Australia’s new stance on Jerusalem – half-right, or all wrong?


Australia’s recognition of “Western Jerusalem” can only perpetuate the Arab-Israeli conflict, not, as the Labor Party fallaciously charges, because it supports Israel’s claim to half the city, but because it supports the false Arab claim to any of it.

What, I have been asked, are we to make of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s December 14, 2018 announcement that his government now recognises “West Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel?

(Watch Morrison making his statement here).

The move has been welcomed by many – the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the Australian Jewish Association (AJA), Advance Australia, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) among them.

I can identify the political considerations likely to have lent shape to both the decision by Australia’s PM and the response to it from my Jewish friends and Christian brothers.

But what I – who have longed to see Australia do “the right thing” (to quote Liberal Party Senator James Paterson) by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and relocating its embassy there – make of Morrison’s announcement is this:

–  Applauded by some as a step in the right direction, it is surely a step in the wrong one.

–  Instead of being “balanced”, “measured” and “well-considered” it is prejudiced against the only true claimants; it perpetuates the universal distortion of the indisputable truth, and it singularly lacks the courage of statesmanship.

–  By referring (five times!) in his statement to “Western Jerusalem” Morrison is actively – if involuntarily – maintaining a malicious myth based on widespread falsehood and deceit.

–  There is no Western Jerusalem.

–  There is no Eastern Jerusalem.

–  In its documented 4000-year history, Jerusalem has never been a city with two halves. (The 19-year Jordanian occupation of part of the city was internationally condemned as illegal.)

–  In their verifiable recorded national history (Biblical and post-Biblical, written and archeologically substantiated), while in their land and during their centuries of exile from it, the Jews for 3000 years regarded Jerusalem as their capital.

–  By contrast, the Palestinian Arabs have not a single day of national historical existencehere on record. They have simply never been a nation with a state. They have never been a sovereign anywhere, let alone in any part of this city. How, then, is the Morrison government’s new policy “balanced”?

–  In their brief modern form as a savagely anti-Semitic political entity, the ‘Palestinians’ have consistently and violently rejected submissions that the Jews have any right to the city or the land.

–  Combined with Morrison’s “commitment to a two-state solution”, his de facto re-division of Jerusalem with this recognition of its ‘Western’ part will only harden the resolve of these enemies of Israel.

–  Australia’s recognition of “Western Jerusalem” can therefore only perpetuate the Arab-Israeli conflict, not, as the Labor Party fallaciously charges, because it supports Israel’s claim to half the city, but because it supports the false Arab claim to any of it.

What I’ve also noted:

–  While Israel has diplomatically expressed appreciation for Morrison’s move, it has also not tried to hide its disappointment.

–  Morrison’s attempt to be “balanced” and “measured” has earned him little support from friends, unleashed scorn from his political opponents, and fed fury and condemnation from Australia’s enemies.

–  Australian Christians by and large have abandoned the political battlefield to the enemy; except for a relative handful of exceptions that I’m aware of, they will not speak publicly and openly enough into the question of their country’s recognition of undivided Jerusalem, nor strongly voice their opposition to a ‘Palestinian’ state being established in the Land of Israel.

–  The ‘progressive’ Left, meanwhile, attacks without letup – calling relentlessly for the recognition of Palestine and division of Jerusalem into the capitals of two states, and heaping scorn on Eric Abetz, Tony Abbott, James Paterson and others who want to truly stand with Israel.

–  The ANZAC spirit that a hundred years ago led in liberating of the Land of Israel from Islamic Ottoman rule is today sadly unseen.

However – and I refuse to accept that current circumstances cannot be turned around – being unseen doesn’t mean that the courage and unstoppability of the ANZACS has been lost.

I’ve met thousands of Aussies and I know how strongly they love their country and how that motivates them to want to help see their leaders do the right thing.

Australians, and Australian Christians, can be fearless; they can continue to lobby their government to be fearless.

They should note the following:

–  The taboo attached to recognising Jerusalem – the log-jam – has been broken by the United States and Guatemala; the Czech Republic has taken its first step in that direction by opening the Czech House in Jerusalem; Brazil’s about-to-be-inaugurated new president has announced his intention of moving its embassy, and Scott Morrison’s move – with a course correction – can be built on. There is momentum that Australia can catch and ride.

–  Donald Trump’s step-by-step approach (first announcing recognition of Jerusalem and committing to moving the embassy; then saying that it would take years and cost a fortune; then saying it could be done by the end of 2018; then setting the date on Israel’s 70th anniversary date; and finally opening the embassy on May 14 this year, just five months after his first announcement) defused the hysteria of the Islamic world and brought to virtually nothing their threats of violence.

–  Even if those threats are real, Aussies have had – and I’m sure still have – the guts to stand for what they believe is right, pooh-poohing the danger. They are not known, nationally, to be self-centered. Australia has been ranked at the very top of the world’s most generous-hearted countries.

–  The Australian creed of “a fair go” can and should be harnessed in service of this cause. What needs changing is the focus from the distortion framing the ‘Palestinians’ as the underdog; as Israel’s victims to, (using the documented and verifiable facts mentioned above) the also readily-substantiated truths: that Israel is the victim of international injustice and prejudice; that standing with Israel on its claims to its ancestral homeland and millennia-old capital is the right and fair thing to do.

As a Bible-believing Christian, these are also my thoughts:

–  A professing Pentecostal, Scott Morrison’s stand on Jerusalem (and his support for a two-state solution) would resonate with those who say they are Christians but who widely hold the Scripturally unsupportable view that the promises God once made to the nation of Israel now apply to the Church. The Prime Minister’s political statement could suggest that he regards as no longer valid God’s specific designation of the Land of Israel within the Biblically-prescribed borders (which include not only Judea and Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights, but also parts of today’s Jordan, Syrian and Lebanon) as belonging forever and exclusively to the Jews.

–  The lying assertion that they only want “Eastern Jerusalem” as the capital of the hoped-for State of Palestine only seeks satanically to mask the truth about the part of the city the Islamic world really wants: the Mountain of the LORD God of Israel, where He has inscribed His name and on which He will enthrone His King (Psalm 2:4-6).

Speaking of the Bible, it’ll soon be Christmas when Australian Christians will call to mind the following verses. Do they believe all that Gabriel says?

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33 – emphasis mine)

NB: Jerusalem – made capital 3000 years ago by King David of the tribe of Judah, hence David the Jew. The capital and site of the throne of the coming Messiah, Son of David, Lion of JudahKing of the Jews who will reign over the “house of Jacob” – Jacob who was renamed “Israel” and from whose 12 sons the tribe of Judah, the Jews, originates.

Christians – at least those who say they believe the Bible – must surely be challenged to see and understand this.

This article originally appeared on Jerusalem Watchman, December 20, 2018, and reposted with permission.

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Stan has lived in Israel for half of his life even though he was born to a Gentile couple serving on the mission field in the small kingdom of Swaziland. Following three years volunteering on Israeli collective farms in the 1980s, he worked as a political reporter for the South African newspaper, The Daily Dispatch – where his pen had its training during apartheid’s waning years. He has traveled to various nations, speaking to Christians about developments in Israel. In 2011 he was accredited by the Israel Ministry of Tourism as a tour guide, and takes individuals, small groups, families, busloads and helicopter-loads of Christians around God’s Land.