is ridiculous. The right time was May 14th, 1948, and every single day that passed since then without that proper recognition has been an unmitigated mockery of reality. Deep down, everyone knows undivided Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, it always has been and it always will be.

Which is why I am struggling with mixed emotions. I’ve waited for this injustice to be righted for literally my entire life. And yet, the fact that Trump is the one to do it makes me wish it wasn’t happening today.

Whatever your views on Trump — the objective reality is that he is widely seen by world leaders and more than half of the United States population as not representative of the country. Whatever your views on his rhetoric — the objective reality is that he is the most divisive president of our lives, possibly of all time (with apologies to James Buchanan). And whatever your views on the “Russia Affair” — he is widely seen as the most corrupt, self-serving president in history.

If you don’t know that the above items are facts (even if you don’t agree with the representation), you really need to get out of your bubble.

And it’s that last point that is the most critical.

Even if everything you hear that is negative about Trump is not true, there are hundreds of millions of people who disagree with you. Your children and grandchildren probably disagree with you. Put yourself in the shoes of Jewish American under the age of 35, who is likely a Democrat and likely is already neutral/negative on Israel. Do you think this announcement is going to inspire them to suddenly join the Israel party? Or are they more likely to view this as just another example of what they believe is Trump’s hatred of Muslims?

The danger of making Israel a partisan issue, rather than a consensus item, is that it reduces it to just another thing “the other side” did that should be opposed.

The other major problem with Trump is the Russia investigation and his general corrupt behavior with regards to his businesses profiting off of his presidency.

What happens if Trump does get sacked? You don’t even need to believe that the Russia issue is legitimate to know that if the Democrats take over the House of Representatives next year, it will be open season on an already weakened presidency. Even if that does not happen, it looks like nearly everyone that was connected to his campaign — including Jared Kushner — is going to be facing some kind of criminal exposure, if not indictments. Even if the investigation turns up nothing on Trump HIMSELF, he will forever be stained and tainted by it. And everything he does during his time in office will have that attached to it.

And finally, you have to look at Trump’s motivations for doing this. If you believe for one minute that he is doing this because he loves Israel and wants it to succeed, well, I have Trump University degree to sell you. Trump is motivated by one thing and one thing only — feeding his addiction for fame. There is no way that he has thought this through, in fact numerous reports yesterday were stating that the full text of today’s speech was not even complete. So he didn’t even know what he was going to be saying the day before the announcement.

The bottom line is that with a message this important, the vessel matters. And the implementation matters. And the MOTIVATION matters. All I see here is an attempt to prop up one “leader” under investigation for corruption by another “leader” under investigation for conspiracy against his own country. This is NOT how this was supposed to happen and we should be clear-eyed and honest with ourselves about what the short and long term consequences will be.

People will die over this announcement. That is the one fact we can all agree on. Is it really worth it if it doesn’t change the facts on the ground and ultimately is seen as a tainted move by a tainted president and prime minister?

So while I’m personally happy that Americans who were born in Jerusalem will (probably? hopefully?) finally be able to list their country of birth on their American passports, Zionist organizations and advocates as a whole would be wise to avoid celebrating what may turn into the ultimate Pyrrhic victory for the pro-Israel movement.

About the Author
Liran Kapoano is a business owner and Israel advocate with a passion for his family, adventure travel and marketing (although unfortunately not always in that order). He is also an Israeli trapped in an American body who enjoys a walk-off home run as much as a 91st minute soccer goal. He can be found agonizing over the current state of affairs @kapoano daily on Twitter.
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