Many observers, myself included, were wondering why, along with all the triumphs and troubles within his Administration, Donald Trump would theoretically pick a fight with every Muslim country within the Islamic crescent by announcing that America would be moving her Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His strongest ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, expresses ‘disquiet’. Without the ‘diplomatic language’ wrapping; that statement amounts to an incredulous ‘You have Got to be Joking’! From Capital city to city, the same theme emerges: ’W.T.F.” is a generous rounding of those sentiments. In Gaza, the perfect excuse emerges for the rockets to fly once again from Hamas: with of course the concomitant and fully-expected Israeli reply of artillery and fighter-bomber strikes, along with the listings of dead and injured.
One platitude emerging for this truly strange decision, backed; it is true, by twenty years of Congress’ resolutions, along with various vague previous President’s musings, is that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel: ipso ergo facto sum that is where our embassy should stand. It was also a campaign promise of the Candidate Trump, and if there is one thing which can be said of the President: he keeps his promises.
The answer to the question why can best be revealed by a quick view of the beliefs of America’s Evangelical Fundamentalists, and their hopes for the ‘End of Days’ in a Jerusalem where Jesus reigns in glory once again. Those are not my words, hopes or beliefs, by the way; but they are the cornerstone of millions of Americans who have been raised in the teaching of the old-time Bible fundamentalists, and of the scores of off-shoot churches who preach “dispensational pre-millennialism”, which is the theology of those people.
As the lady from CNN writes, “I may not believe it — anymore, at least. You may not believe it. Donald Trump might not even truly believe it. But millions do. That matters. Not only for American politics, of course. For the peace of Jerusalem. And for peace for the rest of us as well.