Jerusalem — connected
We present a photograph of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transiting the Strait of Hormuz in early September. She soon heads home for the final time in a long career.
Enterprise was commissioned in 1961, our first nuclear aircraft carrier. She and her many sailors and Marines have served our nation in Vietnam and more recently in the Middle East, sailing many times into the Gulf to support our troops on the ground in Iraq and in Afghanistan. A proud lady completes her last deployment.
You might ask what this all has to do with Jerusalem. I’ll try to tie it all together.
The Arabian (or Persian) Gulf is the important waterway of the Middle East. The Middle East is the much larger area that includes the State of Israel. Jerusalem, the Capitol City of that State, is a Holy City for Muslims, Jews and Christians. It is important as a place, as a historical site, as a holy city and as a political place and political idea. Israel is clearly an ally of the United States since its founding in 1948.
I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, obviously a part of the Middle East, for three-plus years. I was never privileged to travel to Jerusalem. I did make many Arab friends though, and I think I understand their thinking on their region. I was and am a supporter of Israel. Recent political actions in our country at the Democratic National Convention are of particular interest.
“The Democratic Party released a 2012 platform Tuesday that omits previous language describing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, sparking an unexpected dust-up just as President Barack Obama is prepared to accept his party’s nomination for a second term.” (Wall Street Journal 9 /5/12)
There ensued a further flap over the use of the word ‘God’ in that same platform. Each faux pas was quickly, and rather crudely corrected in a cliffhanger of a voice vote conducted among the delegates by the mayor of Los Angeles in the chair. Word had it that these corrections were made at the order of the President. Perhaps the damage had been done.
Lest Obama’s support for our ally Israel appear a bit tepid, Rep. Robert Wexler (R.Fl) defended the President from he podium: “Over the past four years the president has proven this commitment time and time again in both word and deed.” The WSJ went on, “Mr. Obama has had a shaky relationship with Israel and its hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2011, Mr. Netanyahu delivered a rare public rebuke of Mr. Obama at the White House over the president’s comments that peace negotiations should resume based on Israel’s borders before it gained new territory in the 1967 Six Day War.” Even Arabists thought that a bit strong.
“The official position of this administration on Jerusalem is no different than the position of numerous previous administrations of both parties – that it is a final issue to be negotiated directly by the two parties,” said a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. “Still when President George W. Bush was seeking re-election in 2004, the Republican platform stated that ‘Republicans continue to support moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.’ ” Mr. Bush never moved the embassy. When Al Gore ran in 2000 the party platform said “Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel.” The Journal further reported that, “A spokesman for the Israeli embassy declined to comment.”
“The Republican platform also changed its language regarding Jerusalem since 2008. The earlier version called for moving the American embassy to Jerusalem; the 2012 document reiterates that Jerusalem is Israeli’s capitol’ but doesn’t urge moving the embassy,” the Journal reported further. Mr. Romney seemed to get ahead of the issue some weeks ago. He angered Palestinians during a trip to Israel by saying in his address, “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the Capitol of Israel.” The White House reportedly disavowed his comments.
I recall that my Saudi friends didn’t necessarily like the presence of the State of Israel in their midst. They were, however, realistic people who understood that at that point in time it wasn’t going away. A shrewd fellow there once remarked to me that, “The guarantor of peace here is the Israeli Air Force.”
Perhaps we can see why the constant presence of United States power in the region.
As to the temporary removal of the word “God” from that same early Democratic platform draft, that seemed rather tempestuous even for a basically vital issue.
I heard a most articulate Rabbi call in to the Bill Bennett early morning radio show.
The Rabbi pointed out the long history of God in our Nation’s heritage. That should be enough on that one.