Jerusalem: Showing the Right Stuff
When Captain Scott O’Grady emerged from the Bosnian underbrush and gave a relieved America the “thumbs up” sign, Newsweek magazine hailed the young pilot as a gutsy American kid who had “the Right Stuff.”
Leaders of the U.S. Congress exhibited “the Right Stuff” when they put a resolution on the floor of both houses that would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s legitimate capital and immediately begin the process of moving our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. By midsummer, some 58 senators had signed on. Over in the House, a whopping 256 had endorsed the resolution. Timing for the move could not be better, for in 1996, when work on the embassy is slated to begin, Israel will be celebrating 3,000 years of Jerusalem’s being the nation’s capital.
But, strange as it may seem, both the White House and the Rabin government in Israel have been cool toward the initiative. In Washington, in fact, there has been talk of a presidential veto should the legislation pass. Jerusalem fretted that the move would rankle Arabs and disrupt the peace process.
Perhaps it is time to remind both parties that it may be appropriate to try and find someone with the chutzpah of the late U.S. President, Harry S. Truman, who, contrary to advice from his doomsday advisors, chose to listen to Chaim Weizmann and give the creation of the modern State of Israel the “thumbs up.” Did the Arabs grumble? Indeed they did—and promptly attempted to kill off the fledgling state. However, they were facing people in Israel and America who had “the Right Stuff” and knew, bottom line, when it was time to do the right thing.
For more than 40 years, Americans, Israelis, and many other international friends of Israel have known the right thing to do. Finding politicians with the stomach to do it has been another matter. At long last, we have found congressional leaders who possess the determination needed to say to our friends in the United Nations and Israel, and, yes, her enemies, “We’ve waited much too long to do the right thing about this issue. Whether you choose to come along or not, we’re on our way to Jerusalem.”
Will Arabs fume about it? Count on it. But, in the long run, we can be assured that such a show of American strength and will to do what is right will accomplish more toward setting a constructive climate for the time when future talks on Jerusalem begin that anything we could argue for at that time. There can, at the moment, be no reasonable doubt that the United Nations is moving along a fast track toward internationalizing Jerusalem and allowing Muslim oil sheiks a firm hold on the throttle. Thus, all of the current Israeli administration’s talk about not giving an inch on the issue of total political control of a united, Jewish Jerusalem has a hollow ring as long as the United States is told by the same people to wait until the world agrees that it is all right to proceed. As long as Muslim intransigence over who has first claim to Jerusalem is dignified by delay, we can be relatively sure that the “final solution” on the status of the city will not bode well for Israel.
An American Embassy in Jerusalem will say, for all to hear, that America believes in Israel and the right of the Jewish people to have international recognition for their capital in the place claimed by Israel’s King David 3,000 years ago. By standing with what the Bible dictates, historic evidence confirms, and moral obligation demands, America’s claim on being the leader of the free world will be strengthened, not diminished. In short, it is time for America to come out of the underbrush and do what America does best—show the world “the Right Stuff!”