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.