By NY SUN—
What an illuminating moment on CBS This Morning, as Senator Schumer puts a dagger through the heart (to use his favorite expression) of Jerusalem. He is being interviewed on the decision of the Democratic Party to remove from its platform this year language it had four years ago asserting that Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. He is asked why the step was taken. Mr. Schumer dodges the question by asserting that “everyone knows” the “vast, overwhelming majority” of Democrats are for Jerusalem being the undivided capital of Israel. He calls it a “tempest in a teapot.” He then confesses he doesn’t know why it’s no longer in the party platform.
Charlie Rose doesn’t let him off, asking him several times what is the president’s position. Mr. Schumer tries another dodge, saying the president is for a “very, very strong” Israel. But what is the president’s position on Jerusalem as the capital? persists Mr. Rose. Mr. Schumer tries to get Mr. Rose to believe that Mr. Schumer doesn’t know the president’s position. Mr. Rose will have none of it. “You know what his position is, don’t you,” he says. “No, I don’t,” Mr. Schumer claims. “You don’t know?” Mr. Rose asks in disbelief. “You’ve never asked him to support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?” Says Mr. Schumer: “I’ve always assumed . . . “ Mr. Rose is still voicing incredulity at the end of the clip.
Mr. Rose’s instinct to dig in there is a nifty bit of newspapering. For at the end of Mr. Schumer’s career he is going to be set down as one of the Democrats who let this issue slip away, at least in his generation. This happened in the mid-1990s, when the Congress — animated by both Republicans (Senator Dole) and Democrats (Daniel Patrick Moynihan) — was crafting what became the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act. Mr. Schumer vowed that the Congress would see that the embassy was moved within a year. At the last minute, though, the Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein and with the concurrence of Senator Schumer, wrote into the law a waiver.
That is why Prime Minister Begin used to say that the question of Jerusalem should not be decided in the United States Congress. It is how the State Department has been able to maneuver successive presidents of both parties to dodge American law on Jerusalem. The fact is that the Democratic Party does not want to bow to American law on this question. It wants to defer Jerusalem to final status negotiations. Mr. Schumer doesn’t want to admit his own culpability. He just chuckles about how he has always been a strong supporter of Jerusalem and of Israel. The significance of the CBS broadcast this morning is that the journalistic elite isn’t buying it. Mr. Rose and his CBS colleagues may not be dug in one way or another on Jerusalem, but they are dug in on getting straight answers from politicians, and they know the way Mr. Schumer is squirming at the change in the party platform belies a change in policy for which Mr. Schumer doesn’t want to answer.