UK Jewish leaders back Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

UK Jewish leaders back Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Communal leaders echo the president's comment that moving the U.S. embassy is the 'right thing to do'

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

In the UK, Jewish community representatives have echoed Donald Trump’s reasoning that moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was the right thing to do, even if British politicians disagreed.

“It is bizarre that this decision should be seen as remarkable,” said Board of Deputies’ president Jonathan Arkush and senior vice-president Richard Verber.

“Jerusalem has been the spiritual centre of Jewish life for 3,000 years, since the time of King David… It has been Israel’s capital since 1948. The decision by many countries not to formally recognise this has been an act of post-truth petulance.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that “the status of Jerusalem should be determined in a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians” and adding that the city “should form a shared capital,” while foreign secretary Boris Johnson spoke of his “concern”.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry was more cutting, saying: “Even by Donald Trump’s abysmally low standards, to choose this point to move the US embassy and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a breathtakingly dangerous decision.”

Trump’s move “threatens to trigger even greater instability and radicalisation throughout the Middle East,” she said. “With one un-thinking sweep of his pen, he has abandoned America’s role as a peace-broker and done serious damage to his country’s relationship with other regional powers.”

Other Jewish groups agreed, a spokesman for Yachad saying: “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is also a divided city… Large portions lie beyond the Green Line and therefore outside of Israel’s sovereign territory.”

However former chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks welcomed the move and hit out at critics, saying: “The sustained denial of the Jewish connection with Jerusalem is dishonest, unacceptable and a key element in the refusal to recognise the Jewish people’s right to exist in the land of their origins.”

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