Exactly 70 years ago – on May 14, 1948 – Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion brought together members of the Jewish People’s Council in the Tel Aviv Museum.
The Zionist movement to rebirth a Jewish state had already been at work for decades. That day Ben-Gurion stood underneath a portrait of the pioneer of that movement, Theodor Herzl, and affirmed the historic right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.
“The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people.
Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.”
He then declared the founding of the modern State of Israel.
Eleven minutes later, president Harry S. Truman courageously recognized the State of Israel, over the objection of many of his advisers and the State Department.
Seven decades later, on December 6, 2017, President Donald Trump made another courageous decision when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the US embassy would be moved there.
I have long advocated that the United States take this action, and commend President Trump for fulfilling this campaign promise.
Presidents of both parties had made the same promise, and repeatedly failed to follow through. Finally, 70 years later, America is at last recognizing Israel’s true capital.
It is also heartening to see that Guatemala will move its embassy two days after the United States, and Paraguay will be the third country to do the same by the end of May.
I hope they are just the first of many nations around the world to follow America’s lead.
Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and the capital of the Jewish state since its founding in 1948.
At the United Nations and UNESCO, we are seeing a concerted attempt to delegitimize Israel, to claim – astonishingly enough – that Jerusalem has no ties to the Jewish people.
This ahistorical propaganda is dangerous, and I’ve been proud to lead efforts in the Senate to counter it by introducing a congressional resolution detailing the Jewish people’s three millennia of ties to Jerusalem, as shown by the remarkable cascade of archeological discoveries at the City of David.
This week I am in Jerusalem to attend the official opening of our new embassy. This is my fourth trip to Israel in just over five years, and it is a great honor to witness this historic occasion.
Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the US embassy sends a powerful message that America will stand by our friends and allies, and we will stand up to our enemies.
Moreover, it furthers the chances of peace in the Middle East by demonstrating that America’s support for Israel is unconditional, and will not be bullied by global media opinion.
This momentous achievement follows on the heels of President Trump’s rightful withdrawal from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, which empowered the enemies of Israel and the United States.
President Obama’s Iran deal was a catastrophe. Instead of constraining Iran’s nuclear weapons program, it gave Iran the time and resources to perfect it. It sent billions to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
The deal provided the regime with vast resources that it could funnel into missile tests. It prohibited us from using our most powerful sanctions against the full range of Iranian aggression, but only imposed restrictions against a portion of Iran’s nuclear activities – and only temporarily.
The deal enabled Iran to expand and entrench on Israel’s border, and created an incentive for the international community to turn a blind eye. It gave Iran resources to funnel to Hezbollah to Israel’s north, Hamas to the south and the Houthis in Yemen that can disrupt critical shipping.
And as the recent presentation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear, unsurprisingly, significant parts of Iran’s nuclear weapons program had long gone undetected. The Obama Iran deal was built on an edifice of lies.
President Trump did exactly the right thing by getting us out, beginning to drain the mullahs’ coffers and help ensure the security of the United States and Israel.
Today, as America recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and rebuffs our common enemies, the bond between our two nations has never been stronger. We stand together for our shared freedom and ensuring our common future.The author is a US senator from Texas.