A conference of 52 major Jewish groups is taking on President Barack Obama for his demand that Israel stop construction of Jewish housing in east Jerusalem.
In a statement issued by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein say they “find disturbing the objections raised to the proposed construction of residential units on property that was legally purchased and approved by the appropriate authorities.”
The Jewish leaders point out that while the Obama administration wants to freeze legal Jewish housing in the eastern part of Jerusalem, it has had no problem objecting to the “removal of illegal structures built by Arabs in eastern Jerusalem, even though they were built in violation of zoning and other requirements often on usurped land.”
The statement concludes, “No government of Israel has or can pursue a discriminatory policy that would prevent the legitimate presence of Jews in any area of its capital.”
The statement spotlights a turning point in previously overwhelming Jewish support for Obama. Solow was a key Obama supporter during the campaign. Last year, Solow remarked about Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that “his support of Israel fits with the president-elect’s thinking.”
Hoenlein first criticized Obama in a June 14 Newsmax story, saying Jewish leaders are deeply troubled by his recent Middle East initiatives, and some are questioning what he really believes.
According to Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, one of the major Jewish organizations, Hoenlein’s comments and similar ones by Klein in a Newsmax interview prompted Obama to call a meeting of 14 Jewish leaders on July 13.
Klein says Jewish support for Obama has continued to dwindle since that meeting.
The statement by the conference follows:
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has long advocated and supported the unity of Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel. As such, we believe that legal construction by residents of the city should be allowed as long as it is in keeping with the standards and requirements of the municipality and the national government. We find disturbing the objections raised to the proposed construction of residential units on property that was legally purchased and approved by the appropriate authorities. The area in question houses major Israeli governmental agencies, including the national police headquarters. The United States has in the past and recently raised objections to the removal of illegal structures built by Arabs in eastern Jerusalem even though they were built in violation of zoning and other requirements often on usurped land. In addition to the Jewish housing, the project called for apartment units for Arabs as well.
It is particularly significant that the structure in question formerly was the house of the infamous Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini who spent the war years in Berlin as a close ally of Hitler, aiding and abetting the Nazi extermination of Jews. He was also linked to the 1929 massacre in Hebron and other acts of incitement that resulted in deaths and destruction in what was then Palestine. There has been an expressed desire by some Palestinians to preserve the building as a tribute to Husseini.
As a united city, Jerusalem’s Jewish and Arab residents should be permitted to reside wherever legal and security requirements allow. Hundreds of Arab families have moved into Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the same right should be accorded to Jewish residents in live where they choose in Jerusalem. To do otherwise would undermine and prejudge the status of the city.
No government of Israel has or can pursue a discriminatory policy that would prevent the legitimate presence of Jews in any area of its capital.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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