This is the first time I’ve read anything by Aaron David Miller, but I sincerely hope that he thinks twice about poo-pooing semantics before he writes his next piece. I’ll illustrate why.
Miller asserts in his CNN article that the DNC’s decision to delete the reference to Jerusalem from their 2012 platform that had been there in 2004 and 2008 as being silly. The reaction among the delegates to the DNC’s decision to reinstate it proves otherwise. If this is so silly, then those of us making a fuss must just be a bunch of nut jobs. However, I refuse to believe most people are nuts. Therefore, this must be pretty serious.
One fact is true that I will agree to: American policy and American practice on the status of Jerusalem contradict each other. Official American policy is that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Both parties until this year affirmed this fact in their party platforms. That hasn’t necessarily translated into actions that would affirm this truth like moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. Many American presidents have promised to do this and all have come up short.
If the only issue of whether a president will actually pull the trigger or not, then maybe Miller has a point. The problem is he only considers the question in one direction: to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or not. What about in the other direction? If the policy states that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it is stating affirmatively that it is not anyone else’s capital. The decision to move the embassy is a political decision based on a variety of other factors.
The decision to remove this language from the DNC platform turns Jerusalem’s status from a political/strategic issue to one of ideology. It is a definitive statement that Jerusalem is NOT the capital of Israel in any way. The obvious question is: what is the status of this city? Israel says it’s their capital. The Palestinians say that Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state. Some have suggested internationalizing Jerusalem. This very bold action would signal a preference for one of these two other positions. It certainly doesn’t send Israel the message that they are supported and that their position is legitimate.
I am not telling anyone who to vote for. From everything I have been able to ascertain, Israel has friends, strong friends, on both sides of the isle. Being pro-Israel seems to be one of the few things both parties can agree upon. The resounding applause and standing ovations that Bibi Netanyahu received when he spoke before a joint session of Congress was a rare and wonderful show of bi-partisan unity. I’m not sure who made the decision to remove it or why, but it represents a fringe idea that simply doesn’t represent Americans of any stripe. It certainly doesn’t represent Jews or Jewish interests.