Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The Zionist Organization of America strongly and gratefully praised the Trump administration for announcing plans to open a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel – the Jewish people’s 3,000-plus-year-old capital – in May 2018, on the meaningful occasion of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s reconstitution as an independent sovereign state on May 14, 1948.
It is a great credit to President Trump that he and his administration are keeping the president’s campaign promises to move the US Embassy to Israel’s capital Jerusalem, even sooner than the administration previously indicated. It is a pleasure to have a president who is a man of his word. Prior administrations including Clinton and Bush Jr. (even Obama referred to Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel) made and broke similar promises during the two decades after Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Following the embassy move, Israel will no longer be treated as a second class citizen – the only country where our US Embassy is not located in the nation’s capital and seat of government.
ZOA is especially pleased, due to the activist role ZOA has taken on this issue for decades. ZOA helped inspire and push for the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Mort Klein’s dear friend Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Senator Robert Dole (R-KS) deserve enormous credit for spearheading the legislation and fight.
ZOA also attempted to stop the delay-tactic “waiver” provision from being inserted into the Jerusalem Embassy Act by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein inserted the waiver at the insistence of her aide, left-winger Dan Shapiro. (Dan Shapiro later became Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Israel. In this post, Shapiro issued a series of false anti-Israel accusations. (See, e.g., ZOA ACTION ALERT: Send Message Criticizing US Amb. to Israel Dan Shapiro’s Disgraceful Anti-Israel Speech, Jan. 22, 2016). Shapiro also defended Pres. Obama’s refusal to keep his promise to move the embassy, but finally, after Pres. Trump took office, Shapiro reportedly expressed sympathy for the US Embassy move as long as the move was to the western part of Jerusalem, not the eastern part which is the real Jerusalem of Biblical times and history).
ZOA continued to press for embassy relocation, through both Democratic and Republican administrations. (See, e.g., “Morton Klein: Not Moving the Israeli Embassy ‘Harms the Chances for Peace’,” Interview by Lara Moehlman, Moment Mag., June 7, 2017.)
In November 2017, ZOA President Morton Klein testified before Congress, at the Jerusalem Embassy relocation hearings chaired by Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis. Mr. Klein explained that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem: fulfills international and domestic law; comports with both major U.S. political parties’ commitments; acknowledges the reality of the location of Israel’s government; is more convenient for U.S. personnel; and enhances U.S. security and Middle East peace prospects. Mr. Klein also pointed to the 1995 Congressional testimony that confirmed that the waiver was only intended to be used once or twice if at all, until 1999 – not for 22 years. Mr. Klein also outlined that Jerusalem is the Jewish people’s eternal historic, religious and spiritual capital, and that by contrast, Jerusalem was largely ignored by Islam. Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran; and it languished into a slum, never visited by Arab/Muslim leaders (except Jordanian Kings) when under Arab control and rule. (See Mr. Klein’s written and oral Congressional testimony).
In December, ZOA strongly praised and thanked President Trump for the president’s important, historic, moral and just action recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and announcing that his administration would move the U.S. Embassy there. (“ZOA Strongly Praises President Trump for Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital – Moving Embassy There,” Dec. 6, 2017.) In January, ZOA praised Vice President Pence for his powerful Knesset speech describing, among other things, the Jewish people’s 3,000-year-old unbreakable bond with Jerusalem, and stating that the Trump administration will transfer the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the “end of next year.” (“ZOA Praises VP Pence on Jerusalem and Iran Positions in Knesset Speech,” Jan. 22, 2018.)
We are deeply thankful to the Trump administration that the actual move is now imminent.
Special appreciation and extraordinary praise is due to Amb. David Friedman, Sheldon and Miri Adelson, and Senators Jon Kyl and Robert Dole, [the latter having led the fight to pass the Jerusalem Embassy Act] who have now truly become historical figures in Jewish history. Sheldon has relentlessly promoted this just and righteous vision for decades.
The U.S. State Department’s February 23, 2018 announcement of the Embassy move set forth the following details:
“In May, the United States plans to open a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem. Those consular operations, including American citizen and visa services, will continue at the Arnona facility without interruption, as part of the embassy. Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space. In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking. We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening.” (“Opening of U.S. Embassy Jerusalem,” Dept. Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, US State Dept., Feb. 23, 2018.)