On this day, Dec 11th, 100 years ago, 1917, General Allenby entered Jerusalem. In doing so he became the first Christian to take effective control of the city since Bailan of Ibelin surrendered the city to Saladin in 1187. (Excluding a limited negotiated return by Frederick II in the 6th crusade 1229-1244).
Allenby clearly understood the deep significance of his arrival in the holy city. For this reason he elected not to enter in triumph as a conqueror. Instead he entered as a pilgrim. He walked in via the Jaffa gate in what was a low key affair, as depicted by the photo above.
I contrast this with the recent decision by Donald Trump to overturn decades of US foreign policy and order the removal of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump has done exactly what Allenby sought to avoid. He made a clear political statement favouring one community over all others.
The result of Donald Trump’s announcement is widespread rioting in the Middle East, not only in Palestine but also extending into neighbouring countries. The usual flag burning is taking place outside US embassies all over the muslim world.
This manic and destructive act neatly focuses US media attention away from his tax bill, which rewards the super-rich at the expense of the middle class and poor Americans. So what if a few muslim youths are shot, buildings torched and the people of Israel face a violent backlash? The important thing is that US Oligarchs can look forward to even greater expansion of their wealth. And let’s not forget, Trump is one of them.