President Trump’s Big-League Mistake, Part II

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

By Zack Sobeck, Columnist

On December 6, 2017, United States President Donald J. Trump delivered a speech on his intention to move the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and further signaled his intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is indeed a Big-League mistake and is a massive departure from Trump’s comments on the campaign trail.

According to a CNN article on the meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition during the 2016 Republican primaries, “Trump also faced boos from the crowd when in the question-and-answer portion of his appearance he would not pledge to keep Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.”

The article goes on to quote Trump as saying that a peace between Palestine and Israel, “will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things.”

This was in stark contrast to other Republican contesters at that time specifically Senator Lindsey Graham who went as far as to tell the Republican Jewish Coalition that, “I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America.”

This was not the only occasion that Trump signaled a more realistic view on the Palestine-Israel conflict than his Republican colleagues. A different CNN article quotes Trump as saying, “Let me be sort of a neutral guy, let’s see what — I’m going to give it a shot. It would be so great.”

One can clearly see how the sudden move to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the movement of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a major departure from President Trump’s original Make America Great Again platform. One hallmark of the MAGA agenda was an “America First” foreign policy. Presumably an “America First” foreign policy would place the specific needs and goals of the American people above all else when making foreign policy decisions. Trump signaled throughout the campaign that this would likely manifest itself in a less interventionalist style of international relations. One component of this less interventionalist foreign policy was the relaxation of stalwart zionist positions such as the push to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

What does the movement of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem do to benefit the American people? It serves only to inflate the ego of Israeli zionists while also upsetting the vast majority of the people in the region. One must remember that Israel does not have sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem. As of now, the United States is the only foreign state to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

I suspect the sudden departure from campaign rhetoric is (at least in part) to fulfill a promise given to Jewish mega-donor, Sheldon Adelson, who (in addition to being the biggest Republican donor of the 2016 election cycle) donated $5 million to President Trump’s inauguration.

The movement of the embassy ultimately amounts to the facilitation of a foreign country’s geopolitical interests at the expense of the interests of the American people. This is clearly not an “America First” policy. When I cast my vote for Trump last year I was voting for America First not Israel First. It seems as though the president has unfortunately put the interests of Israel before the interests of the American people. This is indeed a Big League mistake.

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Author: Zachary Sobeck

Zachary Sobeck '20 is double majoring in political science and German. He is from Malvern, Pennsylvania and graduated from Great Valley High School in 2016. Sobeck has volunteered with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign during the Pennsylvania primary election. He currently serves as President of the Gettysburg College Republicans and is also a member of Young Americans for Freedom. Sobeck is the legal holder of the noble title: Lord of Hougun Manor, Estate of Cumbria, England of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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