I really need to give up this idea of waiting for all the news to come in before writing about a topic. The Trump Administration is working at such a furious pace that I really need to do my best to keep up, and let myself be wrong if I need to.
As you know, Trump announced he was moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. I’ve mentioned before this actually wasn’t a huge priority for Israel – bigger priorities involve Hezbollah, Iran, and having some security with the West Bank. But placed in the context of overall developments in the Middle East, it’s actually pretty big.
The immediate significance is that all the talking heads have warned of mass uprisings, violence, the aligning of the Arab world against the United States, and instead got… crickets. Were they really surprised? This is what happens when you spend the year wallowing in Trump Derangement Syndrome instead of objectively following him.
Really, the only opposition and rebellion to Trump’s move seems to be in what I call the Outrage Industrial Complex. This is no more than talking heads, NGOs, and other professional hacks who’ve built their life on a lie that Arab-Israeli relations would go back to 1967. They are about to see it become extinct in the new Middle East order, and they are the ones lashing out.
And it’s because of how Trump framed the move – that it reflects a frankness about the reality of the situation. If we are going to be frank, finally, then the lie is now worthless.
Trump’s Middle East trip two months ago seems to have set up the groundwork for this. That he got such an enthusiastic response should have been the major sign at least that the Arabs were fine with any of his plans. More likely, he was planning with all them exactly how the move was going to go.
And of course, Israel has been building overt and covert bridges with its Arab neighbors for years. The latest covert bridge to be declassified is its cooperation with Saudi Arabia. I was honored to witness Rabbi Wolpe, an Influential Los Angeles rabbi, speak with Saudi Prince Turki a few short weeks before Trump’s announcement. This meeting marked several firsts in the opening of relations between Jews and Arabs.
So when Nikki Haley came up in front of the UN today and said the US would be “taking names” I doubt it raised any eyebrows – at least none of consequence. I may not have used her aggressive language – after all withholding money also means withholding our influence. But the UN is already Kabuki, and the rehearsal for this play was a few months ago.
So – tl;dr – Trump’s embassy move marks a huge shift in Middle East relations that’s been brewing for a long time now. There’s nothing to fear and everything to celebrate. Both for Israelis and Arabs. The only ones to lose are those caught in the Outrage Industrial Complex. And their death knell is ringing.