My first visit to Israel — a two-week, national security-focused trip — recently gave me the unique opportunity to be in Jerusalem on the very day the U.S. Embassy officially opened in the Holy City.
And on my return, I can only express my dismay at how recent events there were covered in the U.S. media. I interact with journalists daily, and while some do their very best to hide their bias, others put it on full display. Therefore, I was not surprised — just disappointed — to see despicable headlines in the wake of President Trump’s fulfillment of what has long been U.S. policy, but which no other president before him had the courage to do: the recognition of Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to the Holy City.
The media chose to spin that monumental day by giving coverage to massive protests orchestrated by a terrorist organization. The most sickening headline came from the New York Daily News and seemingly blamed Ivanka Trump (“Daddy’s little ghoul”) for the deaths of Palestinians and Hamas terrorists as they set out on their eighth week of inciting violence on the Gaza border.
The media elite, by publishing this and other similar drivel, lead me to believe that they have not seen what I saw during my time in Israel. They neglect to tell the stories of those who suffer the effects of Hamas — for example, the residents of the kibbutzim in Ashkelon and Sderot, who live in constant fear due to their close proximity to Hamas terrorists on the Gaza border. These journalists must have overlooked the piles of missiles that the residents of Ariel have collected over the years and the town’s playground that doubles as a bomb shelter.
They most likely didn’t climb the Golan Heights the day after Iranian forces in Syria had fired 20 missiles there, nor felt their hotel windows shake as the Israelis responded. Perhaps they’ve never witnessed Jewish Israelis embracing fellow Jews from around the world as well as Christians who’ve come to follow the footsteps of Jesus, nor prayed side-by-side with people of all religious backgrounds at the Western Wall.
How many more decades would we have had to wait for the law to be enforced, if not for Trump? Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all promised to move the embassy, but none had the guts to follow through on it. Not to mention the Congressional leaders who regularly grumble about Trump, but who voted for that very law in 1995: Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Pat Leahy, D-Vt., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Before heading home, I hugged and said goodbye to two special people from my tour group: Karen and Billy Vaughn, the Gold Star parents of fallen U.S. Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, a member of SEAL Team Six. Spending time with the Vaughns reminded me that I live in the greatest nation on Earth, thanks to people like their son, who gave his life so that we can live, speak, and worship freely. And, for that matter, so we can have a free press. His parents told us that, shortly before his death, Aaron said he wanted to someday join the Israel Defense Forces and fight alongside the Israelis. Sadly, he didn’t have that chance.
Erin Montgomery is communications director for America First Policies, a nonprofit organization committed to empowering and mobilizing the voices of Americans who support a safer, stronger, and more prosperous country.