Trump Makes His Move on Jerusalem
If there’s one thing President Trump understands, it’s real estate. And there aren’t many pieces of property whose value exceeds that of Jerusalem. The entire country is only slightly larger than Massachusetts, but no nation has played a greater role in the history of the world than the tiny swath of land tucked in an uneasy Middle East. And after a quarter-century of promises, it’s time, the White House announced yesterday, to give Jerusalem the respect it deserves.
Donald Trump confirmed reports that his administration would do what every president since 1995 has failed to: move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The decision is a bold one, since it signals that America won’t be held hostage to a fractious peace process that’s frightened other administrations away from doing what this White House now is. Since Congress ordered the move 22 years ago, Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have postponed it, letting the threat of violence to dictate American policy. As far as Donald Trump is concerned, that timidity ends now.
After eight years of watching Barack Obama butcher relations with America’s closest ally, Donald Trump is not about to shrink back from recognizing what the world already does: Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people. “Old challenges require new approaches,” the president said. “I judge this course of action to be in the best interests of the U.S. and the pursuit of peace.”
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude, international leaders bemoaned the decision, fretting that it would heighten tensions and increase attacks. “People are going to die now because of what was said today!” wailed a hysterical Chris Matthews on MSNBC. Guess what, writes the National Review’s Jim Geraghty. People are going to die in the Middle East no matter what we do. It’s time to stop basing our decisions on a pattern of violence that no one — including America — has been able to end. “We just witnessed roughly a half-million people get killed in the Syrian Civil War. Maybe the region generates its own conflicts, disputes, and unrest on its own, regardless of where our embassy is. Nobody makes [anyone] in the Middle East pick up weapons and start trying to kill each other. Maybe it’s time all the players in the region stopped using the United States as the scapegoat for their own decisions.”
Does the White House care about the peace process? Of course. But, as a senior administration official told Politico, “Delaying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has done nothing to achieve peace for more than two decades.” Besides, as my radio guest Gregg Roman wondered in a great Hill op-ed, “How can Israel make peace when the Palestinians don’t want peace?” Until they do, the Palestinian authorities are just one of the groups about to realize (if they don’t already) that they’re dealing with a very different American leader in Donald Trump. This president, more so than any other president in my lifetime, has kept his promises. Here, as with so many other issues, he’s following through on a Republican platform that he embraced from the beginning — a platform that calls for moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital.
On “Washington Watch,” Gregg reminded our listeners that this isn’t just sound policy — it’s the law.
“The national security waiver [that allows presidents to kick the embassy move down the road every six months] has been acting as a political football for subsequent administrations to pass the buck… President Trump is the only one brave enough to embrace that law, to embrace the political platform of the Republican Party. And dare I say, the Democrats had the same position as well, if you look at their platform. This is a bipartisan issue. It’s something where there’s multinational consensus, and President Trump is the only one willing to move that policy forward.”
This is the perfect example of Ronald Reagan’s motto, “Peace through strength.” In the end, this is a question of U.S. sovereignty. We can’t continue to make decisions based on what other nations will think. We have to do what’s in the best interest of America and our allies. And while the process could take years — “It will take some time to find a site, address security concerns, design a new facility, fund a new facility … [and] build it” — yesterday’s decision is a major milestone in our countries’ historic relationship.
Like millions of people around the world, we thank the White House for taking this significant step. Under President Trump’s bold leadership, America’s foreign policy, as it pertains to Israel, is coming into alignment with biblical truth: Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state.
Originally published here.
Support for AF Colonel Soars
When Heather Wilson was picked to be secretary of the Air Force, she told the Senate: “Air Force policy must continue to ensure that all Airmen are able to choose to practice their particular religion.” Now, she has a chance to prove it.
FRC’s Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin and Travis Weber gave Wilson 77,024 reasons to reconsider the action taken against Col. Leland Bohannon. A distinguished combat pilot, Bohannan has served his country for more than 20 years. In May, the reputation he’d built in the Air Force came crashing down when his superiors decided that the colonel’s decision not to sign a “certificate of appreciation” for a same-sex spouse was enough to suspend him from duty.
Never mind that Col. Bohannon had requested a religious accommodation. Or that he’d consulted the command chaplain and a staff judge advocate. Leaders seemed determined to make an example of the dad of five, grounding him and snuffing out any chance of promotion. Eight senators were outraged, demanding that Air Force leaders intervene. Then, more than 77,000 of you piled on, urging justice for Bohannon and others like him.
Yesterday, Gen. Boykin and Travis delivered those petitions on behalf of FRC and our friends at American Family Association along with a letter signed by 31 religious advocacy groups.
“In his Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty issued earlier this year,” the organizations write, ‘President Trump stated that 'it shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom,’ and that people should be ‘free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government.’ Yet despite his impressive decades-long career with the Air Force, Col. Bohannon’s life and service are about to be derailed by the violation of this fundamental principle.
“Not only is there no right to a certificate of spousal appreciation, an accommodation should easily have been granted here… If the Air Force policy reflected the view of DOJ on this issue, those in Col. Bohannon’s situation would have no need to be concerned for their religious liberty in the first place, and we urge the Air Force to bring its policies into line with the understanding of the DOJ in this area… In addition to correcting Air Force policy to ensure this does not happen again, we respectfully request that you reverse the complaint against Col. Bohannon and remove any unfavorable materials related to this complaint from his record.”
As far as Gen. Boykin is concerned, “We not only delivered petitions, we delivered a message: We will not back down from defending the religious liberty of those in the military. The action taken against Colonel Bohannon is unacceptable, and Air Force policy must be corrected to ensure this does not happen again.” Thanks to tens of thousands of you, Secretary Wilson may be motivated to do just that!
Originally published here.
Del. Aware of Problems With Trans Rule
By now, you shouldn’t need convincing that your involvement matters! But in case you do, Delaware has just the thing. After a month-long uproar, parents in the First State managed to upset the state’s plans to let kids define their own race and gender — without ever calling home! The policy, known as Regulation 225 by the state’s education department, was all but a done deal until our friends at the Delaware Family Policy Council sounded the alarm. With just a 30-day comment period standing in the way of liberals’ new rule, council head Nicole Theis, in a frantic dash to warn voters, created such an uproar that the story made national news.
In the process, she also managed to gather more than 8,000 petitions against the policy, including a whopping 11,000 comments in the state register. This week, your input paid off! Gov. John Carney (D), who was the one directing superintendents and school boards to draft the ridiculous guideline, backed off. In a statement, Carney announced that he’d directed “the Development Team to reconvene in January to review the comments and make recommendations for changes to the regulation. If substantive changes are made, the regulation will be published … again with another 30-day public comment period.”
That momentum also spread like wildfire to local districts, where some — like Indiana River — fired off letters of intense opposition to state officials. Among their concerns? Fear that a non-transgender student would take advantage of “the premise of this regulation to gain access to private areas within the school,” which could “open the school district to substantial litigation.” The proposal also places “the district in direct conflict with students and their parents” and could lead to lawsuits and a lack of trust between the district and parents, board members wrote.
Also, the district goes on, “The law surrounding this issue is unresolved by the court system, increasing the likelihood of litigation. This regulation places the burden of litigation costs solely on the school district and not on the state. Our bathrooms and locker rooms were constructed to serve multiple people of the same sex… Private space is nearly non-existent. Most schools will be forced to renovate existing bathrooms and locker rooms to provide a higher level of privacy to all students. Once again, the school district will be required to shoulder the burden of the costs for these extensive renovations.”
Amazingly, 14 of the 16 members of the House Republican caucus also demanded that the state drop the issue and let local schools decide “on their own” how to handle the issue. Although the fight isn’t over (yet!), look at what we can accomplish in a single month when conservatives engage! Keep it up.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.