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WASHINGTON — The past few days have provided a head-swiveling study in cognitive dissonance and dueling realities.

Monday started the week with a jolt in Jerusalem, where the U.S. and Israel celebrated the American embassy move from Tel Aviv. Television spectators around the world watched as the two nations’ officials gathered inside a large, white tent — a metaphorical bubble that seemed to protect them from the tragedy unfolding 50 miles away in Gaza.

There, Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinian protesters, killing more than five dozen and wounding thousands more.

In stark contrast to the carnage, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was almost giddy as he cited historical justifications for the embassy’s relocation — from Abraham and King Solomon to Zechariah, who 2,500 years ago declared Jerusalem “the city of truth.” Netanyahu was effusive in his praise of Trump for “having the courage to keep his promises,” which just happened to be the opening line in the White House’s talking points afterward.

Even as one might have enjoyed Netanyahu’s understandable elation and Jared Kushner’s touching speech about truth, Western idealism and the pursuit of peace, there was something oddly Baghdad Bob-ish about the whole production.

You remember him. He was the so-nicknamed Iraqi government spokesperson during the U.S.-led invasion who insisted to television cameras that everything was just fine in Baghdad, as American tanks rolled into the city. One wonders if future Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, then a student at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, caught Bob on TV and thought to herself: Why, yes, he’s right. It all looks good to me.

Kushner, whose task as adviser is to secure Middle East peace, noted in his remarks that the Palestinian protesters were “part of the problem,” an analysis seconded by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley the next day. During a Security Council meeting, Haley dismissed the protests as having been caused by Hamas and said they had nothing to do with the relocation of the embassy.

One could say that.

One could say that the moon is cheesy and good with grits. Or that the person who invited Dallas pastor and Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress to Jerusalem to lead a prayer was a genius. (Jeffress has said that Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and the Catholic Church are all essentially satanic cults.)

One could further say that there was no one better to lead a second prayer than the Rev. John Hagee, who, you’ll recall, blamed gays for Hurricane Katrina. He also has said that Hitler was a “hunter” for God and that Jews will be saved during the Second Coming of Christ, which is expected to occur in, guess where — Jerusalem.

The surprise isn’t that Palestinians protested but that Israelis didn’t.

Since Trump and cohorts are so suddenly enamored of the truth, let’s stick to it. The relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv has everything to do with the Palestinian protests. Blaming Hamas for organizing the protests is like blaming Republicans for electing Trump. Did anyone really think there would be no protests against a move that essentially ends the bilateral peace process?

Moving the embassy may have been the right thing to do — and maybe no time would be right — but we shouldn’t delude ourselves. The embassy was moved because it served Trump. How do we know this? Because everything Trump does is for Trump.

It burnished his tough-guy brand by demonstrating that he keeps his word and by putting Iran on further notice that he means business. He consolidated the support of conservative U.S. Jews and evangelicals, stabilizing his base and increasing the likelihood of his re-election. Most important, perhaps, it distinguished him from his predecessor, Barack Obama, who, though retired from government, continues to get under this president’s skin.

If Trump had hoped to also further enhance his chances for a Nobel Peace Prize, which Obama received for merely talking eloquently about peace, then the Israeli clampdown in Gaza was surely unhelpful. Then again, the “collateral damages” weren’t Trump’s doing, he’d likely tell himself. Why, he wasn’t even there.

It would be no surprise if Trump, in a bout of cognitive dissonance, were to believe that the Palestinians will quiet down in a few days and peace will settle over the valley, which sounds a lot like the flowers and candy American forces were told to expect from liberated Iraqis in the aftermath of “shock and awe.” Remind me how that worked out.

Kathleen Parker’s email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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(17) comments

hrpufnstuf

I'm a lib and democrats but have never called the NRA a terrorist group. I'm a NRA member. Your comment is foolish.

mocha1

Millions of Palestinians are living in poverty and disease, but to blame Israel for that situation and not the true perpetrators, Hamas and the PLO, is even a farther stretch by libs than Blaming the NRA for a school shooting done by a mentally ill individual who the school and law enforcement knew was on that path and ignored it.

kingman10

well you seem to think you know it all mocha, then answer my 6:07 post! Come on, I'm still waiting. Nothing to say? What's the matter?

mocha1

So libs, Democrats, you accuse the NRA of being a terrorist group because they defend the second amendment but you defend a real terrorist group, Hamas . And you still wonder why Trump was elected and the only thing left of Obama’s legacy is his picture in the capitol.

oldhomey

That's right, mocha. It is the same thing with those dingbat liberals cry crocodile tears about poor people losing food stamps for their bratty little kids. What the liberals are really saying is they support a violent overthrow of the government by the resurrected Black Panther Party, aka Black Lives Matter. We know, don't we, Mocha. Recognizing that Palestinians are living in misery is easily equated into being openly and materially supportive of Jihadist terrorism. Right, Mocha? We know, don't we.

kingman10

oh mocha1, please try to stay on topic. the narrative is about the embassy move to Jerusalem. You fail to answer my simple questions. You try to change the subject, you try to deflect everything to Obama or Hillary, classic right wing nut move. So why was the embassy more such a good decision? What good will it accomplish? Why is it so important that knowing people would die over this decision, it was still necessary. What can the embassy accomplish in Jerusalem that it couldn't in Tel Aviv. Come on Mocha, show us your smarts, or lack there of.

mocha1

Hamas and the plo have never wanted peace with Israel. They have been offered several deals over the years but that would mean the corrupt plo would lose power and Hamas would lose its main goal of Israeli destruction. So the Palestinian leaders keep this crisis going for their benefit not the people. And leftists, libs, Democrats buy into this false premise that Israel is the oppressor and if not for that oppression Palestinians would be living the dream. The acceptance of this propaganda by libs is mind boggling. Fortunately we now have a rep at the UN willing to call the Palestinian terrorist out. If you think that the rioters are just throwing rocks at the soldiers you should go stand with them and see what they are threatened with.

Climatehoax

You libs are hilarious, Clinton, Bush, and Hillary said they’d move the embassy. They were talking, like politicians, and acting like politicians, because they didn’t do a d-mn thing! Trump carried out THEIR campaign promises and you still cry crocodile tears, PATHETIC!!!

kingman10

ok hoaxer, you think you know so much about the middle east. answer my 6:07 post! Why is moving the embassy to Jerusalem such a good move? What did it accomplish? Come on Hoaxer you can do it!!! Mocha1 refuses to answer that, just tosses blame at one party and skirts around the questions.

mocha1

Actually I take back the ignorant claim, it is much more nefarious than that. If Obama had kept his campaign promise , instead of pandering for votes, he would have been hailed as a courageous leader. Headlines would read, Heroic Obama will not be deterred from doing what is right. No this whole not blaming terrorists for what terrorists do and instead blaming Trump is just more of the Trump Derangement Syndrome. This Syndrome has got libs so twisted in their thoughts they are willing to support terrorists against the USA. Ditto for all the Hallyballooing over the Iran Debacle.

oldhomey

That is absolutely right, Mocha! If the deranged Obama in his pandering, underhanded way, had ordered the U.S. embassy to be move to Jerusalem, there would have massive bloodshed in Gaza, and for what? To make Obama look good, I guess. He missed his chance, and now the Dumbocrats are just jealous because Trump looks so good for moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Who cares if a few dozen people got killed and a few thousand more were wounded? It was Obama's fault. If he would have done what the American evangelicals wanted him to do, the bloodshed would have been spilled already, but the coward left it to our brave, wise and prescient, peace-loving president to look absolutely awesome.

mocha1

Just remember a few short years ago before Israel built the walls and fences , Hamas was sending suicide bombers to bomb buses full of civilians, they sent hit squads in to massacre school children, these terrorists do not need an embassy move to incite violence, anyone that subscribes or blames the embassy move as the cause of Hamas violence is just plain ignorant.

oldhomey

You're absolutely right, Mocha! There are about a million and a half Palestinians locked into Gaza with no way out, no way to raise enough food to feed themselves, 60 percent unemployment -- most heavily affecting young Palestinians who see no future. They are so unreasonably angry at the Israelis instead of at Hamas. What kind of people are they, any way, with people willing to protest loudly at the Israelis by burning tires and flinging rocks at Israeli soldiers? Of course the soldiers are going to shoot them! Right?

mocha1

So a terrorist organization, with their soul goal of the destruction of Israel, attacks the border with explosives, firebombs and some of these terrorists are killed by troops defending the border and we are supposed to think that the embassy move is the main cause. If you read lib articles like this or listen to lib media that is exactly what you will hear. If blood on anyone’s hands it is the media supporting the terrorist propaganda.

kingman10

what! that is the best you can do!!! You didn't answer one question in my 6:07 post, not one! You are just interested in throwing blame around. In that hot spot of the world, in which hard feelings go back to biblical times, you don't just make arbitrary moves that will inflame more people and cause riots and revolts. Any idiot with two cents worth of brains knows that. So come on mocha1, answer the questions on why the embassy move is such a good thing, and how it will bring stability and prosperity to the region. Just because Trump can beat his chest and can keep one campaign promise doesn't justify anything.

Cassandra2

Don't deny that the violence was all too predictable and the product of right-wing American political maneuvering that led to the death of scores of innocent people. Trump and company have blood on their hands with more to come.

kingman10

somebody tell me what good that embassy move did. Is that region better off now? Will it bring peace and stability to the region? Is the world better off because of such a move? I've asked these questions many times and no one answers. Why is moving the embassy such a good move, and why do you admire Trump for doing it?

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