By Larry Gordon
Chances are that as this paper is coming out of those giant presses in Long Island City, President-elect Donald Trump will have made his choice for the next Secretary of State to serve in his new administration, or will be very close to doing so.
And as far as the important matter of Israel is concerned, it looks like regardless of who is eventually selected (or has already been chosen) it will be a winning situation for the Jewish state. The choice, or rather the competition, seems to be between former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former presidential candidate and governor Mitt Romney. Other rumored possibilities include former UN ambassador John Bolton and possibly former CIA director General David Petraeus.
Does it really make a significant difference to Peru or Madagascar who the next Secretary of State is? Is anyone in El Salvador or Canada lying awake at night worried about which direction U.S. foreign policy will drift under a new secretary? To which country did it matter that Secretary John Kerry and before him Hillary Clinton had a tilted vision of what peace would ultimately look like between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors? Only Israel and possibly, as a less critical concern, a few other countries nearby.
Whether it is Rudy, Mitt, or any of the others mentioned, they all have one important thing in common—the awareness of the complete fraud of Arab claims, especially Palestinian positions, on the land of Israel. With the installation of a new secretary in a Trump administration, the first thing that will be gone is this absurd notion that the city of Jerusalem should be divided or shared in some fashion.
Also gone will be the idea of the need for another Arab state, that is a so-called state of Palestine, as a way of creating an era, if not an atmosphere, of peace in the region. There are still some 50 days to go in the presidency of Barack Obama, and he still can inflict damage on Israel and the world in general with his errant and irresponsible policies. Hopefully logic and sense will prevail and Obama will be shown how no one would appreciate that and it would only damage his legacy.
The positive news is that the rightness of the Jewish cause and the legitimacy of Israel is not a matter of hesitancy by either Rudy or Mitt or a Department of State that they would be heading up. Both have been to Israel and have close relationships with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other key figures in Israel’s government.
And the coming year will be a particularly auspicious and important one, as it marks 50 years since the Six Day War, the liberation of Jerusalem and the territories and land that is biblical Israel from time immemorial. One would think that the passage of a half-century would in and of itself contribute significantly—without considering the previous history—to the attachment of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. But that was not the case as far as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry were concerned. To that triumvirate, Israel’s borders as well as the safety and security of its citizens have an air of expendability to them. Ceasing construction in settlement communities where hundreds of thousands of Jews reside, and splitting Jerusalem in half, was something that would never be removed from the agenda of a high official who is a Democrat.
Whether the next Secretary of State is Giuliani, Romney, Bolton, or Petraeus, that old, tired, and backward way of thinking will hopefully be reversed. Rearranging or changing the way the world thinks specifically about Israel will probably not happen overnight. For decades, Israeli leaders have been speaking about the sacredness and inviolability of Jerusalem and how it would be anathema to entertain at any level the idea of actually dividing the city. But despite that, over the years, governments like those of Rabin, Barak, and Olmert had seriously considered physically driving a wedge, building another wall, and cutting the city in half.
Fortunately, nothing ever came of those plans, as a result of Divine intervention and a bumbling Palestinian Authority. With the ascension of the Trump administration and a new Secretary of State, this nightmare scenario that squeezes and makes demands only of Israel will in all likelihood come to an end.
The first trial balloon and step in a healthy direction will be the matter of relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Israel’s capital city in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is and has been the capital of Israel from the formation of the state and on another level for thousands of years prior to that. The point of this exercise and the possible relocation of the U.S. embassy is more symbolism than anything else.
The Arab population dedicated to disassembling the Jewish state can riot and cause all kinds of destruction for much less than that. The conventional wisdom up to now has been to maintain the status quo—that is, no changes in policy and leaving well enough alone.
That may have been good enough up to this point, but at the same time, considering that it is U.S. law that the embassy move from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, we are at the stage where if it is not done soon it may never happen. And any one of the proposed candidates for Secretary of State is the type of personality to get this accomplished.
From our New York perspective, Giuliani would be good for this position. We know that he understands well the issue at hand and will have little tolerance for the two-faced doublespeak that the Palestinians are known for. Romney would be able to get the same thing done but will do so in a less direct and more suave and un-Trump-like fashion.
And this could possibly be the catalyst for the interest in Romney over Giuliani if at the end that is the president-elect’s choice. A President Trump will have the final word on all foreign policy, as is the tradition in this country. The concern that a Secretary of State Romney will set up his own shop at State and craft his own foreign policy is extremely unlikely. Giuliani would also be a great choice, but the fact that he is such a loyalist to Mr. Trump just might be a drawback. The new president may just prefer someone who has a slightly different worldview and can present a variety of options on any number of overseas matters.
Policy on Cuba and relations with Russia are a big part of our foreign-policy apparatus. But somehow it is relations and policy on Israel which always gravitate back to the world’s center stage. And now after eight years of friction and contentiousness under Clinton and Kerry, we may be at the point where the natural friendship that is the hallmark of the U.S.–Israel relationship can finally be realized and developed to its full potential. Good days are ahead.
Comments for Larry Gordon are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.