For Israel, today is one of real miracles
The following op-ed was originally published in The Hill on May 15, 2018.
On March 21, 2016 Donald Trump, candidate for president of the United States of American, declared:
“We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem. And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel. The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable. They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel. They must do that. And they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will forever exist as a Jewish state.”
This was a promise made by Republican and Democratic candidates for president since 1995.
On Dec. 6, 2017, President Trumpstated “Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Today, Monday, May 14 at 9:00 a.m. Jerusalem time, the United States of America has officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
As an America at this ceremony my heart filled with pride that our nation has lived up to the commitment Congress made in 1995 to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Previous presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, chose to embrace the status quo and exercise their legal option to waive the requirement to locate our nation’s embassy to Jerusalem.
To be sure, the safe decision, the politically correct one, would have been for President Trump to simply do what his predecessors had done.
But he made it clear that not only would he not seek refuge in a waiver, but his and America’s support for Israel would not waiver.
As a Jew, and as one who has fought for the existential right of Israel in a region where far too many of its neighbors seek its destruction, the emotion is difficult to describe.
In many ways it feels like the birth of my own children.
A new day, filled with hope and opportunity and promise for a better future.
Which is what all of us, those who live in America, those who are here for this ceremony and those who live in and outside of Israel should embrace in this historic moment.
Symbols of old fights, grudges and regimes must come down. The political correctness that outweighs bold acts of courage and commitment are needed today.
As Iran seeks to build a role as a regional leader, intent on dividing and conquering the Middle East, with a commitment to Israel’s destruction, now is not the time to hide behind Congressional waivers.
Nor is it time to support ill-advised nuclear agreements with a regime that touts its defiance of its terms as it seeks to spread its poisonous hate and rhetoric of ruin throughout the world.
In choosing the path of change, President Trump is following in the path of American presidents before him.
Lincoln. Roosevelt. Truman. Reagan.
Each of them had it within their power to simply continue American policy on matters of consequential importance and by doing so they could have chosen to continue on the arc of existing history.
Each of them chose to look to the future, firmly seeing the past, and understanding that hope and promise was to be found in a different path forward.
There will be days ahead in which protagonists of the president, and those who disagree with his decision to recognize Jerusalem, will seem prescient.
Those in the Middle East who are rooted in the wars of the past will find reason and purpose and rationale to call for, inflame and inflict violence.
They are doing so now, and they will find in those who disagreed with President Trump’s decision willing players in their propaganda.
I believe their days are numbered. I believe ideology and hatred is losing its hold on the people they are perceived to lead in the Middle East.
Moms and Dads of children in the Middle East are not unlike those in the United States. They wish for and seek a better life for their own children. They wish to see them live a long life, filled with opportunity and the chance to succeed.
President Trump has taken the false objection of the capital of Israel off the negotiating table. Those leaders now can see the forest for the trees if they choose to do so.
Today, is a new day.
A day of miracles. But, a day of reality.
A perfect day to remember the words of David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel:
“Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.”
I am a realist.
Norm Coleman served Minnesota as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 2003-2009. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee and ranking member of the Near East Subcommittee. He is currently chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and head of the government relations and public affairs practice at Hogan Lovells, where he provides legal and strategic advice on foreign policy-related issues for a number of foreign clients. The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and are not written for or at the request of any other party.