The Undemocratic Jerusalem Embassy Move



“The near-universal opposition to Trump’s decision by much of the military, intelligence, and foreign policy establishment is not out of concern for the fate of the Palestinians or international law. Rather, they fear that effectively recognizing exclusive Israel control over the third holiest city in Islam will provoke a backlash throughout the Islamic world. Reactionary clerics and other Islamist extremists, building on centuries of resentment going back to the Jerusalem’s conquest by the Crusaders nearly a millennium ago, will likely take advantage of popular outrage over the decision to encourage violent attacks, including terrorism, targeting U.S. interests.” — Stephen Zunes, Both Parties Pushed Trump Toward Reckless Action on Jerusalem

Support by Congressional Democrats and party leaders for moving the embassy to Jerusalem is not due to demand from their constituents. A recent poll shows that 81 percent of Democrats oppose moving the embassy while only 15 percent approve. And other polls show there is not strong support for such a move among American Jews, either. This is an extreme example of how the Democratic leadership and Congressional delegation diverge from their constituencies on major foreign policy issues.

The United States professes to be a democracy, but it has clearly become something of a plutocracy. It is still — relatively speaking — an open and free society. By comparative standards, one is in a decent situation for attempting to bring about institutional changes here. But let’s be clear about what democracy means. In a democracy, the public influences policy and then the government carries out actions determined by the public. For the most part, however, the U.S. government carries out actions that benefit corporate and financial interests to the detriment of the vast majority of citizens (when it comes to our collective crises). Anyone who doubts that that’s the case can write to me, and I can provide definitive documentation — easily — to substantiate what I’m asserting here. I certainly pray that teachers will contact me, as they are the ones who are — along with our mainstream media outlets — enabling the myth about American democracy to continue.

It is also important to understand that privileged and powerful sectors in society have never liked democracy, for good reasons (from their vantage point). Democracy places power in the hands of the population and takes it away from them. In fact, the privileged and powerful classes of this country have always sought to find ways to limit power from being placed in the hands of the general population; they are breaking no new ground in this regard.

However, at this juncture, for elected officials to continue disregarding the wishes of the general U.S. population respecting healthcare and our nuclear dynamic, among other issues, is inhumane and guarantees ecocide. And the further slide into insanity which the movement of the Jerusalem embassy represents portends immeasurable immiseration, the proliferation of  undesirable migration, maniacal wars and even the increase of species extinction. Again, if the reader doubts what I’m saying here, simply write to me and I’ll elaborate. The thing is, I’d like to avoid wasting time spelling out “the proof” to people who don’t want to DO something about all this. I’m not into fighting the good fight with mere writing, and I’m hoping that “contact’ will lead to movement in meaningful solidarity.

Everything now is slated to get worse as a consequence of relocating the embassy. For decades, the platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties have called for recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. Neither party has acknowledged that Jerusalem is the commercial, cultural, educational, and religious center for Palestinian life. And neither party acknowledges exactly what they will be setting in motion with the movement of the embassy. Not on the macroscopic plane, as they are pretty much focused — exclusively — on their narrow microscopic (self-serving) concerns.

Just as India is often described as the largest democracy in the world, Israel is portrayed routinely as the only democracy in the Middle East. Truth be told, though, neither deserves the association with authentic democracy any more than the United States does.

The question is, what are concerned citizens going to DO about all this. In the U.S. there is still a small window of democratic opportunity to make an effort to turn things around. But that open window is not likely to be around much longer. In fact, I personally believe it will close in 2018.

Richard Martin Oxman can be reached at [email protected]


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