There have been few weeks like this in the history of U.S.-Israel relations.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the so-called Iran deal, noting that it did not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and failed to curb Iran’s aggression.
And this coming Monday, the U.S. will relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, fulfilling a campaign promise that many have made but only Trump has kept.
These two decisions leave America, and Israel,stronger than before, as well as more united with each other.
With the faulty Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) now a dead letter, the U.S. has regained some of the leverage over Iran that Obama squandered. Iran’s economy is in a fragile state, and if it wants to avoid new sanctions, it will have to commit to a new deal with stronger terms that actually end its nuclear ambitions.
There is a new factor in Iran that was not present when President Barack Obama first negotiated the deal: namely, political instability.
If all had gone as planned, and Hillary Clinton had won the election, then Iran might have seen more foreign investment — the real payoff of the deal, beyond the billions in cash up front that Obama provided. But Trump’s surprise win created new uncertainty around the deal, and many investors stayed away.
Trump has seen the opportunity that his victory created, and he has pressed home the advantage by supporting Iranian protesters against the regime.
On Tuesday, as he announced the end of the Iran deal, he reached out to the Iranian people in solidarity against the regime that has plundered their wealth for its pointless foreign adventures. He has no intention of invading Iran, but is setting the stage for regime change from within.
The decision to move the embassy is a bold declaration of American sovereignty. Trump has ended the decades-old embarrassment of U.S. presidents being too timid to acknowledge the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, lest the Arab world take offense.
His decision does not preclude the Palestinians having a capital in eastern Jerusalem one day, but makes clear that Israel is not going to disappear because its enemies wish it so.
Israel benefits from both of these decisions. The Iran deal allowed the regime to continue enriching uranium, albeit slowly. More significantly, the deal failed to prevent Iran from developing ballistic missiles.
Conversely, the end of the deal hurts Iran. While there is a risk of confrontation— as when Iran fired rockets from Syria on Thursday — that risk was rising anyway, thanks to Iranian aggression in Syria. And Israel defended itself decisively.
Having the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem cements Israel’s claim to its historic and religious capital — the city that Jews have faced in prayer several times a day for 3,000 years. The permanence of Jerusalem carries with it a sense of completion, as if the wandering Jewish spirit can finally rest, securely, in its home. Other countries are following suit, with Guatemala opening its embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, two days after the U.S.
In both the Iran deal and Jerusalem, the U.S. and Israel stand together, unapologetically, against the fearful tide of world opinion.
Barack Obama hoped to appease Iran and terrorism by creating distance between the two countries. The result was the opposite. The reason the Iranian regime rails against the U.S-Israel alliance is because nothing terrifies it more.
Let both nations rejoice, Washington with Jerusalem. The best days are yet to come.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.