Politics & Policy

O Jerusalem! &c.

(Photo: Iryna Sosnytska/Dreamstime)
On the U.S. and Israel, the People of the Year, a righteous trumpeter, the wrong Theresa May, and more

Like you, maybe, I have been looking at the issue for, what? Thirty-five years? In my observation, there will never be a right time to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. There will always be an impediment.

You might as well just do it, on the grounds of “the right thing to do.” It says to one and all, “As far as we’re concerned, Israel is here to stay. You’d better get used to it. You’d better make peace. Give up any dreams of consigning the Jews to the sea. Agree to coexistence.”

I like what George Shultz said, many years ago, to Deborah Orin, a late reporter with the New York Post. This was in 2003. He said, “Why not move our embassy to West Jerusalem and be done with it? People should do things that say, ‘Israel is there to stay.’ We should say we think a big element in the process of seeking peace is the acceptance of Israel’s existence and so we’re going to go around to all our friends in Europe and Asia and elsewhere and say, ‘Let’s accept Israel’s right to exist’ — and a way of doing that is to move our embassy to West Jerusalem.”

He added — and this is what I love, and have always remembered — “As long as the embassy is in Tel Aviv, it sort of says we’re camping out.”

Camping out. Yes. That’s the phrase that has always stuck in my mind, since Shultz made these remarks. And you noticed that he specified West Jerusalem? A prudent, knowledgeable, and experienced cat, George P. Shultz.

Anyway, I applaud President Trump for his recent decision, long overdue as a matter of American policy, I think.

‐The editor of National Review Online, Charlie Cooke (or Sir Charles Cooke, as I often think of him), says, “Plug Jaywalking at the top of your column.” Well … There is this podcast, Jaywalking, which is kind of an audio version of Impromptus, and includes the playing of music. You may find Jaywalking on NRO, here — or subscribe, as all the cool kids do: via iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

You know what those things are, don’t you?

‐As a rule, I’m not a fan of group selections for Person of the Year. I think that selections ought to be individual. I don’t think that classes of people should be named Person of the Year; I think individuals should.

For that matter, I’m not a fan of “Person of the Year,” as opposed to “Man of the Year” and “Woman of the Year.” Be that as it may …

I applaud Time magazine for its selection this year: the Silence Breakers, those who have spoken up about sexual harassment (and worse). These are very brave people. They have endured a lot, and they endure more, when they speak up. Often they are despised and resented (and lied about).

They are very inconvenient, these people. They are inconvenient to Roy Moore and the Republican party. They are inconvenient to James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera. They are inconvenient to Al Franken and the Democrats. They are terribly annoying. They prevent life from going on as normal.

Well, good.

‐Earlier this year, I wrote about Evan Mawarire, a pastor in Zimbabwe, and a dissident. He is an extraordinarily brave man: “the anti-Mugabe,” I have called him. He has been persecuted in his country’s legal system for a long time. Now that Mugabe has been deposed, charges against Mawarire have been dropped.

Thrilling news. How often do we get to say, “Justice is done”? (As for the future of Zimbabwe in general, who can say?)

‐I wish to shout bravo to Manny Laureano, the principal trumpet in the Minnesota Orchestra. He walked off the stage the other night. Why? Because the orchestra’s guest, Rufus Wainwright, was making political comments, and Laureano thought it was the wrong time and the wrong place — so he staged a little protest, by absenting himself.

To read about this event, go here.

Laureano may get into trouble for his action. Later, he made this acknowledgement: “Obviously, my contract says I’m not supposed to walk off stage during a performance.” But, you know? Sometimes a man has had enough. I understand this, having endured these political speeches at concerts for years and years. (This is a recurring subject of mine.)

So, let me say again: Bravo, Manny. Your walk-off spoke for many of us who don’t have the opportunity to make the same gesture.

‐Deeply gratifying was an article in the Harvard Crimson, by Laura M. Nicolae. She is a member of the Class of 2020. She is also the daughter of Romanian refugees. She writes about Communism — the reality of it, and the sickening warmth toward it by many in free societies today (and always).

“Nicolae,” of course, was the first name of Romania’s longtime dictator, Ceausescu. Laura Nicolae is a very, very different person. A wonderful young woman she must be.

‐Speaking of Romania, the man once called King Michael I has died. He led an amazingly turbulent life, a life reflecting much of the 20th century. To read about it, go here.

(I trust your life is calmer.)

‐Rahul has riz, just as everyone expected — expected practically from his birth. I am speaking of Rahul Gandhi, who has taken over leadership of India’s Congress party. (For a news story, go here.) Rahul is Rajiv’s son. And Indira’s grandson. And Nehru’s great-grandson. You might resent him. You might envy him. You also might pity him, in a way — I do wonder what choice he had …

‐It was written in stone that President Trump, the Republican party, and much of the conservative movement (most?) would come around to supporting Roy Moore in Alabama. But the use of the pro-life cause as a fig leaf is especially galling to me. They are saying, “Doug Jones is pro-abortion, vote Moore!” Okay. But, at other times, in other circumstances, they don’t seem all that fired up about abortion to me …

‐Moore certainly knows how to fire up the Right. He knows, for example, to say the name “George Soros.” Soros is a handy bogeyman, an all-purpose devil — a veritable Emmanuel Goldstein in Hungary. (The use that the Orbán regime has made of Soros should sicken any decent person, of whatever political stripe.)

About Soros, Moore said, “No matter how much money he’s got, he’s still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept His salvation are going. And that’s not a good place.”

Where’s Moore gonna go?

He also said of Soros, “His agenda is sexual in nature, his agenda is liberal, and not what Americans need. It’s not our American culture. Soros comes from another world that I don’t identify with. I wish I could face him directly, and I’d tell him the same thing.”

Such a big man, Moore is.

‐After President Trump retweeted Britain First, a far-Right group, the British PM, Theresa May, was unhappy. She made clear that this group was nothing to celebrate or promote. Peeved, Trump fired off a tweet against her — but he addressed it, if that’s the word, to the wrong Theresa May. This woman got off a good line. She said, “It’s amazing to think that the world’s most powerful man managed to press the wrong button.”

She also said she had been unable to leave her house, besieged by the press. “I’m just waiting for a call from the White House with an apology.”

Well, she finna wait a long time, I can pretty much guarantee …

‐My Detroit Lions. Goodness gracious. We’ve struggled for years and years (though have had some hopeful moments). And for years and years, we played in the Pontiac Silverdome. We don’t play there anymore. And they were supposed to demolish the place. The first detonation failed. The Silverdome failed to fall. (For an article, go here.)

Metaphors filled the air.

‐I sat next to a man from Alexandria, Virginia. But his accent gave his origins away. I said, “Are you from New England, sir?” He said, “I’m from where?”

That’s what I heard: “I’m from where?” I thought he was inviting me to guess. So I closed my eyes and guessed New Hampshire.

Actually, he had been telling what must be an old joke. He is from Ware, Massachusetts. He was saying, “I’m from Ware.”

‐From an obit of William Mayer, an American composer, I learned several interesting things. He was the father of Jane Mayer, the journalist. He was the son-in-law of Allan Nevins, the historian.

And he said this: “To be a tonal composer in the ’60s and ’70s was a deeply dispiriting experience. One was shunned as the last teenaged virgin.”

I loved that.

‐Speaking of music: For my “New York Chronicle,” published in the December New Criterion, go here.

‐Get this, from Rick Brookhiser:

I wrote a piece for American History in which I mentioned Vyacheslav Molotov. Autocorrect wanted to turn his first name into Yachtsman.

A little bourgeois, comrade.


‐In New York one morning this week, I saw a sign for a place called “American Cut.” I didn’t know whether it would be a barbershop or a steak joint. I glanced at the place as I passed. I’m still not sure. (Not a bris place, I trust.)

Have a great weekend, y’all. And thanks for joining me.



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Why Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Isn’t Radical

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A word to the wise: To get Digging In: Further Collected Writings of Jay Nordlinger, go here.

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