Trump netanyahu
Credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Wikimedia Commons

We’ve been doing an okay job of holding up the fence, but Trump has some momentum now and he’s beginning to knock shit down and break it. Next up is our relationship with the Muslim world, friend and foes alike. The Supreme Court got the ball rolling yesterday when they upheld Trump’s travel ban for people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Apparently, tomorrow Trump will pour some kerosene on the fire by announcing that we’re moving our Israel embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital.

Our allies are united in saying this is a very bad idea. Some of these countries may not be able to be our allies for much longer. Obviously our enemies are furious and will use this to recruit people who will do us harm. The worst part is probably that this is wholly unnecessary and can’t even solve any problems in theory. This isn’t like trying to rid your property of a wasp’s nest by hitting it with a bat. It’s like taking a wasp’s nest out of your neighbor’s yard, carrying it home, and then hitting it with a bat.

There’s simply no need to move our embassy at this time, and it’s a particularly reckless move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. There’s complete unanimity that this will cause a violent backlash and undue stress on our international relationships, with the only debate coming from people who welcome these problems.

The King of Jordan’s response was typical:

King Abdullah II strongly cautioned against the move, “stressing that Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world,” according to a statement from the royal palace in Amman.

“King Abdullah stressed that the adoption of this resolution will have serious implications for security and stability in the Middle East, and will undermine the efforts of the American administration to resume the peace process and fuel the feelings of Muslims and Christians,” the statement said.

The reaction from NATO member Turkey was similar:

In a televised speech, Mr Erdogan addressed the US president directly, saying “Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims.

“We could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue,” he added.

France does not approve:

“Mr. Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed that the question of Jerusalem’s status had to be dealt with in the framework of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, with the aim in particular to establish two countries, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security side by side with Jerusalem as capital.”

Egypt has warned against it. Saudi Arabia has warned against it.

But apparently, Trump has already informed Mahmoud Abbas that it’s a done deal.

Basically this is happening because Trump promised a bunch of American Christian fundamentalists that it would. Never mind that some of the most pissed people are Arab Christians, as King Abdullah II noted.

There isn’t even a conceivable way that this could make America citizens safer. It completely swamps any additional safety that might result from Trump’s travel ban.

And that’s not to mention that our security isn’t the only factor here. This is a dispute with more than one claimant, and it isn’t only our security that will be harmed.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at