Jake Baum
For the Mitzpeh

jake headshot color

Even well before its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel has been and remains one of the most contentious and fought-over pieces of land in the modern world. Over time, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha’is and Druze have asserted historical and religious claims to the land – and that’s only in the last century.

Their sometimes cohesive, but often conflicting, religious histories have added an extra layer of controversy over the question of to whom the land really “belongs” that not even archeological findings can sort.

The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a multifaceted international issue that has been addressed by the U.N. and many other international organizations countless times since it began, which has pushed most leading world powers to take well-thought-out positions on the polarizing issue.

In 2017, with the news constantly at our fingertips, any innocent diplomatic action, no matter how small, can be used  by media outlets positively or negatively within a larger contextual narrative of international relations.

Even an abstention on a vote in the UN Security Council regarding the issue (not a vote, but a purposeful choice not to vote) will be received with excitement or outrage from some very influential international figures. Depending on which side’s narrative you adopt, a small gesture becomes more ammo for the political machine gun that is the 24-hour news cycle.

(Photo: wikimedia commons)
(Photo: wikimedia commons)

A representative of the royal family of the U.K. recently announced that, later this year, a senior member of the family will visit Israel on a formal tour of the country. This tour will be the first official royal visit to Israel since before its establishment, and will coincide with the 100-year anniversary of The Balfour Declaration, a letter written by the crown which declared the British government’s intent for Israel (then a British territory) as the Jewish ancestral homeland.

It is within this context of the evolution of symbolic actions into ever-expanding narratives fed by constant coverage and hyper-polarization on the perception of Israel in which I place the crown’s visit to Israel.

I feel that because of the conflict’s uncertainty in recent years, support for Israel from world leaders must be active, not passive. While policy and negotiation are what ultimately matters when it comes to tangible solutions, it is ironically these seemingly meaningless gestures that carry the most weight on the global political sphere. Social media and ever-expanding media coverage continue to amplify the “power of one” – one person’s (or action’s, in this case) ability to create change on a global scale.

This visit marks the perfect example of Queen Elizabeth’s recognition of her “power of one.” With this visit, she can demonstrate to the world that, despite the U.K.’s recent political developments, it remains strong and stable in its support for Israel. It remains an ally. It remains true to the promise its leaders made several years ago to the land of Israel and the Jewish people.

Jake is a senior international business major. He can be reached at jakebaum1@gmail.com.


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