The decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital increases the odds of violence because it deepens Palestinian despair.
For Donald Trump, Muslim barbarism is a political strategy. It inspires the fear and hatred that binds him to his base. Muslim barbarism is so politically useful, in fact, that, when necessary, Trump creates it.
During the presidential campaign, he invented mobs of Jersey City Muslims who had celebrated 9/11. After the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, he invented a conspiracy in which “many, many people, Muslims living with them, in the same area” had been in on Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik’s plot. This February, he invented a terrorist attack in Sweden, which he blamed on the fact that Sweden “took in large numbers” of you-know-whos. Just last week, he invented a Muslim migrant’s attack on a crippled Dutch boy.
But on Wednesday, Trump outdid himself. By announcing that America recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he didn’t just invent Muslim violence. He provoked it.
The U.S. consulate in Jerusalem is warning Americans to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank. The State Department is warning of violence at U.S. embassies. The violence may not come right away. As Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann told my colleague Emma Green, it’s usually “the real or perceived threat to sacred space”—especially the Temple Mount, which contains the Al Aqsa mosque—that triggers immediate bloodshed.