The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice-Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein for criticizing and opposing President Barack Hussein Obamas deeply disturbing demand that no additional Jews be allowed to move into the eastern part of Jerusalem.
Mr. Solow and Mr. Hoenlein stated on behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group of 52 Jewish groups:
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has long advocated and supported the unity of Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel. As such, we believe that legal construction by residents of the city should be allowed We find disturbing the objections raised to the proposed construction of residential units (in eastern Jerusalem) on property that was legally purchased and approved by the appropriate authorities The United States has in the past and recently raised objections to the removal of illegal structures built by Arabs in eastern Jerusalem even though they were built in violation of zoning and other requirements often on usurped land No government of Israel has or can pursue a discriminatory policy that would prevent the legitimate presence of Jews in any area of its capital.
In regard to this issue, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Israeli Cabinet this week, I would like to reemphasize that the United Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people and of the state of Israel. Our sovereignty over it cannot be challenged; this means inter alia that residents of Jerusalem may purchase apartments in all parts of the city .We cannot accept the idea that Jews will not have the right to live and purchase in all parts of Jerusalem. I can only describe to myself what would happen if someone would propose that Jews could not live in certain neighborhoods in New York, London, Paris or Rome. There would certainly be a major outcry. Accordingly, we cannot agree to such a decree in Jerusalem. This has been the policy of the Israeli governments over the years and it is also the policy of our government. Netanyahu was also quoted as saying in the Israeli daily Haaretz, July 20, 2009, Israel will not agree with edicts of this kind in east Jerusalem I was surprised by the American demand in my conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, I told him I could not accept any restrictions on our sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Jeff Jacoby, a distinguished columnist for the Boston Globe, weighed in by writing today,
the Obama administration demanded that the Israeli government pull the plug on a planned housing development near the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, of Jerusalem Why does the Obama administration want the development killed? Because it is in a largely Arab section of Jerusalem and the developers of the planned apartments are Jews.
Think about that for a moment. Six months after Barack Obama became the first Black man to move into the previously all-white residential facility at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Obama is fighting to prevent integration in Jerusalem.
It is impossible to imagine the opposite scenario. The Obama administration would never demand that Israel prevent Arabs from moving into a Jewish neighborhood. And the Obama Justice Department would unleash seven kinds of hell on anyone who tried to impose racial, ethnic or religious redlining in an American city. In the 21st century, segregation is unthinkable except, it seems when it comes to housing Jews in Jerusalem .
US policy, laid out in U.S. Law called the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 recognized all of Jerusalem as a united city administered by Israel and formally declares that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.
Former President Clinton said, Jerusalem should be an open and undivided city. as a presidential candidate Barack Obama said much the same thing Jerusalem will remain Israels capital and no one should want or expect it to be re-divided Let me be clear Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.
Jews always lived in eastern Jerusalem (they were a majority from the mid-1800s until 1948 when Jordan forced all the Jews out) it is the location of the Old City, and its famous Jewish Quarter, after all, not to mention Hebrew University which was founded in 1918. The apartment complex that Obama opposes is going up in what was once Shimon Hatzadik, a Jewish neighborhood established in 1891. Only from 1948 to 1967 during Jordans illegal occupation was the eastern part of Israels capital Arab territory. Palestinian Arabs have no more claim to sovereignty there than Russia does in formerly Russian occupied eastern Berlin.
The great obstacle to Middle East peace is not that Jews insist on living among Arabs. It is that Arabs insist that Jews not live among them. If Obama doesnt grasp that yet, he has a lot to learn.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, We strongly support the Conference of Presidents statement asserting the right of Jews to live or move into the eastern portion of Jerusalem. Whether Jews live or move into eastern Jerusalem is not a factor in preventing peace between Palestinian Arabs and Israel. The primary factors preventing peace are the Palestinian Authoritys refusal to arrest anti-Israel terrorists; refusal to outlaw terrorist groups; end incitement to hatred and violence against Jews and Israel in their schools, media, and speeches; their continuing to glorify terrorists by naming schools, streets, sports teams, and computer centers after them; disseminating heroic posters of suicide bombers throughout Arab towns; excluding Israel from their maps; Abbas Fatah partys new emblem showing all of Israel covered with an Arab headdress, next to a large rifle, with Arafat in the middle; and not accepting and teaching the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. All of these actions are required in virtually every signed agreement from Oslo to Wye to the Road Map.
We need a major public conversation about the anti-peace, pro-terror actions of the Palestinian Authority not whether Jews should move into Ariel, Efrat, Betar Illit, Maaleh Adumim, or eastern Jerusalem.
We must also remember that Jerusalem is mentioned 700 times in the Jewish holy books never, not once in the Muslim Koran. Jerusalem is never mentioned in the PLO Covenant. Judaisms holiest places the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, are in eastern Jerusalem. Jerusalem has only been the capital of Israel, not the capital of any other country. No Arab leader, except Jordans King Hussein, ever visited eastern Jerusalem when the Arabs controlled it from 1948-1967 and the Arabs allowed eastern Jerusalem to become a slum with virtually no running water, electricity or modern plumbing. There were 58 synagogues in eastern Jerusalem when the Arabs controlled it and the Arabs destroyed every synagogue there. The Arabs also destroyed the 40,000 headstones in the Mount of Olives cemetery, the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in the world, which was located in eastern Jerusalem. Abba Eban called it an orgy of hate.