Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The ZOA is pleased that after a major ZOA campaign in Israel and America, the Biden administration is now freezing its plan to open an insulting, divisive, unlawful U.S. consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinian Arabs. ZOA strongly praises Israel and the Israeli government and Members of the Knesset for standing strong against the opening of the consulate – Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs, the consulate could not lawfully be opened without Israel’s consent.
ZOA and our activists and donors are gratified to have contributed to the effort to stop the consulate from opening. ZOA mounted a major campaign against the opening of the consulate, with huge billboards in Jerusalem, Israel; ads in eleven American Jewish newspapers; press releases, op-eds, speeches, and action alerts to our activists who called their representatives to object to the consulate.
ZOA’s campaign made clear that opening the consulate would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and a united, undivided city.
A consulate for Palestinian Arabs would be a disgraceful, frightening, dangerous step towards dividing the Jewish people’s eternal capital – Jerusalem; would undermine the 2017 presidential recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and subsequent move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem; and would encourage and reward the terrorist dictatorship Palestinian Authority and its promotion of violence and Jew-hatred, giving lifetime pensions to Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews and Americans, and its demands to wrest Israel’s capital away. Opening the consulate would likely also result in violations of the Oslo Accords, which forbid the Palestinian Authority from engaging in foreign diplomatic relations.
ZOA was the only major nonpartisan Jewish organization that publicly supported Israel on this issue and mounted a major campaign against the opening of the consulate.
In early November, at meetings of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the AZM and the New York Board of Rabbis, in response to questions from ZOA President Morton Klein and ZOA Director of Research Liz Berney, Esq. on this issue, Israeli Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked stated and urged that it would be very important and helpful for more American Jewish organizations to publicly oppose the current U.S. administration’s pressure on Israel to allow the U.S. to open the divisive, illegal consulate for Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem.
Minister Shaked also explained that Israel’s people and leaders from all parties – including Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid, Gidon Saar and herself – all oppose opening the Jerusalem consulate for Palestinian Arabs.
Unfortunately, even after hearing from Minister Shaked, every other major nonpartisan Jewish group (including AIPAC, AJC, ADL, B’nai B’rith, Hadassah, OU, and the major Jewish rabbinical groups) still failed to issue critically important public statements supporting Israel and launch public campaigns against the opening of the consulate.
ZOA urges other major nonpartisan Jewish organizations including the Umbrella groups to publicly speak up and fight on this issue if an additional campaign becomes necessary in the future.