Why Is Moving The Embassy to Jerusalem a Controversial Decision?

December 06, 2017Dec 06, 2017

President Donald Trump announced that he's moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing it as Israel's capital. This decision has caused controversy across the world.

The foreign-policy establishment and America’s European and Arab allies have reacted negatively. All of them are opposed to the decision; they warn that it will cause violence throughout the Muslim world.

"If the United States moved the embassy to Jerusalem, it would mean that the US effectively recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," said CNN's Oren Liebermann "That would overturn 70 years of international consensus, and, many argue, would effectively signal the end of moves to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

Historically, the US has never had its embassy in Jerusalem. It has always been in Tel Aviv. However, that doesn't mean the embassy shouldn't be in Jerusalem.

In 1995, the United States Congress passed a law requiring America to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As President Trump noted in his speech, this was a bipartisan decision. Congress decided that the US should respect Israel's choice of Jerusalem as its capital.

However, while Congress made that decision, every President since 1995—Clinton, Bush, and Obama—declined to enforce their decision. Instead, they stuck tot he status quo.

"Every six months, the President has used the presidential waiver to circumvent the embassy move," noted CNN.

They did so because they claimed they feared unrest in the Middle East. That's the reason why peopled are criticizing President Trump for his decision.

However, as Jonathan Tobin wrote in his article for the National Review, unrest in the Middle East wouldn't mean the United States had rejected peace efforts. Arab or Muslim violence would mean they had rejected peace.

"[A]ny resulting Arab or Muslim violence will make explicit something that most of those opposed to the president usually refuse to acknowledge. The anger about a change in U.S. policy won’t stem from its supposed negative impact on peace negotiations but from a desire to destroy the Jewish state."

He added, "But continuing America’s historic refusal to recognize Israel’s rights in Jerusalem would have meant continuing to allow U.S. policy to be held hostage by extremists who have no interest in peace on any terms."

In other news, as President Trump said, the United States will get nowhere on facilitating peace between Palestinians and Israel using the same tactics. Moving forward, our policy needs to be influenced by striving for the best outcome for our Israeli allies and Palestinians alike.

As Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, it's time that the United States recognizes Israel's reality: Jerusalem is their capital.

"This is a day that is long overdue. Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel."


If you'd like to know more about the decision to recognize Jerusalem, read about why it matters Biblically and why it should matter to you. 

Next: Here's How President Trump's Jerusalem Decision Matters Biblically, HistoricallyDec 06, 2017