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Now We Know for Sure—Trump Campaign Bribe paid for the Illegal U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem

posted on: Oct 12, 2022

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By: John Mason / Arab America Contributing Writer

New information has just emerged on why the U.S. was able to open a new embassy in Jerusalem. While Israelis were delighted by the news, Palestinians were enraged. Adding insult to injury, recently elected conservative British Prime Minister Liz Truss repeated Trump’s strategy to propose the transfer of the UK’s embassy to Jerusalem. A new exposé on Trump details who Bankrolled the U.S. embassy move. This article spells out how the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was paid for.

Why the U.S. Moved its Embassy—a brief Recap

On May 14, 2018, the U.S. opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. One can only imagine Israeli delight and Palestinian fury over the move. Jerusalem plays such a key role in the Arab-Israeli conflict because it is sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike. Inhabitants, regional powers, and invaders have fought over it for millennia. As the Daily Mail put it, “Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognized internationally. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.”

Each religion has its major sites in Jerusalem. In the heart of the Old City, Jews have their Temple Mount. On its ground stood ancient temples, marked today only by the Western Wall. For Muslims, their sacred ground known as al-Haram al-Sharif, is home to two holy places, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Christians also claim the right to this holy city. There, Jesus preached, died, and resurrected. It draws thousands of Christians in pilgrimage.

Jerusalem has been fought over for over a thousand years–here, extremist Israeli groups call for ‘demolition’ of the Dome of the Rock — Photo Online Palestine

By no mere coincidence, the U.S. timed its move to Jerusalem to concur with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding. Trump drove the initiative for the move of the embassy from Tel Aviv, saying it was part of his forthcoming peace proposal. Breaking with decades of U.S. and international policy, Trump said, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally had “taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.”

Israel celebrated the decision, while the Arab world and Western allies scorned it. Pro-Israel Americans also commemorated the move. Trump had made it a key promise of his 2016 election campaign, a promise many conservative and evangelical Christians would hold him to.

Much of the rest of the world accepted Jerusalem’s status as it was designated by the 1947 United Nations General Assembly. That is, it would be under the international rule, in the context of the partition of British-ruled Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The six-day war of 1967 changed all that. Jordanian control of the Old City and Arab East Jerusalem at the end of British rule in 1948 was eliminated by Israel in that war. Israel captured East Jerusalem and annexed it. Israel in 1980 declared Jerusalem the ‘complete and united city,’ the capital of the country. The UN, the Palestinians, and much of the rest of the world see it as ‘occupied.’

Recent UK Plan to move its Embassy to Jerusalem Stirs up old Controversy

Recently elected conservative British Prime Minister Liz Truss followed Trump’s strategy almost to the T. On September 30, 2022, she proposed her move of the UK embassy to Jerusalem. Truss pledged during her campaign to review moving the embassy. She spelled this out in a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Newly elected conservative UK Prime Minister, Lizz Truss, has floated a plan, following Trump, to move its embassy to Jerusalem Photo Times of India

In such cases involving religions, the Archbishop of Canterbury usually speaks out. The principal leader of the Church of England, Justin Welby is against moving the embassy. According to Reuters, the Archbishop “…is concerned about the potential impact of moving the British Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before a negotiated settlement between Palestinians and Israelis has been reached. He is in touch with Christian leaders in the Holy Land and continues to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

The Archbishop’s made his statement a day after the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, made his dismay known. The Cardinal expressed to the Prime Minister his “profound concern over her call for a review of the location of the British Embassy to the State of Israel.” Further, he averred, “Such a relocation of the UK Embassy would be seriously damaging to any possibility of lasting peace in the region and to the international reputation of the United Kingdom.”

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, speaks out against moving the embassy — Photo

New Exposé on Trump details Who Bankrolled U.S. Embassy Move

It’s that simple. The transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was paid for. It was the Republican Party’s largest funder in the past decade—Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas gambling casino maven, Adelson’s sole emphasis, after making billions, was Israel. He also happened to be Jewish. This story is reported in Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s new book. She had more access to the former president than most reporters.

According to Haberman, quoted in the New York Times, “Adelson’s singular focus was Israel, effectively acknowledging that the former president’s biggest funder was most interested in promoting the interests of a foreign country.” As the story goes, Adelson donated $20 million to a super PAC exclusively used to pressure then-president Trump “to adopt the highly controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Adelson saw in Trump a unique chance to induce change in American policy toward Israel. The $20 million donation spoke volumes to Trump. In his candidacy, he promised the embassy transfer to Jerusalem quite rapidly. He also used his promise to bring on board members of the evangelical Christian right. They fervently believe that when the second coming of Jesus happens, it will do so in Jerusalem.

Sheldon Adelson (l.) donated $20 million to a super PAC exclusively used to pressure then-president Trump to adopt the highly controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — Photo Middle East Eye

With Trump’s win, Adelson pressed him to get the move done. He also convinced Trump that resistance in Washington was overstated. Part of Trump’s strategy was to reduce the role of Palestinians in any peace action with Israel. He cut financial aid to them and forced the PLO office out of Washington. Haberman’s book details the byzantine maneuvers Trump engineered to get his way with Israel.

Now we have a closeup of how team Trump worked. Good reporting has spelled it out in all its exacting detail!


“Why the US moved its Embassy to Jerusalem,” The Daily Mail, 5/14/2018

“Archbishop of Canterbury expresses concerns about impact of a potential move to transfer UK’s embassy to Jerusalem,” Reuters, 10/9/2022

“Trump tell-all cites Adelson’s bankrolled Israel embassy move–Another ‘Confidence Man’ emerges from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s new book,” The New York Times, 10/7/2022

John Mason, PhD., who focuses on Arab culture, society, and history, is the author of LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017. He has taught at the University of Libya, Benghazi, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and the American University in Cairo; John served with the United Nations in Tripoli, Libya, and consulted extensively on socioeconomic and political development for USAID and the World Bank in 65 countries.

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