Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.), recently delivered a presentation entitled “Jerusalem: What is At Stake?” to about 100 legislators, congressional staffers, and think tank members in the Senate Auditorium of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
At the March 13 event, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer introduced Gold, praising him as a first-rate scholar and longtime diplomat, adviser to peace negotiations, and former Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
There have been four major decisions in the history of Zionism, said Dermer: the Balfour Declaration, the U.N.’s Partition Resolution, President Truman’s recognition of the State of Israel, and President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. These actions did not create Israel as a new entity, he said, but politically acknowledged the longstanding right of the Jews to Israel.
Dermer praised President Trump for laying “an important cornerstone for peace” by confronting Palestinian rejectionism of Israel. The minute the Palestinians recognize a Jewish connection to Jerusalem, he said, the whole edifice of Palestinian rejectionism would begin to collapse because it would mean that the Jewish people are in Israel “not merely by might, but by right.”
“Dealing with this Palestinian rejectionism is critical if you are going to advance peace,” he said, “and the rejectionism is strongest, and of course most absurd, when it comes to Jerusalem.” Gold, a Jerusalem resident like Dermer, said that Trump’s announcement “effectively put to rest” the idea of a corpus separatum (“separate body” in Latin), a status proposed for Jerusalem in the U.N. Partition plan, which has persisted through the present. He said Trump was also correcting decades of diplomatic distortions at the U.N. and he was finally fulfilling the Jerusalem Embassy Act from 1995.
“This was the greatest gift the United States could give to Israel on the 70th anniversary of its birth,” said Gold.
In his presentation to this political crowd, Gold stressed the centrality of Jerusalem to Jews throughout the ages and presented counterfactuals to the revisionist rhetoric often used by those aiming to deny this link:
There never was any Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
There were Jews in Jerusalem but they gave up connections years ago.
The Jews came back only recently as a result of colonization in the early years of the 20th century.
Al Aqsa is in danger.
The only solution is internationalization.
Gold refuted these arguments, convincingly and thoroughly supporting the ancient and continuing connection of Jews with Jerusalem through detailed and specific historical artifacts and accounts. These included, among others: Hezekiah’s seal from 8th century B.C.E.; the 2,600-year-old cylinder of Cyrus; the Arch of Titus; Napoléon’s decree to “Restore to the Jews their (holy) city of Jerusalem”; and the 1863 British Consular Report stating that Jews constituted a majority in Jerusalem.
By Ronald Sheinson