I think itâ€™s important to disclose a vested interest up front. I am an American Jew, so the fate of U.S.-Israeli relations matters to me for three reasons. As an American, I want to keep close those nations that are democratic in nature and founded upon principles and values similar to those of my country. Â As a Jew, I am emotionally and historically tied to the land of Israel and, particularly, its reestablishment as the Jewish homeland in 1948. As an inhabitant of planet Earth, I want the highest good for all concerned.Â Having now indicated that I have a â€œdog in this huntâ€ (actually, three dogs), I now approach the topic of a recent U.S. State Department action.
Yesterday, our State Department issued an official communication regarding travel by one of its representatives. A screen shot of the original release looked like this:
The problem with the release is that it distinguished Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, from Israel itself. The other names in the title of the release are countries, as is Israel. So, the implication is that in some way Jerusalem is independent of Israel. This is a fiction but one which I believe the Obama Administration would like to foster as it has previously. This is not the first time Jerusalem has been singled out by this Administration and referenced as being separate from Israel. And as happened on prior occasions, when called on it, the Administration made a â€œcorrection.â€ Now, the corrected version reads â€œActing Under Secretary Kathleen Stephens Travels to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. (italics added).
So, whereâ€™s the harm? Well, noneâ€¦ if it were a one time, isolated â€œmistake.â€ But it is instead a pattern of words and actions by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, this State Department and this White House that have been hostile to a longtime friend and ally.
In so many ways we are living through an extraordinary time of change. What accompanies change is chaos. In times of chaos it is best to know what is at your core and be able to access it should you need to stabilize and even, perhaps, defend what you believe in and value. The same is true for nations.
In a technological world experiencing rapid, global, political upheaval we are both connected and reliant upon one another to a greater degree than has ever historically been the case. For any nation, ours included, seeking to self-organize within the larger self-organization taking place globally, we would be wise to know who our friends are and treat them as such.
For our government to willfully, blatantly and repeatedly disregard both U.S. law, which recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as well as Israelâ€™s decision as where it chooses to place its capital within its own borders, is not only a violation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by the U.S. Congressional in 1995 but also an insult to Israel. Worth noting is that only when Israel has been in political, military and geographic control of Jerusalem have all three major world religions had the right and the access to worship.
In case you haven’t had the experience, friendships donâ€™t survive repeated insults. It makes one wonder if thatâ€™s the real purpose after all.
So Iâ€™m wondering out loud because if Iâ€™ve learned one thing from history its to not be quiet and to not sit down.