News and Commentary

Mattis: ‘The Capital Of Israel That I Go To Is Tel Aviv’

The prospective incoming Secretary of Defense, Retired Marine General James Mattis, speaking at his confirmation hearing, refused to acknowledge that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mattis appeared to be less-than-staunch supporter of Israel in many ways:

  1. He ignored the fact that Israel claims Jerusalem is its capital, which as a sovereign state it has the right to decide, saying, “Right now, I’d stick with the U.S. policy. The capital of Israel that I go to is Tel Aviv,” adding, “That’s where all the government people are.” The U.S. embassy is in Tel Aviv; the United States has never acknowledged Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
  2. Mattis supports the two-state solution, which has never shown signs of being feasible, since the Palestinians have never acknowledged the legitimacy of the Jewish state. He also seemed to threaten Israel, saying Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region was dependent on “improved relationships” between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
  3. Mattis did not say he was in favor of scrapping the Iranian nuclear deal, arguing that the U.S. should be able to monitor it successfully, although he said he needed to “see the actual data” before giving an authoritative answer.
  4. Most egregiously, Mattis refused to condemn the recent United Nations Security Council anti-Israel resolution that stated that the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, was not under Israeli sovereignty. He would only say, “It’s time to build trust. We should be a partner.”

In 2013, Mattis said: “I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians.” He added that Israeli “settlements” “are going to make it impossible to maintain the two-state option.”

There was more; Mattis stated that Israeli settlements could lead to apartheid, “If I’m in Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here to the east and there’s 10,000 Arab settlers in here, if we draw the border to include them, either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid. That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country.””