'If I forget you, O Jerusalem'

Foreign Policy
by Ken Blackwell
Posted on Thursday, September 6, 2012, at 12:45 pm

"If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!"

Those are the words of the Psalmist. They were not the words of the increasingly secular Democratic Party platform. We heard a lot about how the Democratic platform, for the first time in recent memory, had excised any mention of God. But the Democrats had also forgotten Jerusalem. Well, they had "a come to Jesus" moment yesterday, and passed an amendment.

In previous platforms, the Democratic and Republican parties committed themselves to back a strong and united Israel. And both parties said that Jerusalem should be recognized as the undivided capital of Israel.

But under the Obama administration, Jerusalem's fate is unclear. "Jerusalem is a permanent status issue" whose final disposition will be determined by negotiations between the involved "parties."

The "parties," in this case, would be whom? The Israelis and Fatah? Fatah is that faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) that claims to be the legitimate ruler of the West Bank Arab community. Fatah is only ruling there because it has canceled elections. It has canceled elections because it knows it would lose to Hamas. Hamas is the even more openly violent faction that rules in Gaza. Hamas daily sends deadly missiles into Israel.

There is something of a two-party system operating between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. Fatah is regarded by the Obama administration as the moderate faction. They get $800 million from the United States to pose as a reasonable "party" to the negotiations. Hamas - with whom Fatah has negotiated agreements - is not recognized by the Obama administration because Hamas openly calls for the destruction of "the Zionist entity."

That's not nice. Moderate Fatah only names public squares after suicide bombers, only teaches children in its schools to grow up to be suicide bombers, only runs a catch-and-release program for terrorists. But Fatah gives lip service to negotiations with Israel. Meanwhile, the flag of Fatah and the official seal of the PLO continue to show no Israel.

My colleague Bob Morrison reminds me, "The only real difference between Hamas and Fatah is timing. Hamas favors driving the Jews into the sea and then taking all their money. Fatah wants to take all their money and then drive the Jews into the sea. That's the Middle East version of a two-party system."

Still, the Obama administration views Fatah as a suitable "party" for negotiations on the final status of Jerusalem. And the Obama administration continues to shovel money at Fatah. In fact, Fatah is the only shovel-ready project this administration seems to have found.

The Obama administration, like all other governments in the developed world, never hesitated to nominate an ambassador to Berlin. When West and East Germany reunified, Berlin was named as the once and future capital. No problem. U.S. Embassy and staff trundled down the autobahn to open shop in Berlin.

Every nation with whom we have diplomatic relations gets to name its own capital city.

Except Israel. Not only does the Obama administration refuse to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, it refuses even to name Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

This is not a trivial pursuit. President Obama's bowing and apologizing to militants in the Arab world has profited us not at all. He doesn't want to name Jerusalem as Israel's capital out of fear it will produce "rage" in the Arab street. What else does the Arab street produce but rage? We are not loved. And we are not respected, either.

Rather than abase ourselves before militants, it might be more helpful to stand up and manfully say: Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel.

We know President Obama doesn't like Winston Churchill. He threw the bust of Churchill out into the snow. It was one of his first ceremonial acts. Even so, President Obama could learn from Churchill: "Let the Jews have Jerusalem; it is they who made it famous."

Ken Blackwell

Ken, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, is the co-author of The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. Follow Ken on Twitter @kenblackwell.

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