Chris Matthews: Trump is recognizing Jerusalem to appease evangelicals with their crazy mythical beliefs about Israel

Who says the media’s out of touch with heartland America? This is the same guy, by the way, who was left scratching his head not long ago by the thoroughly mainstream belief that the Constitution enshrines rights given by God rather than creates them itself.

The best part comes at the beginning when he laments that if the Palestinians don’t have “hope” then the world will have an “unending problem,” quite in contrast to what it has now, I guess. Peggy Noonan makes a more coherent argument, that Trump may be keeping a campaign promise in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but is extracting nothing in return and risks making an eternally fraught political situation more dangerous. That’s an odd thing for a self-styled dealmaker to do. The counterargument is that by recognizing Jerusalem he is doing something productive, trying to reshape Palestinians’ expectations of what a peace deal realistically will look like. It won’t include sovereignty over Jerusalem; there’s no sense perpetuating false hope, to answer Matthews’s point. But if there’s a backlash — and it’s less a question of “if” than how violent it’ll be — then Trump may come under pressure to throw the Palestinians a bone too by saying something Netanyahu doesn’t want to hear. Something about settlements in the West Bank, maybe?

Probably not, no.

Note, by the way, how Matthews pre-spins the violence that’ll follow this as something for which Trump is morally responsible. “We’re going to have hell to pay” for this decision, he warns, which is right in line with what Hamas said earlier today, oddly enough. If Hamas blows up a bus in Tel Aviv, whom will Matthews blame for that, them or Trump?

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David Strom 10:01 AM on February 04, 2023