Israel Shamir
December 16, 2017
The Unz Review

Jerusalem is first of all a symbol, and a potent one; the American recognition of Jewish sovereignty over the Holy City is a sign of the final Jewish victory over Christianity, and it is to be deeply regretted. Richard Coeur de Lion and Tancred would not understand this surrender of the city they fought for, but the times have changed. The Christians of yesteryear did not refer to Jews as their “elder brothers”. What began with Americans saying “Season greetings” instead of ‘Merry Christmas,’ ended with this shameful act of Christ denial.

The Palestinians won’t be able to save the city. The Third Intifada is not coming yet, despite the annoying in-your-face Trump declaration, and despite the Hamas call for a rising, and it is not likely to come anytime soon, unless Israelis will provoke it. Thousands of men and women protested during the week that passed; a few were shot by Israeli soldiers, among others, a double amputee in his wheel chair. However, Palestine did not explode in anger. For a regular reader of my articles, the muted Palestinian response to the American provocation does not come as a surprise. I wrote recently that it has never been so good, Palestine has now a run of modest prosperity, a building boom, a tourist boom, restaurants’ boom, and they are not likely to go and die for a statement, even for an annoying statement.

The Palestinians of East Jerusalem have it better than other Palestinians: they have no citizenship, but they can move more-or-less freely about the whole of Palestine, including the “old Israel”. They are pragmatic and patriotic. They consider themselves the guardians of their legacy, including the great shrines of al Aqsa and of the Holy Sepulchre. If and when the Jews touch the shrines, they respond in force, as it happened last August when Israel tried to limit the access to the Mosque.

But President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state did not ignite them. Nobody in his right mind has had any doubts about American feelings. Americans are for Israel, it is a national obsession. So now they declared Jerusalem – a Jewish capital. And before, when they had sent their ambassadors, all Jews, all devout Zionists, all “Israel Firsters” – was it any different?

Trump is not different from his predecessors. All American Presidents declared Jerusalem – the eternal united and indivisible capital of the Jewish state. Obama did it, and so did Bush. True, they said it while running for the office, and they avoided repeating the mantra while in the White House, but they never repudiated it, either.

Ninety out of a hundred US Senators approved of Trump’s statement. Ten abstained, probably being unable to support Trump for any reason at all. Still, it was a most-approved step of the President. The American political establishment is thoroughly pro-Israel, both liberal and fundamentalist, Republican and Democrat, from Sanders to Bannon; we knew it, and now Trump allowed the people to read it loud and clear. He did what the people want. That is why you elected him: so he will do what you want, not what somebody else who claims to know better, tells you.

Why do you Americans want it? America is working out its Gestalt as the Shining City on the Hill, the New Israel of Manifest Destiny. This great country does not yet want to become just another great country, it wants to lead mankind and to re-form the world after its own shape and image. America had been messianic for a long time, and this habit is hard to kick.

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