According to reports in the Israeli press, several other countries will follow President Trump’s lead and move their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem. Who is doing this and why speaks volumes about the moral condition of the world.
Hungary’s President Viktor Orban reportedly vetoed a European Community resolution condemning Trump’s action, and Hungary is expected to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Orban has fought a public war of words with liberal mega-donor George Soros all year, and polite opinion claims that Orban is an anti-Semite. His political base includes plenty of anti-Semites, to be sure. But he is also pro-Israel. The UK Independent complains of a “dangerous tendency” to be anti-Semitic and pro-Israel at the same time. I’ll take Orban any day over lefties who claim to like Jews but hate the Jewish State. Orban doesn’t want his country swamped by Muslim migrants, and the European Community has threatened Hungary with sanctions for refusing to accept its assigned migrant quota.
The Philippines reportedly will move its embassy to Jerusalem as well. The connection between the overwhelmingly Catholic nation in Southeast Asia and Israel is surprising, but strong: Filipinos comprise most of the 60,000 Catholic guest workers in Israel, and a thriving Catholic Church with services in Tagalog as well as Hebrew ministers to their spiritual needs. Hebrew-speaking Catholicism flourishes in Israel.
The Czech Republic has long been Israel’s strongest supporter in Europe, and it is no surprise that Prague was the first to follow President Trump in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Polite (that is, appeaser) opinion in Europe abhors Trump’s action. But it is interesting to see who dissents. Of all of Europe’s major dailies, only Germany’s Die Welt–a center-right broadsheet that has criticized Angela Merkel’s open door for migrants–steadfastly supports Israel.
Clemens Wergin, the Washington correspondent of Germany’s center-right daily Die Welt, hails the move of America’s embassy to Israel to Jerusalem. “The right step,” Wergin titled his commentary. “Palestinian propaganda stubbornly refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and also denies the Jewish presence in the Holy Land which has endured for millennia, as well as the Jews’ deep historical connection to it. That’s why it is high time for the West to understand the Palestinians’ historical obscurantism as an obstacle to peace. If the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital makes the Palestinian leadership recognize the useless of their campaign to delegitimize Israel, it would be worth it for that reason alone.”
Another commentary this morning hails “Trump’s courage to tell the truth” about Jerusalem.
Israel remains the “paragon and exemplar of a nation” (Franz Rosenzweig), the original and most successful expression of nationalism, and an inspiration to Europeans and others who don’t want to be pureed into an insipid, globalized non-identity. As I wrote in Standpoint magazine this month, Israel remains an inspiration to the New Nationalism. No other issue separates the sheep so clearly from the goats.