Making History by Recognizing History
BY CONGRESSMAN JASON SMITH
In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which called for officially moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support; however, it has been ignored by every President since it was signed into law – each promising to follow through, but failing to do so. That’s 22 years of broken promises to America’s greatest ally, Israel.
President Trump made history this week when he announced the United States will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the United States’ embassy into Jerusalem. He will be the only president to follow the Jerusalem Embassy Act since its passage into law. Israel is our friend and ally for democracy, rule of law and peace within the Middle East. Three past presidential administrations didn’t have the resolve to fully support our ally. Moving our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem affirms the Trump Administration’s commitment to Israel and their right to exist as a sovereign state in the world.
It takes courage, resolve and the acceptance of the consequences to come to make this announcement, but as a country we are strong – and it is high time we show our allies that we stand with them and support what is their rightful claim.
Israel is one of America’s greatest allies and holds a special place for followers of Judaism and Christianity alike. I traveled to the Holy Land a few years ago. I was without words walking down the same streets I grew up reading about in the Bible, seeing the birthplace of Jesus Christ and witnessing baptisms in the Jordan River. President Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital demonstrates the United States’ support of Israel. Not everyone in the world may agree with this decision, but President Trump is doing the right thing and showing that America is committed to standing with our allies, and supporting their sovereignty in the world.
More than anything else, our greatest hope and prayer is for lasting peace in the Middle East. But in that process, we must not forget who our friends are versus those who wish to do us harm. Peace cannot be made while the Palestinian Authority is continuing to carry out terror attacks against Israelis and Americans traveling in the area. U.S. Army officer and combat veteran, Taylor Force, was stabbed to death by a terrorist while on a trip to Israel in March of 2016. This week, in his honor, we passed the Taylor Force Act to stop U.S. tax dollars from getting into the hands of Palestinian terrorists like those who murdered Taylor. I have also authored legislation to crack down on the practice of boycotts, divestments and sanctions that foreign governments use to economically isolate and delegitimize Israel.
Last year, then-candidate Trump spoke about American-Israeli relations and promised that once he was elected, “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem. And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.” The same promise made by virtually every major party presidential candidate over the last 20 years – but with President Trump, the empty rhetoric of the past has finally come to an end.
What a contrast to one year ago when the United States allowed a resolution to move through the United Nations condemning the Israeli Nation. An organization funded by U.S. tax dollars attacking one of our greatest friends, a true shame. This week, we began to turn away from that chapter as we reaffirmed our commitment to a strong and prosperous Israel. Jerusalem is a sacred city that should bring out the best in humanity. With Hanukkah starting next week, I pray that both Israel and Palestine will continue to work towards a meaningful and lasting peace.