The U.S. embassy opening ceremony in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
NEW YORK – US Jewish groups on Monday expressed gratitude to President Donald Trump for keeping a campaign promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem following a ceremony in Israel’s capital on Monday.
The Anti-Defamation League said the embassy move acknowledges Jewish ties to the holy city and consecrates American-Israel relations.
“The opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem is a historic milestone 2,000 years in the making,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who attended the opening ceremony.
“Jerusalem has been the spiritual capital of the Jewish people for millennia and Israel’s political capital since its earliest days,” he said. “Today’s opening of the US Embassy acknowledges these fundamental truths and constitutes a resounding answer to repeated attempts in recent years, notably in international fora, to deny the millennial Jewish bond to the city.”
Other nations should “follow suit as soon as possible and recognize the self-evident truth that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital,” Greenblatt said, adding that now is the time to “work together toward reducing tensions and creating conditions conducive for the rapid resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leading to a two-state solution. This remains the best approach to serve the long-term interests of all parties.”
The embassy move was “the right thing to do,” StandWithUs executive director Michael Dickson said, and Trump’s decision “says no to those who would distort history, no to appeasing terror and violence and yes to a peaceful future based on what is true and what is right.”
“Seventy years since the Jewish State was reborn, despite very real threats in the region, it is hard not to feel that our future as a nation is not tantalizingly bright,” Dickson said.
Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean Abraham Cooper drew historical parallels with the nation’s founding 70 years ago and Trump’s unprecedented policy shift, harkening back to Israel’s infancy as a state.
“Many presidents promised this move, but President Trump took decisive action, making it the most courageous move on the holy land made by a president of the US since President [Harry] Truman’s decision against the advice of his secretary of state to have the US be the first nation to recognize the new Jewish state,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
A notable exception to the general glee among the US Jewish community was the dovish organization Americans for Peace Now, which slammed Trump for “pandering” to the evangelical Right in America and warned the decision could have disastrous consequences for Mideast peace prospects.
“Amid the pomp and circumstance, the destructive impact of this move appears to be lost on many in Israel and the United States,” the group said in a statement.
“President Trump’s announcement regarding the embassy move, made in the White House against the backdrop of a Christmas tree and beaming Vice President Pence, was a transparent move to pander to evangelical Christians in his political base,” the group added. “It also satisfied the demands of conservative Jewish donors, particularly Sheldon Adelson, who offered to help pay for building the new embassy. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the embassy move comes as a gift in the midst of multiple corruption investigations in which he has been implicated.”