Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The ZOA is deeply disappointed by a Bloomberg report that President Trump will not move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem now. The President had repeatedly promised to move the embassy during his presidential campaign. U.S. law (the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995) requires the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, unless there is a presidential waiver. Jerusalem is and has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and is the united capital of the modern Jewish State of Israel.
According to the Bloomberg report, Trump has decided to defer moving the U.S. embassy to avoid provoking the Palestinian Arabs. This sends a message of weakness. Policy should never be determined by terrorist threats. Otherwise we will have more terrorism and more threats. And this harms the effort to destroy radical Islamic terrorism and ISIS.
During his 2016 AIPAC speech, then-candidate Trump acknowledged that standing with Israel would increase the prospects for peace, and affirmed that he would move the embassy, saying:
“When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one. Thank you. And when I say something, I mean it, I mean it. . . . [W]hen the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise and rises exponentially. That’s what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States. We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
The Trump campaign’s policy platform also unconditionally reaffirmed:
“The U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and Mr. Trump’s Administration will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.” (“Joint Statement from Jason Dov Greenblatt and David Friedman, Co-Chairmen of the Israel Advisory Committee to Donald J. Trump,” – Compendium of Positions Confirmed with Donald Trump – Nov. 2, 2016.)
After these firm promises to the pro-Israel community and the American people, not moving the embassy risks damaging the President’s credibility.
Congress specifically found and stated in the Jerusalem Embassy Act that, among other things: “(1) Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital. (2) Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel. (3) The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions. . . (15) The United States maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except in the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel. (16) The United States conducts official meetings and other business in the city of Jerusalem in de facto recognition of its status as the capital of Israel. (17) In 1996, the State of Israel celebrated the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry.” ZOA further notes that Jerusalem has never been the capital of any country except Israel. There has never been a “Palestinian Arab” capital in Jerusalem.
Failing to move the embassy also continues to propagate the Arab propaganda myth that Jerusalem is holy to Muslims. Jerusalem is the Jewish people’s holiest city and the site of the first and second Jewish Temples – the holiest Jewish site. Jerusalem is mentioned almost 700 times in the Torah – while Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran. During the 19 years when Jordan illegally occupied the eastern portion of Jerusalem (1948-1967), Jordan demolished 58 ancient Jewish synagogues; let Jerusalem decay into a slum; did not move its capital to Jerusalem, and no other Arab leaders other than Jordan’s King Hussein ever visited Jerusalem.
Failing to move the U.S. embassy also propagates another Arab propaganda myth, that peace would result if Israel agreed to divide Jerusalem. In fact, when Jordan illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem, there was no peace. And when former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak offered to give away parts of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Arabs rejected those generous offers. The real reason why there is no peace is that the Palestinian Arabs do not recognize the Jewish State of Israel in any shape or form. Their maps and atlases and media and Arabic speeches never indicate that Israel exists.
It is painful to hear this news about the embassy just days before Israel and the pro-Israel community celebrates the 50th anniversary of the miraculous reunification of Jerusalem. ZOA sincerely hopes that President Trump will reconsider, and that he will move the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s and the Jewish people’s eternal capital Jerusalem soon.