American Geography

Trump to a roomful of Israelis: "We just got back from the Middle East." Slate's correspondent is extremely dismissive.

In fairness to the President, though, American geography is really confused where Israel is concerned. Officially Israel is in EUCOM, not in CENTCOM with all the countries that surround it. That's so the CENTCOM commander never has to meet with any Jews, making it easier for him to work with Arab leaders. So officially, according to the US military, Israel is in Europe.

The State Department, meanwhile, considers Israel to be part of the "Near East." (Although Saudi Arabia also qualifies as "Near East" rather than "Middle East" on this model; and, even more confusingly, "Middle East Peace" is one of the things that the "Near Eastern Affairs" bureau is tasked with handling.)

And apparently nobody is sure if the Western Wall is in Israel, though it is definitely in Jerusalem, which may or may not be in Israel depending on which American you ask.


Eric Blair said...

It's Southwest Asia. Or the Levant. Maybe Judea and Arabia Magna. Names change.

E Hines said...

Or it's the Orient, which is what it was according to American Christianity and politics in the late 19th century when we were busy trying to convert the whole place.

This is just some pressmen desperate for clicks.

Eric Hines

Anonymous said...

I always call it Southwest Asia. Keeps my students alert.