'Rivlin racist for calling J'lem capital of Israel'

Jordanian Parliament speaker takes offense at Rivlin's "biased and political" New Year's greeting letter.

Rivlin 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Rivlin 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Jordanian Parliament Speaker Tahar al-Massri sent back a letter from Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Sunday, claiming it is racist for calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Rivlin sent the letter to parliamentary speakers around the world in honor of the secular New Year earlier this month, in which he wrote that he is optimistic about the coming year.
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Massri called the letter racist, biased and political, and returned it to Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Daniel Nevo.
The Jordanian speaker specifically took issue with Rivlin calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Rivlin, who was visiting the British House of Lords on Sunday, said Zionism is not anti-Arab or anti-Islam.
Israel’s relations with Jordan are important, he added, therefore the two sides must agree to disagree.
Rivlin also said he would be happy to meet with Massri to smooth out the problems.
The Knesset speaker’s letter began with him explaining that he is writing from “the Holy City of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” He added that the Jewish people have hoped and prayed for peace since Biblical times.
Rivlin also mentioned that Israel faces many challenges, including “the refusal of the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations with us,” terror by Hamas and Hezbollah, and the Arab Spring.
He also said that “there are those to whom death is dearer than life is to us,” mentioning al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad, and called on the world to cooperate and fight the “evil menace.”
In addition, Rivlin emphasized that “Israel is as much Jewish as it is democratic,” adding that the two values are inseparable.