This was an important achievement for the Zionist movement, a cause for celebration and a foundational part of Israel’s history and its legitimacy. But the resolution was not the decisive factor in Israel’s birth. More crucial was the reality on the ground. By the time the United Nations passed the resolution, the foundations for a Jewish state were in place. Jews living in Palestine “had achieved a critical developmental and demographic mass,” as the historian Benny Morris recently explained. They were ready and determined. A United Nations resolution was just icing the cake.
Similarly, Jerusalem is unmistakably Israel’s capital, whether outsiders accept this fact or not. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges to this reality: The international community is not yet ready to accept it and the Palestinians claim that the city is theirs. The demographic realities are, indeed, tricky. About a third of the city’s residents are Arab. Nonetheless, the facts are the facts.