Much has been reported about previous presidents saying they would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital only to ignore their pledge after being sworn in. The fact that American presidents were expected to say one thing during the campaign and do another thing once they were elected is, on its face, an unhealthy way to conduct policy. The routine was not sophisticated, subtle or nuanced. It was phony, hypocritical and had devolved into serving our enemies more than our friends.
Of course, with Trump, the administration’s shift was a singular event, not connected to a broader strategy. It was ragged and uncoordinated. But that does not diminish the fact that it is a meaningful accomplishment with long-term consequences. That Trump’s decision to stand with Israel has been greeted with protests around the world and a high-profile vote of disapproval at the United Nations was, if not a teachable moment, certainly a good reminder of Israel’s isolation. Anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise, and the fashionable boycott of Israel continues to be exploited by the ignorant.