By Rabbi Robert N. Levine
Help us to understand.
You fashion yourself the ultimate dealmaker and have set your sights on the ultimate prize. Every United States president since Truman has tried to bring peace to the mideast. You want to win so badly that you have asked your son-in-law to spend less time with your own grandchildren in order to figure out what all the invested parties can live with. You want this win badly.
You have been told by everybody that Jerusalem is the most difficult and emotional issue of them all. You have spoken to many leaders in the region and the world, and almost all have told you that if you are serious about mideast peace, do not announce plans to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel at this time.
Of course, Israel has the right to decide her own capital city. If a two-state solution ever is to be achieved, in fact, Israel needs to remain undivided, open to all, with East Jerusalem the capital of the Palestinian state and West Jerusalem the capital of the State of Israel.
That would be a stunning achievement and a great time to move our embassy to Jerusalem as the crowning symbol of our negotiating prowess.
Announcing your intention to move the embassy now most likely will ensure that negotiations will not even begin, that passions will be incredibly inflamed, that our credibility in the region will be shot and that we may set in motion the type of instability that will strengthen Iranian and Russian influence in the Middle East, precisely what you rail against.
So, you are giving this speech today because?
Diversion from Mueller?
Distract us from your support of Roy Moore?
Shore up your evangelical base?
Hope that Israel now will be more flexible in new negotiations?
All of the above?
All I can say at this moment is “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”