1. One of the first arguments critics make against recognizing Jerusalem is that it would so anger the Palestinians that the peace process would never recover. But the Palestinians have rejected every offer of statehood, and have not been willing to engage in real talks with Israel since the Bush administration. They’re already unwilling to negotiate, and were especially unwilling during the Obama years, when the president was openly acting as their advocate. If they are so incensed that the United States is finally recognizing Jerusalem that they will never talk again, it tells us that a negotiated agreement was never possible in the first place.
2. Despite the likelihood of protests and perhaps violence in the next few days, U.S. recognition of Jerusalem will actually promote peace in the long run because it will help disabuse the Arab world of its fantasy of Israeli impermanence. It will also show Palestinians for the very first time that their rejectionism has costs, and that it will not permanently paralyze U.S. policy toward Israel. The cause of peace is weakened so long as the delusion of Israel’s impermanence is encouraged by U.S. policy.
3. Another argument common among Middle East pseudo-sophisticates is that recognizing Jerusalem would drive a wedge between Israel and the Arab states, right at the moment when the threat from Iran is bringing them together. This sounds plausible, but the opposite is probably true. The Arab states’ recent rapprochement with Israel is not ideological—it is expedient, because the Arabs are comparatively weak and are seeking protection from a stronger power. Israel’s embrace of U.S. recognition doesn’t change this reality. Indeed, by confidently demonstrating its willingness to assume risk, and by showing its closeness to America, Israel’s attractiveness to the Arab states who need its help against Iran only increases. Arab regimes will howl in public, but in private they understand that only a strong, focused country can protect them. And that understanding will draw them closer to Israel.
4. The most craven argument against recognition is that it will spark Arab violence. This argument is being aggressively promoted by former Obama administration officials and their media allies, and by Palestinian and Jordanian officials, who barely attempt to conceal their mau-mauing of western countries with threats of rioting and terrorism. The United States’ response to this tactic should be to tell them to pound sand. We cannot allow Middle East rent-a-mobs to exercise a veto over our foreign policy, especially not on an issue in which the threat of violence originates in the rank anti-Semitism of those who deny Jewish history and Jewish political rights in Israel. If the King of Jordan wants to send crowds of his subjects into the streets to riot, that is his problem. What has been pathetic and depressing to witness is the astounding number of western reporters and pundits who are happy to retail a messaging campaign that is barely distinguishable from blackmail.
5. Speaking of westerners who are happy to promote blackmail: The hypocrisy of their sudden concern for violence in the Middle East can only be described as shameless. The very same people—the Obama administration officials and their media and think tank friends—who made endless excuses for doing nothing about the mass slaughter in Syria, or Iran’s takeover of Iraq and fueling of war in Yemen, and who cheered the nuclear deal with Iran, which filled the coffers of the leading state sponsor of terror with billions and put it on a glide path to nuclear weapons—these very same people are now so concerned about peace and stability in the Middle East that they need fainting couches over a speech that recognizes Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. How stupid do they think we are?