While the Republican anti-Santas were looting the Treasury for their wealthy backers — and laughing all the way — the rest of the world took a decidedly different tack and overwhelmingly rejected President Donald Trump’s plans to wreak havoc on the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is one of the few cities in the world held to be “holy” by multiple religions. Christianity, Islam and Judaism all revere the ancient city for various reasons tied to their beliefs. While much of the Middle East is embroiled in what seems to be endless conflict, Jerusalem has largely been held to be off-limits to domination by any one religion or nation, as it should be.

But apparently our president doesn’t understand the concept of nations honoring and sharing a Holy City. Nope, instead Trump announced that he plans on moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and officially recognizing it as the capital of Israel. This is in direct contradiction to the United Nation’s position, which has existed for 50 years and holds that the status of Jerusalem must be determined by negotiations between Israel and Palestine…not some declaration by the president of the United States.

Trump’s announcement has roiled Jerusalem at a time when, at least for Christians, it should reflect the joy of the birth of Christ. Instead, a steady flow of reports of protests and violent clashes has been precipitated by Trump’s foolish announcement.

In response, a resolution demanding Trump rescind his plan came before the United Nations last Thursday. Being the Trump administration, which doesn’t seem to value the importance of civility or diplomacy, the first thing Trump and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., did was threaten retaliation for any nation voting for the resolution. And they did so in the harshest of terms, saying they would be watching every vote and the United States might withhold future funding for nations that supported the resolution and for the United Nations itself.

Perhaps reflecting the world’s weariness with U.S. involvement in Middle East wars, Trump’s brazen threat didn’t work. Despite being faced with what the Palestinian U.N. Ambassador called “blackmail and extortion” that “offended the entire international community,” 128 nations voted for the resolution, including Egypt, Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa — nations that receive billions in funding from the U.S. every year. Only Israel, the U.S. and seven other nations voted against the resolution, a stunning defeat for both Trump and Ambassador Haley, who had sent letters warning of retribution to over 180 countries.

Trump shot off an angry statement saying: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” Apparently having the rest of the world openly reject him doesn’t matter to the global bully in the White House. But when it comes to the international respect for our country, the signal should be clear and we should care.

What the world said is “peace on Earth, good will toward all.” And given that the U.S. is now conducting military operations in 159 nations, the sentiment evident in the U.N. vote is worth heeding.

Trump has hit unprecedented disapproval levels for the first year of a presidency, with the latest polls showing his standing in the low 30 percent range. As we celebrate the season and look forward to the New Year, it’s worth remembering that the only path forward for humanity is peace. If that means the majority of Americans joining the international community in openly rejecting Trump’s warmongering, so be it.

George Ochenski writes from Helena. His column appears each Monday on the Missoulian's Opinion page. He can be reached by email at oped@missoulian.com.

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