capital city

With nod to Israel and to truth, Reform voice backs Jerusalem move


This is excerpted from a post by David Kaufman, spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Jeshurun, the Reform synagogue in Des Moines, Iowa.

David Ben Gurion declared Jerusalem to be the “eternal capital” in 1949, the Israeli Knesset has been meeting in Jerusalem since 1950, and Jerusalem is where Israel’s prime minister resides. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It is an utter absurdity to dispute that. So why has it taken 68 years for America to officially recognize that fact?…

One could argue that perhaps this week wasn’t the best week for recognition to come or that perhaps it is happening now because of other things in the news cycle. Many do not like anything that President Trump says or does and therefore immediately seek to condemn any and every action taken. But friends, when there were better times, if there truly ever were better times for this to happen, it did not.

President after president essentially said, “We accept the delusion” or “We will continue to force the Israelis to accept the delusion.”

And the result of that acceptance was the acceptance of anti-Semitism, of allowing only the Jewish state of all nations in the world to be prohibited from declaring its capital, of expressly avoiding having ambassadors residing where its national institutions and leadership have resided for decades, of listing events with the leadership of the Jewish state, including at its national legislature or its major national cemetery, as taking place in “Jerusalem,” without including the name of the nation or even worse, including the name of the nation, Israel, with “Israel” crossed out or blacked out.

Some are now arguing that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should have come in exchange for something that we wanted as a concession, that we should have held our recognition of reality as ransom in order to blackmail Israel into making policy changes. If friends don’t let friends drive drunk, they sure as hell don’t blackmail them.

Somehow, too many nations got into a mindset where reality was irrelevant or to be held hostage to hostile delusions. Did no one ask how any peace process could even take place with one side holding to reality and the other to delusions? Did no one ask how any peace process could take place with one side demanding that everyone else accept their delusions as fact in the negotiations?

This is merely the first delusional domino of many to fall. No negotiations can be based on delusions. They cannot be based on “what might have been true if…” or on unreasonable possibilities. They must always be based upon what is, with the understanding that the parameters of the negotiations will change if they wait too long. What was possible and reasonable in 1947, 1949, 1966, 1967, 1973, 1993, 2001, 2007, 2014, and 2016 may not be possible, realistically is assuredly not possible, in 2017 or 2018.

Meanwhile, this president made certain to note that the exact boundaries of Jerusalem are up for negotiation and that nothing precludes Jerusalem, or some portion of it, from also being the capital of a future Palestinian state.

He stated in his declaration: “We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.”

There are certainly things that this president has said and done with which many of us take significant issue. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should not be one of them.

If indeed one argues that said recognition might have been done at a better time, one must also acknowledge the shamefulness of it having not been done for the previous 68 years in which Jerusalem clearly has functioned as Israel’s capital.

So in the end, thank you, Mr. President for having our nation recognize what should have been recognized long ago, that Jerusalem is indeed the capital of Israel.

The full version of this article can be found at (“Centrist Advocates for Realistic Peace”). David Kaufman also posts at