Categorized | Middle East, USA

Quick reaction to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

SAN DIEGO (SDJW)–U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel brought swift reaction from major Jewish organizations, members of Congress, and others.

Here are those emailed to San Diego Jewish World:

StandWithUs– StandWithUs applauds the U.S. Administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We urge Palestinian leaders and Israel’s neighboring states to accept reality and focus on making peace.

“This decision acknowledges what has already been true for a long time,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. “Jerusalem has been the most important city to the Jewish people for 3,000 years. That it is now the capital of a modern Jewish state is an example of historical justice that everyone should not only recognize, but celebrate. It is also nothing new: it has been US law since 1995 that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and that the U.S. Embassy should be moved there from Tel Aviv.”

Michael Dickson, Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel said, “this should not be seen as a real impediment to peace. In past negotiations there has never been any question that Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel.”

“We hope that rather than turning to pointless acts of violence, Palestinian leaders and other regional players will accept reality and work together with Israelis to achieve a just peace,” concluded Dickson.

Since King David made Jerusalem his capital in the 10th century BCE, Jerusalem has been the geographical center of the Jewish people. For centuries it was the capital city of Jewish kingdoms, the location of Judaism’s holiest sites, and the historical focus of Jewish political life. Jerusalem is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, but only under Israeli rule has there been full religious freedom and access to holy sites for all three religions.

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U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam — 
Representative Peter Roskam (IL-06), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, released the following statement on the President’s announcement moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel:

I applaud the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to begin the process of moving the US Embassy to this holy city.  Today’s announcement is the type of clear leadership that is so vital for the region.

“In the past year international organizations, including and especially at the United Nations, have passed numerous resolutions denying the three-thousand-year-old bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem and have dedicated vast resources to discriminatorily and outrageously target Israeli and American companies operating in areas such as the Old City. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital repairs a longtime injustice and sends a clear signal to the world that despite their attempts to rewrite history and wage economic warfare against the Jewish State, the United States stands with Israel.

‘I look forward to working with the Administration as it facilitates our embassy’s historic move and hope to soon visit our new Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal and undivided capital.”

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Jewish Reform Movement –– President Trump’s ill-timed, but expected, announcement affirms what the Reform Jewish Movement has long held: that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Yet while we share the President’s belief that the U.S. Embassy should, at the right time, be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we cannot support his decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process. Additionally, any relocation of the American Embassy to West Jerusalem should be conceived and executed in the broader context reflecting Jerusalem’s status as a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

The President has said that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “the ultimate deal.” Just this weekend, his advisor Jared Kushner noted the importance of such an agreement to regional stability overall. While the President took the right step in announcing that he would sign the waiver, as have his Republican and Democratic predecessors, the White House should not undermine these efforts by making unilateral decisions that are all but certain to exacerbate the conflict.

We urge the President to do everything in his power to move forward with efforts to bring true peace to the region and take no unilateral steps that will make that dream more distant. We welcome the opportunity to work with the White House to realize the day when Jerusalem truly becomes a beacon of peace.

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National Council of Young Israel — The​ ​national​ ​council​ ​of​ ​Young​ ​Israel​ ​applauds​ ​President​ ​Trump’s​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​move​ ​the​ ​American Embassy​ ​from​ ​Tel​ ​Aviv​ ​to​ ​Jerusalem.

Farley​ ​Weiss,​ ​the​ ​President​ ​of​ ​NCYI,​ ​says,​ ​“This​ ​is​ ​not​ ​only​ ​the​ ​right​ ​and​ ​brave​ ​decision,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​is also​ ​a​ ​decision​ ​of​ ​extraordinary​ ​importance​ ​to​ ​Israel​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Jewish​ ​people.​ ​We​ ​are​ ​gratified​ ​that the​ ​President​ ​did​ ​not​ ​let​ ​terror​ ​threats​ ​prevent​ ​him​ ​from​ ​taking​ ​this​ ​momentous​ ​step​ ​forward​ ​in our​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Jewish​ ​state.”

NCYI’s​ ​firm​ ​stance​ ​is​ ​that​ ​Jerusalem​ ​is​ ​not​ ​only​ ​the​ ​eternal​ ​capital​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Jewish​ ​people,​ ​but​ ​that Israel​ ​does​ ​not​ ​have​ ​secure​ ​borders​ ​without​ ​Jerusalem.

This​ ​decision​ ​has​ ​overwhelming​ ​bipartisan​ ​support​ ​in​ ​Israel​ ​and​ ​America.​ ​It​ ​has​ ​been​ ​over​ ​20 years​ ​since​ ​the​ ​Jerusalem​ ​Embassy​ ​Act​ ​was​ ​approved​ ​by​ ​a​ ​93-5​ ​vote​ ​in​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​Senate.​ ​We​ ​note that​ ​Democratic​ ​leader​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Senate,​ ​Chuck​ ​Schumer,​ ​has​ ​publicly​ ​supported​ ​moving​ ​our Embassy​ ​to​ ​Jerusalem.​ ​This​ ​decision​ ​has​ ​only​ ​been​ ​touched​ ​on​ ​and​ ​hinted​ ​at​ ​by​ ​former presidents,​ ​while​ ​President​ ​Trump​ ​is​ ​the​ ​first​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​it.

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America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-Today is a historic day for the U.S.-Israel relationship. For the first time, the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

AIPAC has always supported American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital city, and we commend President Trump’s momentous announcement and decision to initiate relocating the U.S. embassy there.

This recognition is a long-overdue step to implement U.S. law. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 declared that Jerusalem “should remain an undivided city,” and “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem.” AIPAC strongly supported passage of that act, which Congress overwhelmingly adopted on a bipartisan basis.

Importantly, relocating the embassy to Jerusalem does not in any way prejudge the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to include establishing two states for two peoples and resolving Palestinian claims to the eastern portion of the city and the disposition of holy places. Rather, this announcement acknowledges that Jerusalem will continue to be Israel’s capital as part of any conceivable final status agreement.

The Jewish people have maintained a constant presence in Jerusalem, their holiest city, for more than 3,000 years. Israel declared the city its capital following its reestablishment in 1948. When the United States ultimately relocates its embassy to Jerusalem, it will treat Israel as it does every other country with which we have diplomatic relations.

Today’s action by President Trump is an important, historic step for which we are grateful. We urge the president to quickly relocate our embassy to Israel’s capital.

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U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey — Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and instructed the State Department to develop a plan on how best to move the U.S. Embassy to that city:“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I was proud to vote for the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which demonstrated Congress’ unified position that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel, and today’s announcement is consistent with existing U.S. law.

“We must remain focused on the goal of two states for two peoples – the Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state – living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition. The Administration must focus its efforts on bringing both sides to the table, as only the parties themselves can agree to end this conflict.”

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American Jewish Committee (AJC) — AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, praises President Trump for declaring today that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“By stating the truth of Jerusalem’s status as the capital of the State of Israel, President Trump has asserted U.S. global leadership towards ending a longstanding, senseless anomaly,” said AJC CEO David Harris.

“With the Prime Minister’s Office, the Knesset, and nearly all government offices situated in Jerusalem since Israel’s independence nearly 70 years ago, it is inexplicable that countries around the world have refused to recognize Israel’s capital,” said Harris. “No other country in the world is treated this way.”

AJC also welcomed President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reinforcing today’s recognition of Israel’s capital city.

“We look forward to the day when the American flag, at long last, is flying at a new U.S. Embassy in one of the capital city’s western neighborhoods, which have been under Israeli sovereignty for nearly seven decades,” said Harris.

Jerusalem has been uniquely connected to the Jewish people and Jewish consciousness for literally millennia.

Longstanding resistance to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has encouraged many UN member states, led by Arab and Muslim nations, to regularly adopt resolutions that ignore historical facts and deny any Jewish link to Jerusalem.

“We hope other countries will value the clarity and wisdom of President Trump’s historic decision, and also recognize Jerusalem and relocate their embassies there,” said Harris.

AJC, a longtime supporter of a negotiated two-state solution, emphasized that the President’s declaration does not affect either the role of the United States as the essential facilitator of Israeli-Palestinian peace or the necessity of negotiations to resolve final-status issues of the conflict, including Palestinian claims regarding the disputed eastern part of Jerusalem.

“The administration’s commitment to advancing that peace process is most welcome,” said Harris.

AJC was the first American Jewish organization to open a permanent office in Jerusalem nearly 60 years ago. In celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary, the annual AJC Global Forum will take place in Jerusalem in June, 2018.

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Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the announcement by President Trump that the United States officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that he is beginning the process of relocating the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. ADL also welcomed the President’s statement of commitment to a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace, and urged the U.S., the parties and regional leadership to focus on reducing tensions and creating conditions for a rapid resumption of peace negotiations between the two parties.

Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:

For decades, ADL has called on the United States – and the entire international community – to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. At a time when international organizations and other detractors delegitimize the Jewish state and deny any Jewish connection to the holy city, this is a significant step that acknowledges reality: Jerusalem is the political capital of the country and has been the spiritual heart of the Jewish people for millennia. We welcome President Trump’s announcement that the United States – almost 70 years after the founding of the State of Israel – will begin the process to relocate its embassy consistent with the longstanding bipartisan consensus as enshrined in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

And yet this important and long overdue step should not preclude the imperative of peace negotiations – including discussions over the final status of Jerusalem. We urge the U.S., Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the international community to work together to reduce tensions and create conditions conducive for the rapid resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leading to a two-state solution.

We recognize that this is an enormously sensitive and volatile issue, and we call on the Administration to implement this new policy in a careful and thoughtful manner in consultation with regional leaders. We also hope that all parties emphasize the fact that this announcement does not diminish the recognition of, and respect for, the Muslim and Christian connection to the holy city.

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Zionist Organization of America –Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

The ZOA strongly praises and gives our heartfelt thanks to President Donald Trump for today officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and moving the US Embassy there. President Trump’s important, historic, moral and just action paves the way to move the US Embassy to Israel’s eternal capital Jerusalem.  The President’s action will lead to the fulfillment of the President’s campaign promise and the Republican Party platform’s plank to move the embassy to Jerusalem, as well as the spirit and text of Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which was approved with virtually unanimous bi-partisan support.  Israel will soon no longer be a “second class citizen” – the only country in the world with which we have diplomatic relations where the U.S. Embassy is not in that nation’s capital. But Trump inaccurately stated today that Jerusalem is the “heart “ of Islam; Mecca and Medina are Islam’s holiest cities. There is a holy Muslim place in Jerusalem – but the city is not holy to Islam. ZOA also is concerned about Trump supporting “maintaining the status quo.” Presently the Muslim Wakf controls the Temple Mount and doesn’t permit Jews to pray there or even move their lips there. This religious bigotry must end!

The President’s action also sends the crucial message of American strength – that Islamic terror threats will not dissuade the United States from doing what is right. President Trump has sent a powerful critical message that he will not allow Islamic terrorism to succeed. Trump explained that not moving the Embassy for 22 years has not brought us any closer to peace. And he said we must “rethink old assumptions… can’t make the same mistakes” and “expel extremists from our midst.” He added that freedom of religion has existed under Israeli rule.

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem strengthens American security and enhances worldwide respect for America by demonstrating the U.S. can be counted on to keep her commitments to her allies, and will not be intimidated and show weakness by appeasing radical Islamic threats.  If we allowed U.S. policy to be determined by radical Islamist terror threats, we would only encourage more such threats and terror, and undermine the U.S. campaign to eradicate radical Islamic terror.

ZOA President Morton Klein testified last month at a Congressional hearing regarding relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, convened by Congressman and Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security.  Mr. Klein’s written testimony can be viewed here, and the full hearing, including Mr. Klein’s oral testimony, the excellent statements of Chairman DeSantis and other committee members, and the testimony of co-panelists Ambassador John Bolton, Ambassador Dore Gold, Professor Eugene Kontorovich, and Dr. Koplow, can be viewed here.

Among other issues, Mr. Klein testified that he personally spoke to the Jerusalem Embassy Act’s authors Senator Bob Dole and Senator John Kyl at the time the Act was passed in 1995.  They told Mr. Klein directly that no president should ever use the waiver more than once or twice if at all. And if they do the waiver, authority should be rescinded by Congress.

ZOA also brought to the Congressional Committee’s attention Senator Dole’s testimony, contained in the Congressional Record in 1995 (Vol. 141, No. 165, Oct. 24, 1995 (Senate), p. 15528), that the waiver was only intended to be used in extremely limited emergency security danger and not because the timing might not be the best.  Senator Dole testified: “The President cannot lawfully invoke this waiver simply because he thinks it would be better not to move our Embassy to Jerusalem or simply because he thinks it would be better to move it at a later time. The waiver is designed to be read and interpreted narrowly.”

It is enormously gratifying and praiseworthy that after twenty-years of presidents inappropriately signing the waiver, President Trump has properly and courageously and morally declined to do so.

As Mr. Klein also pointed out in his testimony last month:

Moving the embassy will not cause further Mideast instability.  Israel’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and Egypt is strong today because of mutual security concerns and threats from Iran.  Moving the embassy will not change this.

Not moving the embassy for twenty-two years did not help peace prospects.  Peace is further away now than 22 years ago. Peace is impossible solely because of the Palestinian Arabs’ refusal to accept Israel within any border; their refusals to even negotiate and outlaw terrorist groups, and end the promotion of hatred and murder in their leaders’ speeches, schools, media and mosques; and their continuing to pay Arabs to murder Jews.  In addition, the Palestinian Authority has now reconciled with terrorist group Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of Jews and Israel’s destruction.  The greatest outbreak of Palestinian Arab violence occurred after Israel offered unprecedented concessions and a Palestinian-Arab State in 2000.  This is all despite the fact that the embassy has not been moved for over two decades.

Only under Israeli control of Jerusalem have all faiths been guaranteed access to their holy sites.  Under illegal Jordanian control of eastern Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, Jews and Christians were denied access to their holy sites.  Christians couldn’t build or add to their churches, and were forced to teach the Koran.  The only place in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown is in Israel.  Today, under Palestinian-Arab control, 80% of the Christians have fled from Bethlehem because of Muslim oppression.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes clear he would cut off access to religious sites by regularly making the racist statement that: “In a final resolution, we would not see a single Israel civilian or soldier on our land.”  Jewish sites in PA-controlled territory, like Joseph’s Tomb, have already become virtually inaccessible to Jews.  Palestinian Arabs also continue to desecrate Christian churches, statues, crosses and cemeteries, and land and property of Christians has been confiscated and extorted.

Moreover, Jerusalem has been the capital only of Israel.  It’s never been the capital of any other country.  And as the Jerusalem Embassy Act found, 1996 marked the 3,000th year of Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry.And the majority of people living in Jerusalem since the mid 1800’s have been Jews. In 1906, the famed Baedeker’s Guide to Jerusalem states that there were 40,000 Jews, 13,000 Christians and 7000 Muslims living there in 1906.

Furthermore, Jerusalem is not once mentioned in the Islamic Koran, while it’s mentioned 700 times in Jewish holy books. Jews pray for Jerusalem 20 times a day. Jews face Jerusalem during prayer. Muslims face Mecca. When The Jordanian Arab Muslims controlled Jerusalem, it became a slum; Jordan built their Capitol in Amman, built the royal residence and university in Amman, and had their public Friday prayers chanted from a mosque in Amman – not Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. No Arab leader but Jordanian monarchs visited Jerusalem and no important place of Islamic learning was established in Jerusalem. And when the Koran was written stating Mohammed went (in a dream) from the “furthest mosque” to heaven on a “winged horse”, there were no mosques in Jerusalem and the Muslims did not control Palestine. This indicates Mohammed could not have made his heavenly trip from Jerusalem.

There are holy Muslim places in Jerusalem but Jerusalem has never been a holy city to Muslims; Mecca and Medina are the Muslim holy cities.

The ZOA proudly and gratefully and with great appreciation proclaims a hearty and heartfelt thanks to President Trump.

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U.S. Rep. Lou Correa — Congressman Lou Correa (D-California) released the following statement on President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem:

“I am a strong supporter of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship. However, in the interest of peace, I currently do not support moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. The Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations all delayed the moving of the US Embassy. I believe in continuing that policy.”

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J Street — Today, President Trump gave a speech in which he announced that his administration is officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and beginning preparations to move the US embassy there.

It’s a reckless decision that brings with it no tangible benefits — and many serious risks.

Why, you may ask, is this decision so important? Why are so many experts and foreign leaders worried about what it could mean for peace and stability in Jerusalem and throughout the region?

Because for decades, American presidents of both parties have made clear that while parts of Jerusalem will eventually be internationally recognized as the capital of Israel, the final status of the entirety of Jerusalem has to be decided by a negotiated peace agreement. They’ve avoided any step that could be seen to prejudge the outcome — like recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Let’s be clear — J Street believes that Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem, where the Jewish people have ancient ties and an incredibly deep spiritual connection. And we know that the only way to secure international recognition of this capital, and lasting peace for the city and for Israel as a whole, is via a two-state solution that also makes East Jerusalem the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

Today’s announcement only moves us farther away from that goal. Security officials and diplomats from the US and Israel have warned that it could lead to violence, not only in Jerusalem but in Arab and Muslim states across the region — and potentially against US diplomats and servicepeople. Indeed, the State Department has already warned US embassies around the world to heighten security in the wake of the announcement.

Already, the move is meeting with outrage and condemnation from the Palestinians and from key Arab allies like Jordan and Saudi Arabia — precisely the allies whose support and engagement is needed to advance negotiations and achieve the administration’s stated goal of achieving comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Arab leaders are portraying the move as an alarming sign that the US is not truly serious about leading good-faith diplomatic efforts towards Israeli-Palestinian peace — and warning that it could inflame tensions throughout the Muslim world.

Simply put: There’s no good reason to take this destabilizing decision right now, at a time when the administration claims it is focusing on launching a major new peace initiative. Like so much of what the president says and does, it seems designed purely to cater to his hard-right base among Christian evangelicals and a small minority of American Jews. In fact, he explicitly made clear that this decision was intended to deliver on a campaign promise.

While some of the president’s defenders may portray this move as a “pro-Israel” step, the vast majority of American Jews do not support it. The Reform Movement, the largest Jewish movement in North America, has spoken out against it. A September 2017 AJC poll found that 80 percent of American Jews believe that the embassy should either not be moved, or should be moved only in conjunction with progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace. And polling released by the Brookings Foundation just last week found that 31 percent of Americans back such a step.

This decision by the president is just the latest example of this administration’s provocative and incoherent foreign policy undermining our credibility, imperiling our security and alienating our allies. J Street has been and continues to be an important force pushing back against decisions like these — and the extreme, influential groups and individual voices who promote them.

As we hope and pray that this move does not lead to further violence and suffering, we’re standing up for the kind of effective diplomacy and pragmatic policy that can actually secure Israel’s future and make the region safer. We’re working towards sweeping political change in 2018, to empower a rising generation of pro-Israel, pro-peace lawmakers to serve as a powerful bulwark against the worst inclinations of the Trump administration.

Today is a day for worry and frustration — but also for resolve and renewed commitment.

With your continued support, we can help bring about a different kind of American leadership.

We can help bring about a better future for Israelis, for Palestinians and for Jerusalem.

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Kelli Ward — Dr. Kelli Ward of Arizona, candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement today on President Trump’s decision to recognize the city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“I applaud President Trump for having the vision and courage to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the united and eternal capital of Israel.”

“This move is long overdue. There is no doubt Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and the Jewish people have a unique and special connection to this city that spans thousands of years. The Knesset and many government ministries are in Jerusalem, which makes the president’s decision to recognize it as Israel’s capital a realistic and appropriate one.”

“This year marked the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, which saw a city that was divided by war and stalemate for nearly 20 years brought back together, and next year we will join our Israeli friends in celebrating the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding.”

“I recently returned from a two-week trip to Israel and was inspired by the history of this great country and the resilient spirit of the Jewish people. The alliance that America shares with Israel can never be broken, and we should continue to strengthen the bonds that we share with our greatest friend and ally in the Middle East as all parties strive toward achieving lasting peace in the region.”

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Americans for Peace Now — Donald Trump today sabotaged decades of American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By announcing his disastrous new policy on Jerusalem, he is causing severe damage to the prospects of Middle East peace, imperiling lives, and degrading US leadership.

Defying the counsel of America’s top diplomats and security experts, as well as the urging of US regional and international allies, Trump decided to put politics before policy, to cater to domestic extremists in his political base, and to toss a match into the most combustible place on earth: the holy city of Jerusalem. Trump’s irresponsible action has further eroded American prestige and influence in the international arena.

The price of this reckless action will be paid by Israelis and Palestinians, who want and deserve peace. For decades, American presidents strived to be stewards of that goal. While Trump claims to want the “ultimate deal,” his announcement today will achieve the opposite. Violent demonstrations are already breaking out in the West Bank and Gaza, the US consulate in Jerusalem has issued a security warning for American diplomats and citizens, and the leaders of Jordan and Turkey warned today that terrorists will benefit from this reckless action.

Today, President Trump has at last endorsed a two-state solution, as Americans for Peace Now has relentlessly urged him to do. Unfortunately, he has done it in a context in which this endorsement is entirely undermined by today’s move regarding Jerusalem. Trump and his team can still salvage the two-state solution, but only by adopting a realistic peace plan that addresses the needs and aspirations of both sides.

APN has always contended that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should come only in the context of a final settlement in which Palestinian claims to Jerusalem are addressed. Acting otherwise pre-judges the outcome of final-status negotiations. This act disregards the potential for the loss of human life in order for Trump to pander to the ideologues in his base.

Let us be clear: Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It is a fact. The question is: how can Jerusalem’s future status be addressed in a way that serves the cause of peace? What our sisters and brothers in Israel need is not recognition; they need a real friend in the White House who will help them reach peace with their neighbors and secure Israel as a state that is both Jewish and a democracy.

APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said, “Trump is causing severe damage to the prospects of Middle East peace, imperiling lives, and degrading US leadership. 

“Trump argues that this move simply recognizes an existing reality. In fact, he is creating a new reality. It is a reality in which our allies have good reason to conclude that America has relinquished any pretense of serving as an honest broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. It is a reality in which America sides with the exclusivity of Israeli claims and ignores Palestinian aspirations. It is a reality in which America’s president acts alone, furthering isolating the Unites States on the world stage.”

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Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in America — Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – applauded President Donald Trump for his historic change of U.S. government policy toward the status of Jerusalem – the ancient and current capital of Israel and the Jewish People.

Over 3000 years ago, King David constructed the holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  For millennia, Jews around the world directed their prayers toward Jerusalem and prayed to return to Jerusalem.  Indeed, the prayer to return to Jerusalem is invoked at the conclusions of the sacred Yom Kippur service and the Passover Seder.  In 1948, when the modern State of Israel was miraculously founded, its leaders – of course – chose Jerusalem as the capital even though Arab armies occupied Judaism’s holiest sites.  With G-d’s help, the city was reunited in 1967 and it has flourished ever since.  Under Israeli rule, Jerusalem is an open city where people of all faiths may freely visit and worship at their holy sites.

Sadly, and from our perspective wrongly, the international community has ignored the history of Jerusalem and its centrality in the lives and faith of the Jewish people.  Moreover, the responsible stewardship for the holy city provided by the State of Israel is largely ignored.  In 1995, the United States Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act – legislation advocated for by the Orthodox Union.  The 1995 Act established as a matter of U.S. policy the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and required the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  While Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama each pledged to implement this commitment, none of them did.  Today, President Trump began to fulfill this promise.

Allen Fagin – Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union stated: “For the past twenty-two years, the Orthodox Union has persistently and proudly advocated for Presidents and their Administrations to do the right thing – consistent with the duly enacted law – and move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem.”  (See our timeline at https://advocacy.ou.org/)  “Therefore – today – we applaud President Trump for his historic announcement and for beginning the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.”

Mark (Moishe) Bane – President of the Orthodox Union stated: “We commend President Trump for doing what is not just the right thing to do, but what is actually the common sense thing to do – to have America’s embassy in the chosen capital city of a close ally, the State of Israel.”

Nathan J. Diament – Director of Public Policy for the Orthodox Union stated: “We believe this announcement by President Trump is not only the right thing to do with regard to Jerusalem, it is the right thing to do for those who hope for a long term arrangement for peace and security in the region.  The President’s policy makes clear that the path forward is one of negotiation between the parties, not counterproductive steps nor stalemate.”

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Hadassah — Statement from Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin in response to President Donald Trump’s speech on 12/6/17 recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

Hadassah and Jerusalem have always been synonymous.

We applaud the US Administration for its historic recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel for the first time in seven decades. Hadassah has always viewed Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and reaffirms its unwavering support for a united Jerusalem. All democracies have the ability to choose their own capital, and so too must Israel. Its government buildings including the Knesset and the Supreme Court have been located in the city of Jerusalem since the country declared its independence in 1948.

Historically and politically, spiritually and culturally, Jerusalem represents the heart and soul of the Jewish people. Our two hospital campuses lie within the holy city, and have transcended politics for nearly 100 years by offering top notch medical care to anyone in need regardless of religion, race or national origin.

Only under Israeli sovereignty has Jerusalem and its religious sites been open to all people. Hadassah Medical Organization has served, and will continue to serve as a beacon of peace in the region. We offer our sincere hope for calm throughout the region during this transition. We applaud the recognition of the city we hold so dear, and continue to advocate for a peaceful solution where all can live in safety and security.
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — President Trump‘s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital aligns U.S. presence with the reality that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, Supreme Court, President’s office, and Prime Minister‘s office.

We have consulted with many friends, partners, and allies in advance of the President making his decision. We firmly believe there is an opportunity for a lasting peace.

As the President said in his remarks today, “Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it.”

The President decided today, as Congress first urged in the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, and has reaffirmed regularly since, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The State Department will immediately begin the process to implement this decision by starting the preparations to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The safety of Americans is the State Department’s highest priority, and in concert with other federal agencies, we’ve implemented robust security plans to protect the safety of Americans in affected regions.

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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations today welcomed the statement by President Donald J. Trump asserting U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and beginning the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, of the Conference of Presidents issued the following statement:

“Today, nearly seventy years after the founding of the modern State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, the United States has officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Since 1949 the seat of Israel’s government has been in Jerusalem. This historic change in U.S. policy rights a longstanding injustice.
Although President Trump renewed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, he confirmed that the multi-year process for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem envisioned by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress in passing the Jerusalem Embassy Act and supported by both Republican and Democratic Party platforms for more than twenty years, would begin now.
As the President noted, nothing in the decision announced today pre-empts negotiations over any core issue in the conflict, including the final boundaries of Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.
It is our hope the decisions announced by President Trump will enhance the prospects for progress toward peace.  We look forward to continued strong U.S. leadership and support the President’s commitment to facilitating meaningful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Conference of Presidents is gratified that its decades-long policy calling for U.S. recognition of Israel’s capital in Jerusalem has now been realized.
In the fifty years since Israel reunified Jerusalem, it has demonstrated an enduring commitment, enshrined in Israeli law, to protect Muslim, Christian and Jewish Holy Sites and to assure freedom of access to them for worshippers of all faiths.
We are deeply disturbed by statements emanating from the Palestinian Authority and others in the Muslim world threatening dire consequences, including violence, for U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  These threats echo decades of belligerence and incitement and serve to further erode the credibility of the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to resolving the conflict. The Palestinian Authority, Israel’s neighbors in the region, and all governments must act clearly and directly to prevent the outbreak of violence.

For nearly 3,500 years, the Jewish people have maintained an indivisible bond to Jerusalem.  It is truly fitting that President Trump has taken this step just days before Jews all over the world begin celebrating the festival of Chanukah marking the return of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem and the rededication of the Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, more than 2,000 years ago.  U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel also sends a strong message to the international community that attempts in the UN to erase the Jewish connection to Jerusalem are counterproductive and will not succeed.”

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Jewish Council for Public Affairs — The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) welcomes the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and planned move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Israeli government, its parliament, courts, and prime minister, have been located in Jerusalem since just after the birth of the State. We agree with the President that Israel, like all countries, has the right to determine the location of its capital.

JCPA also supports the Administration’s commitment to the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace and security, and encourages the US to continue its efforts to bring the parties together for direct negotiations.
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World Jewish Congress —  World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has welcomed US President Donald Trump’s announcement officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, his expressed commitment to reaching a mutually agreed upon two-state solution, and respecting the importance of holy sites for all three religions.

“President Trump has taken a critical and courageous step today in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and reaffirming the United States’ commitment to a mutually agreed upon two-state solution. Jerusalem is the indisputable capital of Israel and the historic capital of the Jewish people. We hope that the US’ clear declaration to this effect, and its reiteration that this has long been its policy, sends a strong message to the international community of this truth.

“The World Jewish Congress fully supports the US position that a peaceful solution to the longstanding conflict must be mutual, and we have affirmed this position in our organizational resolutions and advocacy on the international stage. 

“As President Trump so rightfully said, Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all of whom deserve to have their religious sites and historical connection respected. Israel has demonstrated its commitment to that ideal for the past 50 years.

“President Trump is a true friend of the Jewish people and we deeply appreciate his call for calm. We hope that this declaration will be the beginning of a fresh political process and a move toward peace and stability in the Middle East.”
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