There are war games. There are diplomatic games. There are mind
games. And there are just plain - games. Monopoly, the most popular
game in the world, produced by Hasbro, one of the most successful game
sellers in the world, used to be just a game, a fun, simple, wildly
And then Hasbro decided to take the game one step further. Hasbro
already had the Banking Edition, the SquarePants Edition, the Junior
Disney Princess Edition, but they did not yet have the World Edition.
So Hasbro came up with a plan to invite fan participation and create
Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition. The invitation went out from
headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to the entire online world -
vote for you favorite city anywhere in the world and the cities with
the most votes will win spots around the coveted Monopoly board.
That's when the fun stopped. That's when true competition stepped
in. That's when Hasbro - unwittingly - stepped out of the realm of
gamesmanship and into the real world of politics and diplomacy. Problem
was, votes came in for the city of Jerusalem, Israel. Problem is, the
Arab world does not believe that Jerusalem belongs to Israel, the
Palestinians want Jerusalem for their own capital city one day. The
problem was solved by an independent-thinking Hasbro employee in the
London office. Just take out the comma and the word Israel. London
remained London comma England, Paris remained Paris comma France,
Istanbul a frontrunner for first place remained Istanbul comma Turkey
and Jerusalem was left to stand alone. And that did not sit well with
Hasbro does not like to make enemies. Hasbro will do almost anything
to avoid alienating clients. Politics is one property that Hasbro does
not want to land on. So Hasbro made another decision and this time the
decision came from way high up the management chain. All the commas and
all the countries were dropped. After all, Hasbro was really only
interested in city names for their game. The plan is working, Hasbro
dodged the bullet.
Truthfully, Hasbro did the right thing. Hasbro should not be in the
game of politics and diplomacy. It's not good for business. That game
is best played by governments and law makers. And the government of the
United States of America is playing the Jerusalem game right now.
The United States government, like Hasbro, has dropped the comma and
the country from the passports off all US citizens born in the city of
Jerusalem. That's right. If you are a US citizen born in Jerusalem your
official, listed, country of birth is ---, left blank.
There's more. Jerusalem is the only city in the world with two
United States consulates. One is in East Jerusalem, one is in West
Jerusalem. The embassy is in Tel Aviv. Year ago, there was need for two
consulates because Jerusalem was in two countries - Jordan and Israel.
But that was 41 years ago, everything changed in 1967. When Berlin was
divided they, too, had two consulates. The wall came down and one of
the embassies went away. Not so in Jerusalem.
The current presidential campaign is the first campaign in recent
history during which no candidate has declared that moving the United
States Embassy in Israel to the city of Jerusalem is a priority. In
other campaigns Israel was discussed and promises were made. OK, the
promises were broken, but the inequity was an issue that was opened up
Congress even passed an act to move the embassy. The reason it has
never happened is because of a presidential waiver written into the law
that requires the State Department to agree and traditionally, both
professionals and career people in State, have a real problem
designating Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
They fear that if the US officially recognizes Jerusalem it will enrage
the Arab and Muslim world and create a real problem for any future deal
the US makes with the Palestinians. I disagree. I know it would upset
the Arab world, but I also think that the Arab world would show more
respect towards the United States if the United States, knowing that
there would be strong disagreement over the policy, was emboldened
enough to make a clear decision on Jerusalem.
It's about time that the world recognizes that Israel has made her
own choice. And Israel has chosen Jerusalem. Jerusalem, comma, Israel.