The moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem shows the Arabs, the Palestinians and the world that Jerusalem is the Jewish capital of Israel. It is a move to force the Palestinians to come to the peace table with the government of Israel if Palestinians want to survive. It shows the courage of President Donald Trump and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to tell the world that Israel under the Likud government is correct in its policies regarding the Palestinians.

It shows that Trump is unafraid to tell the Arabs and the world that their policy of antagonism toward Israel has been wrong and stupid.

What will happen in the Arab world as a result of this pronouncement? Hopefully, nothing.

Cooler heads from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt and the Maghreb will prevail with the help of G-d.

Philip Wendkos, Rockville, Md.

History Supports Jerusalem Recognition

No doubt it if had been a different president recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, there might have been less consternation within Jewish organizations. However, as I have heard in uplifting sermons and read in inspiring articles, one has to separate the message from the messenger.

It may actually be a good time to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Arab regimes are busy with internal conflicts or the threat posed by Iran. The reconciliation moves between Fatah and Hamas have ground to a halt. The move sends a signal to Palestinian leaders that decades of uncritical American acceptance of their intransigence is drawing to an end. Of course, it may still be exploited by Arab leaders as a pretext for some major attack, but so far it has not.

Rather than castigating the move, Jewish organizations should be educating their fellow Jews and the broader public about history and Jewish connections to Jerusalem. What is now called East Jerusalem, or the Old City, had an overwhelming Jewish majority from when population counts were first taken in the 1840s all the way to the 1920s, when many Jews were driven out after a series of Arab attacks that killed over 130 Jews.

The remaining Jews were killed or expelled by the Jordanian army in 1948. All Jewish synagogues in the Old City were smashed, and Jewish tombstones were used for paving. Jews could not visit their holy sites when the Old City was under Jordanian control.

In contrast, all faiths have had access to their holy sites since 1967.

One might see all this violence as recent and the result of a clash of nationalist and religious claims, but that too is simplistic. There is a widespread myth that Jews were relatively well treated under Arab and Ottoman rule. However, Christian and Jewish European travelers in the 18th and 19th centuries wrote of the shocking conditions imposed on Jews in the Holy Land, of their suffering under restrictions that made it impossible for them to buy property in East Jerusalem, of their stoic acceptance of pogroms and constant humiliation.

Islam’s hostility to Jews dates to its founding.

It is counterproductive to ignore this history when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has given a speech in Istanbul that denies any Jewish connections to the land, and Palestinian officials deny on television that there ever was a temple in Jerusalem.

It makes no sense to say, “Don’t do anything that affects the peace process,” when there is no peace process because Palestinian leaders reject any process that would end the conflict and allow a permanent Israel. Decades of appeasement have only exacerbated Palestinian extremism.

Doron Lubinsky, Sandy Springs

U.S. Should Not Be Neutral

I must disagree with Harold Kirtz (“U.S. Recognition of Israel’s Capital Ill-Timed,” Dec. 15). The United States should not maintain a neutral stance while Israel has offered peace plans, even ceded land, and the Palestinians have steadfastly refused to negotiate.

While the Palestinians are using President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel’s right to designate her own capital as an excuse for violence, the fact is that there has been violence all along. Having the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv did not prevent hijackings of airliners, bombings of pizzerias and seders, the lobbing of missiles at Israeli population centers, the ramming of cars into crowds at bus stops, stabbings, etc.

I think Trump intended his action as a message to the Palestinians that America will no longer tolerate their intransigence. I hope America will urge the Palestinian leaders to turn their attention from trying to destroy Israel toward building the infrastructure needed for a viable state, one in which their people, even if descended from Arabs who fled Arab-initiated wars against Israel, will be helped to become productive citizens, willing to coexist peacefully with the nation-state of the Jews.

Toby F. Block, Atlanta

From the Blogs

The community conversation is always active at the AJT’s blog page, blogs.timesofisrael.com/atlanta-jewish-times. Visit the blogs to sign up for your own AJT blog or to add your comments to posts. Recent excerpts:

  • Rabbi Marc H. Wilson, “The Messiah of Eighth Avenue” — “The Messiah’s festering sores are the inevitable result of … the willful dismantling of health care, education and social welfare, the framing of a system in which prosperity is financed by the victimization of those whose burden is already unbearable.  His disgusting disfigurement is a mirror image of the callousness by which we are disfigured.”
  • Nandita Godbole, “Belonging: Prayer Beads and Shared Tables” — “I am discovering a personal desire to remain intrigued and willing to accepting other people, religions and lifestyles in ‘our’ fold, as acknowledgement of our shared condition: humanity. Because prejudice in any form harbors the seeds of discord, mistrust and hatred.”

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