Busting the myths around Trump’s Jerusalem declaration


Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has produced a lot of hot air; not only from the President himself, but from the mainstream media, which seems stuck more or less in the same narrative it’s been in for decades.

The truth is, though, that Trump’s announcement may represent an important break in the status quo. One commentator, from the excellent Israeli website +972, has even claimed that Trump’s announcement equates to a new Balfour Declaration (the 100-year old announcement from Britain’s Foreign Minister, which gave huge impetus to the Zionist movement). This is a highly dangerous shift, but there is also cause for optimism.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the prevailing narrative. It’s the one that has Israelis and Palestinians locked in a highly complex, centuries-old conflict that can only be resolved through a negotiated “peace process”. Neutral-ish outsiders (notably the US) have been trying to achieve peace decades, their well-meaning efforts constantly thwarted by the conflicting parties, either/both of whom are for the most part uncooperative, bloody-minded and, of course, prone to violence. The prevailing narrative finds room for pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians and for extremists and moderates. Rather than representing the truth, though, it has served as a smokescreen behind which a fundamentally unjust status quo is maintained.

I’m not going to deconstruct the whole narrative here. Plenty of others have done that far more eloquently than I can. But, I do want to bust a few of the myths that have been aired in recent days since Trump’s announcement.

Myth#1 “I’m just recognizing the facts on the ground”. Trump is saying, Jerusalem is an Israeli city, Israelis regard Jerusalem as their capital and the seat of their parliament. “Them’s the facts and I’m just living in the real world.” There is an appealing logic in this and, for sure, if you take a long historical view, it’s ultimately facts rather than fairness on the ground that matters (the international community is, after all, happy to recognize Texas as part of the USA). The international community has, however, never recognized East Jerusalem as part of Israel. Since its invasion in 1967, the United Nations and practically every country in the world has consistently condemned the ongoing occupation of East Jerusalem by Israel. Yes, it is a fact that Israel controls all of Jerusalem, but it is also a fact that is does so illegally (not to mention brutally). That is why no country til now has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that is why Trump’s announcement is such a big deal.

But, along comes Myth#2, “it’s just symbolic, it makes no practical difference”. So, yeah, apart from the US Ambassador who won’t have to drive from Tel Aviv for meetings in Jerusalem, who cares? So, calm down everyone, there’s not need to make a fuss. For a start, the amount of “fuss-making” is grossly overstated (see Myth#3), but the more importantly the danger is not the Palestinian reaction to this announcement but the Israeli one. Only a fool would dare guess exactly what Donald Trump’s intentions were in making this announcement, but the Israeli interpretation was immediately clear. It is a policy signal. It is a message from the Americans that they endorse the occupation and are giving Israel license to maintain and deepen its control over East Jerusalem. The Jerusalem municipality understood this even whilst the announcement was happening as it beamed an image of a US-Israeli flag on the exterior wall of Jerusalem’s Old City (that’s in East Jerusalem, by the way) and the announcement was seized upon within just one day with the decision that illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem would be expanded by a further 6000 housing units. We should expect to see further settlement expansion as well as an increase in house demolitions and confiscation of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem over the coming years. Such actions have often been blocked or delayed in the past by the Americans, who have never favoured a just solution to the occupation, but have sought to moderate it until now. So, clearly, this is about more than symbolism. But, even if it was, let’s not forget that it is not only Jews, but Palestinians too that crave Jerusalem as their capital, both with strongly valid historical claims. To recognize one set of claims but not the other, is a lop-sided symbolism at best.

That symbolism will lead to bloodshed, or so goes Myth#3, with many opponents of Trump’s decision justifying their position on the grounds that those pesky Middle Easters will yet again resort to violence instead of dialogue. And, yes, Palestinian youths in Jerusalem and Ramallah have thrown rocks and burnt tyres, and extremist groups in Gaza have fired rockets. They are, frankly, powerless to do anything else. At least this form of protest will make international news, unlike the many peaceful demonstrations that will go unreported. And, of course, Israel has responded with heavy fist, demonstrators have been sprayed with skunk and tear gas, young men (and children) arrested and a few retaliatory bombs have fallen on Gaza. But, the claim that this will result in a serious escalation in the conflict is a myth. It will not. Such violence as has been seen in the past week is commonplace and Palestinian leadership (outside of Gaza at least) is too fragmented and disrespected to organize anything meaningful. This will not lead to a third intifada.

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Besides, what good would that achieve anyway? Palestinian leadership of the Yasser Arafat era learnt that a well-executed, well-supported campaign of violence and diplomacy could yield results (the Oslo Accords). Since then, however, both violence and diplomacy, as well as peaceful demonstration and attempts to build an international movement, have failed and the situation of Palestine has steadily worsened. The international community continues to support the “peace process”, but its cycle of optimism followed by failure has only emboldened Israel over time. It knows full well that it can outrage the international community once, twice, three times before returning to the peace table again for fresh talks that will again fail allowing its belligerent takeover of Palestine to continue step by patient step.

Trump’s announcement, though, has smashed once and for all, the lie that is the peace process. In doing so, he is enabling Israel to move apace toward its eventual goal of swallowing the two-state solution into a greater Israel. But, through his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of one nation only, the US can no longer credibly claim to be anything like a neutral party. This is a potentially a significant event and the reason why, as I wrote back in February, many Palestinians were optimistic about Donald Trump’s election on the basis that tearing up the prevailing narrative, regardless of its immediate consequences, is preferable to the death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts status quo.


  1. Trump’s action could bring the decades long stalemate to a head I suppose. A number of important nations, and it might finish up being many are announcing setting up embassies in East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Will they actually do it? Will the occupying power prevent them? Even if they are China? which has made this announcement.
    It’s possible the move could result in much more intense international pressure for a solution.
    D J S

  2. As Gideon Levy, who recently visited New Zealand, said, The Zionists have never been interested in a two state solution. But in the maintenance and imposition of an apartheid state, wherein the state of Israel recognises no human rights at all for the Palestinian population. Not to citizenship, not to property rights, not to freedom of movement, not to freedom of worship, not to the right of habeas corpus. Not even in fact to the right of life itself, up to and including, deliberate mass murder.

    Visitors to Israel from South Africa who lived through apartheid rule in their country have described the Israeli apartheid system as far worse.

  3. Visitors to Israel from South Africa who lived through apartheid rule in their country, have described the Israeli apartheid system as far worse.

    In New Zealand during the South African apartheid era, we used to say, “No normal sporting relations with an abnormal state”.

    And in truth, how can any nation have any normal diplomatic relations of any type with an apartheid state?

    How will a US Embassy based in Jerusalem actually be built, and how will it operate under the Zionist apartheid laws?

    For a start, no doubt, only Israelis will actually build it.

    And by recognising and operating in the illegally occupied heart of the apartheid state of Israel, the US will have to decide whether their embassy will operate separate queues and facilities for Israeli citizens, alongside separate queues and facilities for Palestinians. Or alternatively, no queues, or facilities, at all for Palestinians. (There is no option for equal treatment for Israelis and Palestinians, in the Zionist apartheid state).

    No doubt the current US embassy in Tel Aviv already operates under some of these apartheid restrictions placed on Palestinians, but these apartheid exclusions and rules will be more noticeable and extreme in Jerusalem.

    Lesser and separate facilities, or no provisions at all for the Palestinians, in the new US embassy will be an open recognition by the US government of the fascist notion of a ‘non-people’ with no right to automatic citizenship in Jerusalem or any other part of the Zionist state.

    As a functioning part of the Zionist occupation, enforcing the apartheid system of exclusion against Palestinians, the new US embassy in Jerusalem, must by its very nature be built to reassemble a fortified military installation.

    Will any other country follow the US example and move their embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

    The answer is probably no.

    Because no other country in the world has the resources, (or the will), to build and defend such an edifice.

  4. As a puppet of the Alt-Right and 1%, Trump is carrying out their neo-fascist agenda to the letter.

    His tax cuts for the 1% and US corporations, whilst only temporarily cutting taxes for the rest of Americans, and then raising their taxes, should not be lost on anyone.

    “Draining the swamp”? Hell no. He just re-stocked with more vile critters.

  5. An excellent post, thanks for that ‘Nomad’!

    As for this comment under ‘Myth #2’:

    “Only a fool would dare guess exactly what Donald Trump’s intentions were in making this announcement, but the Israeli interpretation was immediately clear. It is a policy signal. It is a message from the Americans that they endorse the occupation and are giving Israel license to maintain and deepen its control over East Jerusalem.”

    Maybe I am a ‘fool’ at times, but it is rather clear that US President Trump has expressed his own view and intention, that Israel should be allowed to do what it sees fit, as a government over the lands it controls and occupies. Trump hangs out with the Zionists and also the Evangelist Christians in the US, and his family ties do the rest:




    With a son in law, who has financially supported illegal settlements, who is a ‘friend’ to Benjamin Netanjahu and his family, and with a daughter who converted to Judaism, Donald Trump is damned biased, there is no doubt about this.

    We know what Likud stand for:

    A pro Zionist party that was happy to go into alliances with this man and his Zionist party:

    The Aliyah and the Law of Return are followed by the Israeli governments:

    Immigration of Jews and their families from the ‘diaspora’ has bolstered the settlement movement, and led also to the establishment of many illegal settlements, now scattered all over the occupied West Bank. It is all wanted anyway, the plan is the gradual seizure of all the lands that some like to turn into a Greater Israel.

    The remnants of the West Bank and Gaza are nothing but strictly controlled modern day ghettos, hence no matter how harsh and brutal the regime that Israel enforces upon the Palestinians there, they have little real power to defend themselves or even fight settlers and the Israeli Defence Force.

    Earlier resistance has largely been stifled by force, through military, secret service actions, sanctions, boycotts and curfews, anything going in and out of the occupied territories is controlled by Israel, and states such as Jordan and Egypt do generally collaborate with the Israeli government and forces. The once used tunnels have mostly been found, blocked and destroyed.

    So yes, no matter how unjust, how much in breach of international law and UN vetoes, whatever Israel does will in most likelihood lead to no new Intifada or other forms of uprising by the Palestinian Arabs.

    Israel has near perfected the Apartheid and suppression regime, while most of the world looks away, or pays little but lip service.

    As we have an Israeli friendly Deputy PM now, there is NO voice of serious criticism to be expected from our government. Thus in some ways, what happens in Palestine, is through inaction also condoned by New Zealand’s government and the anyway largely passive and disinterested NZ public.

    Who cares about the rights of people in other parts of the world, most are only interested in what comes into their pockets and goes onto their own plates. Welcome to ‘The State of Humanity 2017/18’.

    Those who dare take up arms, they will be labelled ‘terrorists’, and they will then be dealt to swiftly. It is a form of modern day, sophisticated fascism, nothing else.

  6. If I type “capital of Israel” int Google, it says “Jerusalem”
    Every US President since Bill Clinton has acknowledged that as a fact.

      • Google is owned by Jews, and you hate Jews

        I get it, it’s been going on for thousands of years, and the odious human garbage that call themselves New Zealanders, a country colonised by White Supremacists, lead the world in Jew hatred

        This is why, perhaps, NZ is the only English speaking country to welcome Nazi war criminals

        • What’s your drug for the night, Andy? It is upsetting your electricity flow through the cells between your ear lobes.

          I never mentioned the word ‘Jew’, I was referring to Zionists, look it up, get the difference?

          • Yes I do get the difference. Jew and Zionist are different.

            I don’t see any difference though, because you guys keep attacking Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,

            Jew Hatred masks itself as anti-Zionism.

            It is these days perfectly acceptable for Muslims to congregate on the streets of London and scream for the murder of Jews, and to post pictures of Arabs lynching Rabbis on social media

            So you can bang on all you like about “anti-Zionism”.

            I’m just seeing it as good old fashioned Jew Hatred.

            Happy Hannukah

            • Israel is the bitch of the U.S. and vice-versa.
              Israel the only democracy in the ME? I think you mean TERRORIST. Let’s get it right.

            • I don’t see any difference though, because you guys keep attacking Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,

              Ancient classical Greece was a democracy as well, Andy. Fully democratic for all Greek citizens.

              But not for the tens of thousands of slaves owned by Greeks.

              For them, there was no democracy.

              Being a “democracy” is not synonymous with justice, Andy. It’s just a nice sticky-plaster to stick over a weeping sore.

            • I notice in your pictorial you have a golliwog. How sensitive of you.The golliwog was a stuffed toy that came to represent the racial superiority of the white man. Much like the black and white minstrel show.Or always showing a black person munching a water melon .Derogatory stereotypes. You are so busy looking for racial insults that you have perpertrated one yourself. Not the sharpest pencil in the pack!!

        • Google is owned by Jews, and you hate Jews

          No, Andy. You would like us to “hate” Jews. Then you can wrap your argument in the cloak of anti-semitism, and deflect and ignore the real issues and problems under discussion.


        • Google shareholders:





          So who is the ‘Zionist’, I wonder?

          Apart from the Jewish Sergey Brin, none appear to be Jewish, let along Zionists.

          I was having you on, and you fell into the trap, Andy.

          Perhaps it is just due to ‘Israel’ according to Google having a wider meaning, in historic terms, going back over 2000 years, that Google gives Jerusalem as one prime search result for ‘capital of Israel’? Perhaps it is due to Google being based in the US, hence operating under US American ignorant culture and bias? There may be many reasons, but Jerusalem cannot in its whole be the capital of Israel, as East Jerusalem is occupied and not part of the state of Israel of our days.

  7. The US had their ass kicked in Syria by the Russians and have no legitimate or justifiable reason to maintain a military presence there. I suspect creating further unrest in the ME only provides another pretext for the US to stay as both they and Israel plot against Iran/Syria. The American dream is built upon endless wars and the weaponisation of the USD

  8. In the middle of jer/usa/lem is USA. This provocation is ‘end-Timing’ toward Iran as the next designated enemy in the expansionist pogrom of Israel/US/Anglo/Saud (neoconazionst) alliance – stymied by the SAA/Russian/Iranian forces against it in Syria.
    ex-NATO Wesley Clarke testified to a post 911 (inside job) Pentagon plan for regime change in ‘Afghanistan. IRAQ. Libya. Sudan. Lebanon. Syria, Iran.’
    Israel was born of Chaos and has weaponized it. Orders and utilizes provocation and chaos as method/cover to further it’s never ending expansion [land theft] begun by Balfour and the 1947 Nakbar (YINON plan)…essentially a racist [apartheid] invasion of Palestine.
    The US christianZionists blow hard for rapture. So they favor incendiary action. They back TRUMP .
    As said, the aim of the neoconazionists was and is Iran. ‘They’ keep telling us so. The post 911inside job “regime change” operation, fully deployed after their successful WTC “New Pearl Harbour” deception, was halted in Syria. This has angered the proponents, so now trigger the next wave of violence to further the expansionist agenda.

    • Anyone aware of this :”….not reported by the mainstream media, that immediately after promising the US Embassy would be moved to Jerusalem, Trump signed a ‘waiver’ postponing the move indefinitely, or until the international situation becomes ‘clear(er)’.

      ?? If true, Trump and mainstream have conspired a duplicity rarely so clearly seen.
      Except maybe the non-reporting of the “white helmet” ghouls as MI6 Britprop – and Victoria Nuland/USAID balls deep in the Ukrainian coup…and FREEFALL #7….
      Trump publically waves a huge violence into being with one signature while also -but unreported- ‘waives’ it’s actual physical move until he sees how much shit hit the fan as result of a pretence the move was actually taking place?
      Interesting foreign policy method. Must make all other world governments feel secure Knowing uncle USAMO is bat crazy.
      Maybe the slueths at RadNZ will dig out the truth of it

    • ‘Remo’ is back, with conspiracy theories:
      “The post 911inside job “regime change” operation…”

      Israel as we know it now was NOT born out of chaos by the way, it was planned by the Zionists and their helpers, and the plan was well executed.

      • I haven’t been away Marc.
        I have been reading my History.

        Recognising the ‘well executed Zionist plan,’ is admission of the conspiracy and the chaos, because that ‘well executed plan’ was murder and chaos to those driven by it, into the intergenerational refugee (ghetto)camps Marc. The land literally stolen under them without sentiment and totally, abjectly, against the Balfour agreement. A land now under occupation by a UN designated apartheid regime. And, same as the US ‘democracy’ (USAMO) and the Saud fascist state it allies with, is a farce of epic proportion pretending conciliation while ‘executing’ it’s Phoenix program on anything and everything said against it. A systemic brute epistemology effecting the whole world, one way or another. TRUMPs cynical provocation proves that point with clarity.
        Israeli fingerprints are all over 911 Marc. Call the alternative investigation of that designed terror event what you will. An event “Planned (conspired) by the zionists and their enablers in the ‘homeland,’ to breakup the Middle East advantaging Israeli permanence and expansion. Which could never have been achieved by Israel alone. Read the reporting of Christopher Bollyn for the details.
        Those jumping to their deaths and the uncounted numbers killed in the regime change Wars begun by it;
        can all be considered “well executed” too.

  9. I do not think you are a Friend. But You are certainly right about the bullshit Marc.
    The GWOT, is bullshit.
    Creating a False Flag war against Islam using Islam as designated patsy and proponent is psyop bullshit at the most extreme level and a crime against humanity.
    A hate crime of the most disgusting nature.

    And you are arguing FOR it.

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