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President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was overwhelmingly rejected in the Muslim world based on the denial of Jews’ legitimacy to have a state in what they see as Islamic territory. But this anger was tempered by the interests of Sunni Arab governments that are more concerned with their own survival and the threat of Iran.
President Donald Trump’s announcement of policy changes on Jerusalem was the subject of much of the conversation at the Dec. 6-10 conference of American Jewry’s largest religious denomination. Ahead of the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) biennial convention, URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs had called Trump’s announcement “ill-timed,” breaking with the relatively broad Jewish communal support for U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Jerusalemite opinions about President Donald Trump’s landmark policy changes on their city run the gamut, reflecting the diversity of the Israeli capital itself. In an effort to take the pulse of the holy city’s mood following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as well as Trump’s announcement of plans to move the American embassy there, JNS spoke with various Jerusalemites from east to west and from natives to immigrants.
The Palestinians need to learn that no matter what dangerous illusions of conquest they are teaching their children, Israel will never cede its capital of Jerusalem—not after 3,000 years of history. They need to learn, once and for all, that Israel is here to stay. In this way, Trump’s announcement of American policy changes on Jerusalem was a sorely needed dose of reality therapy for the Palestinians, writes columnist Sarah N. Stern.
That President Donald Trump embraced the reality of Israel’s capital and the rights of the Jewish people to Jerusalem in a way that didn’t foreclose the theoretical possibility of a two-state solution helped shore up the pro-Israel consensus. But while the support for Trump’s move is encouraging for those hoping to strengthen the bonds between American Jews and Israelis, celebrations must be tempered, writes JNS Editor in Chief Jonathan S. Tobin.
It’s not often that the American Jewish community is united on issues pertaining to President Donald Trump, or on any political topics for that matter. But Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his expression of the intent to move the U.S. embassy to that city drew widespread support from Jewish organizations, dovetailing with the expected backing of Christian Zionist groups.
The attorneys in the landmark Jerusalem passport lawsuit are calling on President Donald Trump to instruct the State Department to list “Israel” as the birthplace of American citizens born in Jerusalem. The passport question could emerge as the key test of how Trump's Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be implemented.
President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6, breaking with decades of U.S. policy and enraging the Palestinians. Legal experts, Israeli leaders and pro-Israel organizations noted that Jerusalem has long been the capital and that Trump’s recognition is a simple acknowledgement of reality.
In a strategic win-win-win for the U.S., Israel and Africa, the Jewish state has been welcomed into a multi-billion-dollar project that aims to raise the standard of living for as many as 600 million sub-Saharan Africans currently living in poverty and without electricity. Israel’s entrance into USAID’s Power Africa initiative marks the latest surge in Israeli-African ties. “To put it shortly, it’s the technology…as ambassador, I am exposed to a lot of the technology Israel has to offer,” Zambia’s Ambassador to Israel Martin Mwanambale told JNS.org.
The Israel trips organized by the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) are nicknamed “Birthright for moms.” But a Nov. 27-Dec. 4 trip carried some extra gravitas, convening visitors described by JWRP as “Media Magnets.” Participants connected to Israel’s media professionals and showcased their experiences for combined audiences of more than 10 million followers on their social media pages and blogs. The trip underscored Israel’s diversity, revealing a picture that goes far beyond what mainstream media often depict the Jewish state to be—ridden with conflict, religion extremism and camels.
The Taylor Force Act started out as a powerful and long-overdue tool for pressuring the Palestinian Authority to stop paying terrorists. But the legislation has been diluted, weakened and compromised in so many ways that it is now a pale shadow of its former self, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.
Why is President Donald Trump contemplating moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that smart people consider foolish? It’s possible that Trump is either being guided to or is stumbling along a path that could be saner than the supposedly safer course steered by his predecessors on Jerusalem, writes JNS.org Editor-in-Chief Jonathan S. Tobin.
Leaders of major American Jewish organizations are rallying around Kenneth L. Marcus, the nominee for assistant secretary of education for civil rights, as pro-Palestinian groups denounce him for opposing the BDS movement. Marcus served in the Department of Education’s civil rights division and then was staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, before founding the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.
Well, it is that time of year again. No, not Hanukkah or Christmas, but the Jerusalem Embassy Act waiver deadline. It comes around every six months and was a rather quiet affair—until the presidency of Donald Trump. Christian Zionist leader Susan M. Michael urges Trump not to sign another waiver and to fully implement a U.S. law that has been in place for more than 20 years.
Like bad poker players, history’s crooks and liars have an obvious tell. Whether it’s a communist leader in the Kremlin or a cult leader in his compound, the tell is always the same. Today, the desperate effort to suppress objective inquiry is most prevalent on college campuses. The new anti-intellectuals typically target conservative and religious ideas. And as is so often the case with such extremists, many of them are obsessed with Jews, writes David Brog, executive director of the Maccabee Task Force.
The Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, which makes up part of Lebanon’s government and has a strong military force that threatens neighboring Israel, is seemingly unaffected by the status of embattled Prime Minister Saad Hariri. “The Hariri episode changes absolutely nothing in terms of the balance of power and Hezbollah’s absolute dominance of the Lebanese state,” Tony Badran, a Lebanon expert and research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told JNS.org.
Congress will soon re-authorize Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act. The original legislative intent was to cultivate a consortium of university graduates who were best equipped to deal with the Soviet threat during the Cold War. But through the years, the intent has been turned on its head. Today, the U.S. pours $65 million annually into various regional studies centers run by staffers who overwhelmingly possess strong anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Israeli biases, writes columnist Sarah N. Stern.
Controversial remarks made last week by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely—that American Jewry is out of touch with the daily realities of life in Israel—have exacerbated a growing rift between U.S. Jews and Israel on key social, religious and political issues, as well as on continued philanthropy to the Jewish state.
By determining that the PLO can keep its office in Washington so long as the activities conducted there are “related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” the Trump administration is ignoring U.S. law and making a very Obama-like move toward Israel, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.