“Ashamed to Be Jewish”: As Trump base celebrates embassy move, horrified US Jews mourn Gaza deaths

Left: A wounded Palestinian demonstrator being evacuated during the protest against the US embassy move to Jerusalem. Right: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the embassy inauguration, May 14, 2018. (photos: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters;  Menahem Kahana / AFP)

After being shut out of embassy celebrations by evangelicals and ultra-Orthodox, many mainstream Jews face crisis and anguish over Israeli response to Palestinian protests.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer | Haaretz | May 15, 2018

“[We are] alarmed, concerned, and profoundly saddened by the growing number of Gazan dead and wounded. It does not have to be this way.”
— Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Union for Reform Judaism president

The opening ceremony for the new US Embassy in Jerusalem was, essentially, an invitation-only Trump campaign rally.

Those in attendance had all sworn loyalty to the president and belonged to one of the groups that has hailed him as a modern-day Cyrus the Great: Orthodox Jews, right-wing Israelis (including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and the pro-Trump Republican base — particularly those in the evangelical community.

This was all on display from the ceremony’s opening blessing, by Texan Baptist megachurch pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress. His eyes squeezed closed in prayer, he thanked God for “our great president, Donald Trump,” lauded how Israel “has blessed this world by pointing us to you, the one true God, through the message of her prophets, her scriptures, and the Messiah,” and praying for Jerusalem “in the name of the spirit of the Prince of Peace, Jesus our lord.”

Continue reading ““Ashamed to Be Jewish”: As Trump base celebrates embassy move, horrified US Jews mourn Gaza deaths”

Under Trump, the US has abandoned the last shred of balance on Israel

Ivanka Trump gestures as she stands next to the dedication plaque at the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.  (photo: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

The policy of our government may be unstated, but it is crystal clear: The United States will no longer seek peace.

By Paul Waldman | The Washington Post | May 14, 2018

Whether you agree or not, under President Trump, the United States is not pretending anything. We have declared unambiguously that we care only about Israel’s interests — or, to be more accurate, Israel’s interests as understood by the conservative Likud party — and that we no longer have any concern for Palestinian rights, Palestinian lives or the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.

Monday marked the moment when the policy of the United States government toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lost all complexity, all ambiguity and all nuance.

On Monday, we were confronted with two sets of pictures. On one side, thousands of Palestinians gathering at the Gaza border to protest are being shot down by Israeli snipers. As I write, at least 43 people have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry; those numbers will undoubtedly rise.

On the other side, representatives of the Trump administration, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, some Republican donors and a couple of evangelical megachurch pastors who have said vile, bigoted things about Islam and Muslims, are celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Here’s how President Trump marked the occasion:

Continue reading “Under Trump, the US has abandoned the last shred of balance on Israel”

Israel thanks Trump by naming a Jerusalem roundabout in his honor

Trump announced in December that the US embassy would be moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (photo: Sergey Orlov / Tass)

“Jerusalem returns the love to Trump,” writes Jerusalem Mayor Nir Bakat before official opening of new US embassy.

By Oliver Holmes | The Guardian | May 8, 2018

“Naming this square in honor of the president is our way of showing our love and respect for the president and the American people, who always stand by the side of Israel.”
— Jerusalem Mayor Nir Bakat

So thrilled was the mayor of Jerusalem that Donald Trump had recognized the city as the capital of Israel that he decided a fitting tribute of thanks –—naming a roundabout in honor of the US president.

“Jerusalem returns the love to Trump,” Nir Barkat wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, showing a picture of the traffic circle at the site where the new American embassy is due to be opened next week.

“We have decided that the square adjacent to the embassy in the capital will be called ‘United States Square — in honor of President Trump’,” he said in the Hebrew-language post.

Continue reading “Israel thanks Trump by naming a Jerusalem roundabout in his honor”

Donald Trump just put Israel in immediate danger

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak to reporters before their meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

Netanyahu has convinced Trump that leaving the Iran deal protects Israel. But the US walk-out means a full-on Israel-Iran war in Syria now becomes far more likely.

By Michael Koplow | Haaretz | May 9, 2018

The largest and most imminent threat to Israel’s security right now is not a nuclear Iran, but Iranian activity in Syria.

The entire world watched as President Donald Trump announced America’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal, and his re-imposition of the full range of sanctions on Iran.

While the British, French, and German governments made clear their strong preference that the US maintain the JCPOA, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not shy in his efforts to convince the White House of the wisdom of his opposite position.

Netanyahu’s unusual English-language prime time presentation on Israeli television last week of the intelligence collected by Israel about Iran’s previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon was almost certainly aimed at Trump, either in an effort to convince him to exit the deal, or to provide cover for him to do so.

Continue reading “Donald Trump just put Israel in immediate danger”

Why is the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem?

FILE PHOTO: A worker holds a road sign directing to the U.S. embassy, in the area of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem
A worker holds a road sign directing to the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 7, 2081. (photo: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

The United States opens its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians.

By Stephen Farrell | Farrell | May 7, 2018

In 1947 the UN recognized that Jerusalem had special status and proposed international rule for the city, along with nearby Bethlehem, as a “corpus separatum” to be administered by the United Nations. That never happened.

On Monday, road signs directing traffic there went up around the neighborhood where the US Embassy will be situated, and next week’s opening ceremony is timed to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The initiative was driven by President Donald Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump said his administration has a peace proposal in the works, and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally had “taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.”

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrated Trump’s decision, but the move upset the Arab world and Western allies. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a “slap in the face” and said Washington could no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.

Continue reading “Why is the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem?”

Palestinian negotiator says Trump’s envoy Greenblatt has turned Into Israel’s spokesman

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt in Ramallah, Mar 14, 2017. (photo: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)

Since the Gaza border protests began, Trump’s envoy to the peace process has “consistently repeated Israeli talking points.”

By Jack Khoury and Noa Landau | Haaretz | Apr 13, 2018

“It is clear that those who do not consider that the lives of Palestinians and Israelis are of equal value cannot possibly promote any plan that will be remotely close to a just and lasting peace.”
— Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat

In an unprecedented move, a senior Palestinian official sent a letter on Thursday to all foreign diplomats stationed in Ramallah assailing the American envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt.

Saeb Erekat, who is the Palestinians’ chief negotiator as well as secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee, also urged the diplomats to back the Palestinians at the United Nations and other international agencies, including the International Criminal Court, in demanding an investigation into “ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestine and the Palestinian people.”

Erekat, who has met with Greenblatt many times since the latter took office, charged that since the mass demonstrations near the Israel-Gaza border began a few weeks ago, the U.S. envoy has “assumed the role of spokesperson of the Israeli Authorities” and “consistently repeated Israeli talking points.”

Continue reading “Palestinian negotiator says Trump’s envoy Greenblatt has turned Into Israel’s spokesman”

Israel fast-tracks new US embassy in Jerusalem

US consulate in Jerusalem, Feb 24, 2018. (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

The Finance Ministry will allow the Jerusalem municipality to waive the required permits.

By Staff | Reuters | Mar 27, 2018

“We will not allow needless bureaucracy to hold up the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.”
— Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon

Israel has expedited construction permits to enable temporary quarters for the US Embassy to open in Jerusalem as planned in May, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump in December broke with other world powers by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing the US Embassy would be moved there from Tel Aviv.

Trump’s reversal of decades of US and broad international policy was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “historic decision.” But it drew criticism from around the world and outraged Palestinians, who want a capital for their own future state in eastern parts of the city.

Israel has said the Embassy will be opened on May 14, the 70th anniversary of its founding. A US official said it would be located at a provisional site in Jerusalem that now houses a US consular section.

Building a permanent embassy could take several years.

Continue reading “Israel fast-tracks new US embassy in Jerusalem”

Palestinians set to reject US peace plan

A girl holds a Palestinian flag in front of Israeli troops during clashes in Ramallah, Mar 7, 2018. (photo: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)

The peace plan contemplated by the Trump Administration will offer Palestinians limited sovereignty over limited territory.

By Uri Saver | Al-Monitor | Mar 25, 2018

The plan is much closer to the Israeli position than the Palestinian:

  • Two states
  • Palestine would comprise about half the West Bank
  • Gaza would be included if Hamas disarms
  • Israel would control West Bank security and border crossings
  • East Jerusalem would be part of Palestine, but not the Old City
  • No right of return

Despite growing tensions with the Palestinians, US President Donald Trump still intends to reveal a US peace plan for the Middle East. The plan will apparently be divulged right after the US Embassy moves to Jerusalem and after Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

According to a senior US diplomat in Tel Aviv, the fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refuses any contact on the matter with US officials and that he had bad mouthed David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, has not altered Trump’s determination. Actually, messages on the evolving plans are conveyed nowadays to Ramallah by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. More so, the March 20 meeting in Washington between Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was largely dedicated to two major topics: the common front against Iran in the region (including the Iran nuclear deal issue) and Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Continue reading “Palestinians set to reject US peace plan”

Israel is giving Palestinians the Jewish finger

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at a conference in July 2017. (photo: Moshe Goldstein / Haaretz)

In the name of the Jewish people, Netanyahu is insisting that Palestinians recognize three Jewish political hawks as honest brokers of a non-existent peace agreement.

By Carolina Landsmann | Haaretz | Mar 23, 2018

The Israelis, through US President Trump, are sticking a Jewish finger consisting of Friedman, Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kusher into the Palestinians’ faces, in front of the whole world.

“Is that anti-Semitism or political discourse?” asked U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman with feigned innocence, in response to what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had said about him, as if he were a helpless pogrom victim at the beginning of the last century in Eastern Europe rather than an ambassador of the world’s strongest superpower, which encourages Israel to ride roughshod over the Palestinians.

Abbas attacked Friedman on Monday for saying Jewish settlers were building on their lands in the West Bank. “Son of a dog. Building on their land? Your are a settler and your family are settlers,” Abbas said. . . . Continue reading “Israel is giving Palestinians the Jewish finger”

450 elderly immigrants will be displaced by US embassy move to Jerusalem

The former Diplomat Hotel, now part of the United States consular compound in Arnona area of Jerusalem, is built on disputed territory. (photo: Artur Widak / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The US Embassy move to Jerusalem will cause 450 elderly immigrants to lose their homes, and the Knesset doesn’t have a solution yet.

By Avichai Scher | Forward | Mar 21, 2018

“There are only two years left to create a practical and fair solution, and today we hear again from the Ministry of Immigration that they still have no solutions. . . . We have lost too much time, but we will not wait any longer. The issue of Diplomat Hotel and its tenants must be solved immediately.”
— Ksenia Svetlova, Zionist Union member of Knesset

The Diplomat Hotel, which is owned by the US and is located next door to the Jerusalem consulate that will become the embassy in 2020, is being leased as housing for elderly immigrants. But the building is slated to become part of the embassy, forcing the residents to find other housing.

At a heated discussion at the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday, Ksenia Svetlova of the left-wing Zionist Union blasted the committee for not moving quickly enough to find a solution for the residents.

Continue reading “450 elderly immigrants will be displaced by US embassy move to Jerusalem”