Jerusalem story is the centerpiece of news this week. Donald Trump and
Mike Pence, an evangelical, in favor of moving the embassy and Rex
Tillerson and John Mattis opposed in their discussion prior to the
announcement. That State and Defense departments both found the move
detrimental to U.S. interests underlines how politics trump sound
Mr. Trump is trying to wrap up his evangelical constituency ahead of the 2018 and 2020 elections. Of course it was an unconditional gift for Netanyahu, in desperate need of any success as his criminal investigation for financial corruption approaches a climax. Domestic concerns remain in the present while deliverables for Palestinians are in the future ... a distant future.
It was also a gift for the Iranians and a slap for the Saudis, who have been moving closer to Israel. Turkey has now stepped up to take the leadership role for the Muslim community. Mr. Erdogan has threatened to cut off diplomatic relations with Israel; he has also called for a meeting of Muslim leaders next week in Istanbul.
Not just the Saudis, other staunch mideast U.S. allies like Jordan and Egypt have been undermined. Al-Azhar, the claimed arbiter of Sunni Moslem teachings, said the action will open the gates of hell. Even the Orthodox church in Egypt condemned it as violating international laws and agreements.
Evangelicals believe in the 'rapture' when they will be taken to heaven. For that to happen the Messiah must return to earth, which requires the necessary condition of Jews controlling all of Israel, especially Jerusalem. However, rapture includes only those who accept Jesus as their savior. The rest, including Jews, are cast into the other place.
Trump's only support lies with right-wing Israelis; the rest including the UN, the EU, UK, Russia, China, India, and the Muslim world from Africa to Indonesia are opposed to the gesture -- a hollow one in the face of reality.
A final word: The highly successful former editor of Vanity Fair, Tina Brown, has written an autobiography (reviewed in The New Yorker,
November 20, 2017). Trump is mentioned here and there ... at a 1987
dinner party given by Ann Getty, he can be seen promoting himself. But
the best is Brown's read of "The Art of the Deal", a book she had decided to excerpt in Vanity Fair.
"It feels, when you have finished it, as if you've been nose to nose
for four hours with an entertaining con man." She adds, "I suspect the
American public will like nothing better." Now we just have to wait
until they begin feel the eventual bite of the tax bill, the missing
"great" healthcare plan, and the absent flood of good jobs before his
voters figure the con. So the shoring up of evangelicals.
In the meantime, ask yourself this question: When the U.S. embassy moves to Jerusalem, what will happen to the one in Tel Aviv ... another Trump Tower?