Rubio: US should have its Israel embassy in Jerusalem

Marco Rubio stepped up his attacks on the Obama administration’s foreign policy regarding Israel at an appearance with the Republican Jewish Coalition. He called the White House strategy one of “delegating our national security to the international security,” which has “made the world a more dangerous place.” Rubio also expressed support for Israel’s designation of Jerusalem as its capital, pointing out that Israel is the only nation to whom the world dictates a choice of capital city. The Shark Tank asked Rubio about his position today:

Pointing out that the CIA World Factbook does indeed list Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Shark Tank lauds Rubio for supporting Israel’s claim:

But times have changed, and so has our government. President Barack Hussein Obama has turned everything upside down by receiving the representative of the Hamas controlled government and President of the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Abbas, thus giving legitimacy to terrorist organizations.

No major elected official or candidate has called for the acknowledgment of Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel- until now.

Actually, that’s not quite true. Two other major candidates called for that acknowledgment, or at least made the acknowledgment themselves. One of them was … Barack Obama, in 2008, while attempting to one-up John McCain at AIPAC. Unfortunately, he hit reverse as soon as the Palestinians objected:

Facing criticism from Palestinians, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged today that the status of Jerusalem will need to be negotiated in future peace talks, amending a statement earlier in the week that Jerusalem “must remain undivided.”

Obama, during a speech Wednesday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-israel lobbying group, had called for Jerusalem to become the site of the U.S. embassy, a frequent pledge for U.S. presidential candidates. (It is now in Tel Aviv.) But his statement that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel drew a swift rebuke from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. …

Obama quickly backtracked today in an interview with CNN.

“Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations,” Obama said when asked whether Palestinians had no future claim to the city.

The other was Hillary Clinton, who managed to get the wrong portion of the city in her declaration last year, while being Secretary of State:

Egypt and other Arab nations reacted with strong concern to remarks Clinton made in Jerusalem on Saturday. She caused a stir when she said with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at her side that his government’s offer to restrain — but not stop — settlement activity in Palestinian areas was unprecedented.

And in a new twist Tuesday, Clinton made what appeared to be an inadvertent slip of the tongue in a television interview with the al-Jazeera network, referring to the goal of “an Israeli capital in east Jerusalem.”

It has not been U.S. policy to favor including east Jerusalem in an Israeli capital; the Palestinians claim it as their capital, and the issue is one of the most important and delicate points that would have to be settled in any final peace deal between the two parties.

Two Clinton aides monitoring the interview alerted her to the mistake and that portion of the interview was retaped so she could correct herself.

I wrote at that time:

Anyone who has bothered to read the newspapers on Israel knows that East Jerusalem is part of the disputed territory.  While American Presidents have talked for decades about Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, not one has insisted on East Jerusalem.  It’s so incompetent that one has to wonder if Hillary has any real understanding of the conflict at all.

Should Rubio insist that the US move the embassy to Jerusalem?  Unlike Obama and Hillary, Rubio appears to actually understand the issue and have a principled position.  Congress has allocated money for years for just such a move, but Democratic and Republican Presidents alike have used their discretion to delay it.  It’s certainly an arguable, defensible position (as well as being right), and it draws more attention to the way Obama has fumbled the US-Israeli relationship.  They may not be doing it deliberately, but incompetence is hardly a consolation.