August 17, 2004
Friend of FLAME:
Jerusalem and the 9/11 Report
Editorial, Connecticut Jewish Ledger, July 30, 2004
Now that it’s campaign season again, we are
sure to hear that both candidates want to move the United States’ embassy
in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that would give de facto
recognition to Israel’s sovereignty over that city and allow
it the right that every other nation has to designate its own capital
The United States …”should offer an example of moral leadership in the world,” says the report, and “just as we did in the Cold War, we need to defend our ideals abroad vigorously… If the United States does not act aggressively to define itself in the Islamic world, the extremists will gladly do the job for us.”
One place where the U.S. fails to define itself on a regular basis is Israel, and the most striking example of this equivocation is its obtuseness on Jerusalem.
By consistently opting to leave our embassy in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem all of our presidents defer to the State Department view of what is right. In a diplomatic sense, being overly sensitive to the demands of our Arab “friends” might be the most expedient thing to do, but as far as “moral leadership” and “defining ourselves” goes, it is a failure. Not only does it send the wrong message, but also translates into a deadly policy for Israelis. By avoiding the issue of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, State keeps Jerusalem’s status on the negotiating table, and in the doing reaffirms for our enemies the viability of their efforts to wrest Jerusalem from Israel and reinforces their desire to end Israel’s existence. It is a policy that sanctions violence and invites the intransigence and terror that Israel faces daily. America’s interests are not served when Israel is damaged or when she is weakened.
When America sends mixed signals about Israel’s right to exert full sovereignty over Jerusalem we embolden her enemies and ours. Now that we finally recognize we are at war with the same ideology that Israel has been fighting for years, we have to change our thinking. Our successful military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that we are long past our dalliance with the pique of the mythical “Arab Street” and that we need to focus instead on our own role as a moral leader for the free world. Moving our embassy to Jerusalem would serve notice that we are abandoning the failed policy that panders to Arab killers and terrorists and would give Israel the right we give to every other sovereign nation: to designate its own capital.
Jews have lived in Jerusalem since time immemorial. A Jewish majority has been in Jerusalem for as long as people have been keeping count, and Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Jewish people. The State of Israel should, like any other nation, be able to name its own capital city. A new American message to the world should be that from now on America will support what is right instead of what is expedient and in that way will we define our moral leadership. We will lead by example.
It is time for both candidates to put the State Department on notice that the United States’ broader interests must be served, and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, serves them best.
A Letter to President Bush from Gerardo Joffe, President, FLAME
Dear Mr. President:
You have many things on your mind, mostly, I suppose, our war in Iraq and the state of the economy. And understandably, you are concerned about your chances for reelection. With the confused situation in Iraq and the economy still being in somewhat of a slump, you have the right to be concerned about that.
I believe your reelection would be
assured if you were to do one thing NOW:
By doing this you will likely gain a majority of the Jewish vote, which would greatly improve your chances for reelection.
Also, many Christians are much concerned about our government's ambiguity about Jerusalem and that Congress's will in that matter is being thwarted.
I am writing you in my personal capacity, but I am the president of a major Jewish organization (FLAME—Facts and Logic About the Middle East). I have my ear close to the Jewish community, and I know what I'm talking about. In addition, many of our most devoted supporters are Christians.
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