At an Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in Turkey Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a defiant speech in which he condemned the Trump administration and the United States, called on countries to end their recognition of Israel, threatened the world with violence, and claimed that Jewish history in Jerusalem is fabricated.
Because it is preposterous to insist that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, the political clique opposed to the United States’ recognition of this plain fact—that is, almost all of the western foreign policy establishment, journalists, commentators, former Obama and Clinton administration officials, European politicians and bureaucrats, United Nations cretins, and so on—settled on a different strategy to oppose it.
I lived in Jerusalem, Israel, for two happy years, and much of my work ever since has involved U.S.-Israel relations. I should know better, yet still I am surprised at the rending of garments and apocalyptic predictions pouring forth from western pundits over something that will not change a single stone in the holy city, or a single person’s access to its holy sites, or a single border—and that overwhelming majorities of Congress and virtually every president and presidential candidate has endorsed for decades. Chalk it up in part to the hysteria that has characterized our political debates in the past two years, and also in part to the enormous influence that former Obama administration officials have in setting media narratives and frames for covering issues on which the current president repudiates the approach of the previous one.
For a moment this week it felt as if the sneering, embittered media hysteria surrounding Donald Trump was starting ever so slightly to subside. But not so fast. The New York Times, the paper of record of urban liberal contempt for Deplorable America, discovered a fresh new outrage: Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel.
It was only three weeks ago that the secretary of state committed a perfect Washington gaffe, complaining that media coverage of terrorism is making life difficult for him and the administration he serves: “Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”