A day after the 51st Jerusalem day, Yom Yerushalayim Israelis kept the party going to celebrate the American embassy moving to the capital city. On Monday, May 14, 2018, on the Gregorian calendar’s marking of the 70th anniversary since the modern state of Israel declared independence the American embassy finally opened in Jerusalem the state’s capital. It was 70 years since Israel declared Jerusalem the capital, as just as long the United States balked. The controversial President Donald Trump made recognizing Jerusalem a campaign promise that he would keep, ending the years of refusals by American presidents. But just as Israel received their all too late due, the Palestinian violent protests on their Nakba (Catastrophe) Day opposing Israel’s creation steered the global discussion to a condemnation, a premonition comes true.
President Trump deserves the credit for the move but it should never have taken to his administration for the move to become a reality. Trump has proven to be the natural partner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, first recognizing Jerusalem in December 2017, announcing the embassy’s opening in February in 2018, and this past week withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal at Netanyahu's behest. Trump’s actions are the first time an American president has truly treated Israel equally. A sharp contrast from President Barack Obama’s colonial condescension and forced attempts at a lopsided peace agreement.
Despite, the excitement and celebrating the dedication it's a bittersweet moment. Every Zionist is thrilled to finally have the country's closest ally recognize Jerusalem as the state’s capital while moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The problem is this all happening 70 years too late. In 1948, President Harry Truman was quick to acknowledge Israel but refused during his tenure to acknowledge Jerusalem as its capital. For 45 years that remained the policy until then-Democratic candidate Bill Clinton in 1992 promised the long waited recognition, but he too balked in office. The Jerusalem Embassy Act came into being in 1995, with each subsequent president signing off against the move until Trump, who boldly turned his campaign promise a reality.
The fact that the news media is questioning the repercussions of the move, a large number of countries oppose it, with Twitter commentators raging, is problematic. Only 32 countries attended the opening mostly from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, western countries abstained because they objected to the move. No democratic country in the world has their capital questioned. If it has any other, people or religion, their capital would have been accepted universally from day one.
In an attempt to belittle and take away from the too late yet celebratory moment, the Palestinians under Hamas’ orders and help stormed the border fence in Gaza. Israel protecting their border are faced with shooting at the Palestinians, who although not using traditional weapons, instead, use primitive ones are as deadly and primitive as their actions. As was the purpose, the focus immediately turns to the Palestinians and the world begins their pity party. If this was happening in any other country the IDF would be praised for their handling of widespread terrorism.
Instead, the world has been condemning Israel, contrasting the events in Israel occurring simultaneously, as a way to prove the move was wrong. All the news and social media could and would see are the 60 dead Palestinians and thousands injured, and it brought out the old scrooge anti-Semitism. Much of the hate was coming from the traditional sources, who usually have a bias against Israel, others came in news headlines from the mainstream media. Unfortunately, when searching on Google for “Jerusalem embassy” they are considered the most popular tweets on Twitter on the topic. The tweets were mostly representative of the global sympathy for the Palestinians. The majority liberal media, personalities and politicians.
Palestinian journalist Rula Jabreal, who also has Israeli citizenship was one of the harshest. Jabreal wrote in one tweet, “Celebrating the US embassy opening in occupied Jerusalem, precisely while IDF troops are murdering scores of innocent, unarmed Palestinians in Gaza; the appealing juxtaposition of the two jarring events unfolding in synchronicity, screams total disregard for human suffering.” In a second tweet she shouldered the blame and her ire at President Trump, “Trump’s Jerusalem move leaves him drenched in blood...prompting horrific reverberations.”
England’s Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn words on Twitter were equally as brutal. Corbyn has a history of anti-Israel sentiments. Corbyn wrote, “The killing of dozens of unarmed protesters and wounding of many more by Israeli forces in Gaza, on the day President Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, is an outrage that demands not just international condemnation, but action”
Adversarial online publication The Intercept wrote, “A smiling Ivanka Trump welcomed Israeli dignitaries to the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem while Israel's armed forces killed dozens of Palestinian protesters.” Lindsey Hilsum of Britain’s Channel 4 News posted their story, “Less like cutting a ribbon - more like lighting a fuse. Our piece on the US embassy move to Jerusalem.” There more traditional Tennessee Johnston City Press tweeted the Associated Press’ headline, “Trump, aides celebrate Jerusalem embassy, as border burns.”
One if the harshest tweets, came naturally from an official from Former President Barack Obama’s administration, his CIA director during his second term John Brennan. Brennan brought back Obama’s blame Israel philosophy, “Deaths in Gaza result of utter disregard of Messers Trump & Netanyahu for Palestinian rights & homeland. By moving Embassy to Jerusalem, Trump played politics, destroyed US peacemaker role. New generation of Israelis/Palestinians need to isolate extremists to find path to peace.” The tweet received over 37,000 likes. Obama’s adversarial policies towards Israel was commonplace, and the animosity between the two leaders so obvious that during Obama’s administration is impossible to believe that the US was still Israel’s closest ally.
The headlines from the mainstream news media were sometimes equally as offensive. CNN's headline, blared “US opens new Embassy in Jerusalem as dozens killed in Gaza clashes.” The New York Times, whose bias towards the Palestinians is too obvious, had the headline, “Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem.” The conservative Fox News specifically wrote about the New York Times continually biased coverage of Israel in “NY Times accused of anti-Israel bias in coverage of Mideast violence.” The article called out the paper for ignoring that Hamas was behind the violent protests, with many infiltrating and pretending to be protesters to incite more violence. The headlines were similar for other publications including the Independent, Reuters, and the Associated Press among others. The news and social media also ignored that the day, Palestinians specifically celebrate by being violent against Israel and Israelis.
At the United Nations on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, the majority of countries condemned Israel, while only the US with UN ambassador Nikki Haley staunchly defended Israel and the embassy move. the EU countries expressed, "While recognizing the right to protect its borders, we expect Israel to respect the fundamental right to peaceful protests and the principle of proportionality in the use of force when defending its legitimate security interest." Haley put the blame “squarely on Hamas.” Haley argued to the Security Council, "Those who suggest that the Gaza violence has anything to do with the location of the American embassy are sorely mistaken. Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location. Such a motivation -- the destruction of a United Nations member state -- is so illegitimate as to not be worth our time in the Security Council, other than the time it takes to denounce it." Israeli media reported that 24 of the 60 Palestinians killed, were actually Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, hardly the innocents the media is sobbing over.
The moment shows just how much anti-Semitism is alive and well, while Israel lives in a double standard no other country faces. Put to a higher standard, while the Palestinians do not even have to live up to a standard. Nevermind their past linked to terrorism, just earlier this month Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared in a speech that Jews were responsible for being murdered in the Holocaust and claimed they have no historical connection to Israel. The remarks brought condemnation from Germany, France, Britain, Canada, and Lithuania as well as the European Union and the United Nations.
At the time even the New York Times claimed in their editorial “Let Abbas’s vile words be his last as Palestinian leader,” that he should resign. The New York Times wrote, “Feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories, Abbas shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations.” Now just two weeks later, the tables have turned and the Palestinians have found a way to make themselves the victims yet again.
The Canadian Globe and Mail published an op-ed on May 15, entitled, “As mass killings horrify the world, Netanyahu’s circle dwindles.” The author Doug Sanders, the paper’s international affairs columnist used the traditional liberal argument that Netanyahu’s policies are isolating him along with Trump and that even the majority of Jews oppose his actions. Sanders wrote, “If Mr. Netanyahu’s unapologetic embrace of mass killing is horrifying an increasing majority of the Jewish population, he has demolished any hope of a political pact involving Israel’s Arab population.” As if claiming Jewish opposition made the argument less anti-Semitic.
CNN went a different route with senior international correspondent Ben Wederman declaring, “The dream of 'peace in our time' in the Middle East died on Monday.” The opinion piece written by a Jewish journalist chastised both the US and Israel for the split screen moment. Wederman writes “No single day highlights just how far this conflict has strayed into the disjointed, the absurd, the hopeless.Wederman represents the ultimate liberal bias, concern about the poor abandoned Palestinians, without concern for his co-religionists, the ultimate liberal Jewish abandonment of Israel.
It is sad and troubling that the world is so blind not to see the Palestinians are terrorists not worthy of the concern and aims to allow them to have a state. In late April, the Times of Israel reported Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recognized Israel right to exist and was fed up with the Palestinians. The Crown Prince speaking to Jewish leaders in New York declared, “It’s about time that the Palestinians accept the offers, and agree to come to the negotiating table — or they should shut up and stop complaining.” The international community and the Palestinians should take the advice to heart, and allow Israel to exist and govern as it wishes, and see that the only ones to blame for what happens to the Palestinians is themselves.
Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, Judaism, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.