Disney debacle helps Arabs delegitimize eternal capital

First Burger King said it is closing its branch in the Jerusalem suburb of Ma'aleh Adumim. Next, Sprint recalled its discount calling card to Israel which "mistakenly" showed the Old City walls of Jerusalem.

And now it appears that the Walt Disney Co. has at least partially caved in to pressure to prevent the depiction of Jerusalem as Israel's capital at the Israeli booth at Disney's new Millennium Village at Florida's Epcot Center.

Those developments are not insignificant meanderings of the fast-food, telephone fiber-optics and cartoon industries. They have one direction: the continued delegitimization of Israel and our right to Jerusalem as our eternal and undivided capital.

The efforts spent to accomplish the above by the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee is proof positive of that.

The tone, though, was set by our own prime minister when he told a visiting delegation of American lawmakers this summer that they should not press forward with moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem too quickly. The trickle-down message to the public is that while we may claim Jerusalem is ours, we will certainly not allow it to get in the way of the "peace process."

It comes as little surprise then that in reaction to this latest affront to the sovereign state of Israel, a Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that "the display in the Israeli pavilion is not of a political nature. It does not focus on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, just on Jerusalem as an ancient city."

I do not know what is worse about this official response, its pathetic sheepishness or its sheer stupidity.

The only significance of Jerusalem for the Jewish people is its "political nature." There are plenty of ancient cities in Israel, rich in moral history and steeped in national Jewish culture, all worthy of study and reverence (so worthy, I would add, that they should not be turned over to any other political entity).

But there is only one Jerusalem. Only Jerusalem was our capital and the epicenter of our national life. Only Jerusalem was — and is — the fulcrum of our religious observance and creativity, and the nexus of time linking the past and future. Only Jerusalem was and is the earthly sanctum of the spiritual promise of redemption, of the Jewish people and of humankind.

Historically, for Israel's enemies the destruction of Jerusalem was symbolically synonymous with the exiling of and intended obliteration of the Jewish people.

One of the fathers of the Catholic Church, Hieronymus, succinctly said, "Like pottery which, once broken, cannot revert to its initial form, so the Jewish nation and Jerusalem — destroyed — will not revert to their ancient station."

Religiously, for the Jewish people, the promise of a rebuilt Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty was the nation's survival pack through 1,900 years of exile.

No power succeeded in forcing the Jewish people to surrender its claim to the city. From cradle to grave, the city was hallowed in the nation's consciousness, in prayers thrice daily, in the grace after meals, under the wedding canopy and at times of mourning.

That is why political Zionism succeeded in "reverting the pottery to its initial form," in bringing the bimillennial hopes, prayers and dreams of the Jewish nation to at least the first stages of fruition. And that is why the Knesset decision reclaiming a united Jerusalem in 1967 was legitimate.

That is also why those who wish to discredit the Jewish claim to Jerusalem rewrite history, negating the historic right of the Jews to try and validate a claim with no historic or religious foundation.

The Palestine Liberation Organization charter was adopted in 1964, three years before Israel united Jerusalem in a defensive war. Yet there is no mention of Jerusalem in the charter, no claim that peace cannot be consummated unless Jerusalem become the capital of Palestine. Jerusalem was not even mentioned when the charter was revised in 1968, following the Knesset decision to legally formalize Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.

As with everything about Palestinian nationalism, Jerusalem became an implacable Palestinian demand in direct relation to the level of importance placed on it by Israel. Palestinian nationalism originated as a response to Zionism and copied Zionism's political organizations. The Palestinians' oft-touted "right of return" is an imitation of our Law of Return.

So, too, Jerusalem, the symbol of restored Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, has now been copied as well and is being treated as the indispensable linchpin of emerging Palestinian sovereignty. Palestinians unabashedly make this claim as they stand in Jerusalem and face Mecca, while the Jews continue to stand anywhere and face Jerusalem.

Just as Jerusalem was our only capital ever, so too it was never anyone else's. That is an ancient truth and an existential political reality that the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee or even an Israeli spokesman sounding a bit like Goofy cannot change.