Rep. Marsha Blackburn: US Embassy move to Jerusalem signals that America stands with Israel

America has finally kept a long-held promise to move its embassy to Jerusalem – 70 years to the day that Israel declared its statehood.

I have twice introduced bipartisan resolutions in Congress recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and, consistent with U.S. practice in other countries, calling for locating our embassy to the sacred city.

President Trump’s bold action is symbolic of the strengthening U.S.-Israeli relationship under his leadership. More importantly, it signals to the rest of the world that we stand with Israel at a time when the Jewish state is under attack from Iran.

Relocating our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday ended a 19-year battle that began with the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

National security concerns were used for almost 20 years by American presidents as an out from doing the right thing and moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. For the eight years of the Obama presidency, Americans and the rest of the world watched as we led from behind.

The 1995 law required our embassy to move by May 31, 1999. But for almost 20 years, presidents routinely invoked a six-month waiver provision contained in the law that delayed relocating the embassy to Jerusalem because of national security concerns.

Last December, President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the U.S. Embassy to be moved there.

“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” President Trump said in December. “It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.”

Since 2015, I have sought to build bipartisan momentum for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. I introduced bipartisan resolutions in the 114th and 115th Congresses to raise awareness of the issue and draw congressional support.

The reasons for moving our embassy are two-fold. First, it was required by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. Second, it has been American policy to place our embassy in the capital city of every country where we have a diplomatic presence. Israel should be no different.

Further, there is yet another argument for moving our embassy to Jerusalem. The threat from Iran is growing as the terrorist nation spreads its evil tentacles throughout the Middle East, as evidenced by the rocket attack it conducted against Israel from Syria recently.

The flawed nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration made this threat possible. The deal emboldened Iran by placing it on a path to a nuclear weapon, lifting economic sanctions and giving the terrorist nation access to billions of dollars in its frozen assets.

President Obama viewed Iran’s “Death to America” chants as an invitation to negotiate, while President Trump saw them as a threat. By announcing America’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal the week before moving our embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump sent an unmistakable signal to friends and foes that America will be undeterred in its commitment to the Jewish state.

America’s stale policy regarding Jerusalem yielded little in the way of tangible results in the Arab-Israeli conflict for years.

National security concerns were used for almost 20 years by American presidents as an out from doing the right thing and moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. For the eight years of the Obama presidency, Americans and the rest of the world watched as we led from behind.

Leading from the front under President Trump looks much different and is far more effective.     

Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the Seventh Congressional District of Tennessee. She serves as vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chair of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant  Lives. She was named the 2016 “Woman of the Year” by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.