US recognition of Jerusalem backfires on Israel

Culture Minister's attempts to force the world to normalise the recognition have done the opposite

Ivanka Trump at new US Embassy in Jerusalem

Akiva Eldar writes in Al Monitor, “For weeks, Israeli soccer fans have been eagerly awaiting Argentina’s national team, set to play in Israel just before the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. But by the end of May, the Ministry of Culture and Sports relocated the match from Haifa to Jerusalem, claiming that such an important game must be held in Israel’s capital. The Argentine team responded by canceling its friendly match against Israel over the move, putting Argentine player Lionel Messi and his teammates into the political arena instead.”

“The highly publicized cancellation illustrated yet again Jerusalem’s contested status. Whereas international criticism of Israel has largely centered on its occupation of the West Bank and the despair of Gaza’s residents under Israel’s blockade, the US administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has placed the focus of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Jerusalem.”

“Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev never misses an opportunity to use Israel’s Culture and Sports Ministry to pick up a headline and stage a photo-op at Jerusalem’s expense…Now, in addition to soccer fans, hundreds of millions of pop music aficionados around the world will know that Jerusalem is not exactly part of Israel. Many of them presumably had never heard of the anti-Israel boycott movement and probably googled BDS and learned a thing or two about the occupation.” (more…)

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