For Immediate Release

December 7, 2017

The Jewish Community Relations Council is the Jewish community’s official consensus building, public affairs, and interfaith relations arm.  We appreciate President Trump’s announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, thereby honoring the U.S. Congress’ commitment made in the 1995 Jerusalem Relocation Embassy Act, which affirmed that each sovereign nation under international law has the right to designate its own capital.  Longstanding bipartisan support to relocate the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital has been consistently reaffirmed by both Democratic and Republican party platforms for several decades.

Recognition by the United States is important as many of Israel’s detractors make the pernicious claim that there is no Jewish connection to Jerusalem, seeking to negate the fact that Jerusalem has been both the spiritual and physical center of Jewish existence for 3,000 years.  Moreover, the Israeli parliament, government ministries, courts, and residences of the prime minister and president have been located in Jerusalem since just after the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.  For more than 50 years, while under Israeli sovereignty, the rights of all faiths have been respected and protected to ensure that all may pray as they wish at holy sites in Jerusalem.

We welcome the President reiterating the support of the United States to seek a negotiated agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that envisions two states for two peoples, living side-by-side, in peace and security, and for clarifying that this announcement is not intended to restrict final status decisions, which should be determined by the parties themselves.

The path to peace is challenging, and we acknowledge that many in our community have concerns about whether the timing of this announcement will complicate or smooth the way forward.  We hope that Israeli and Palestinian leaders will take meaningful steps to ease tensions and advance the cause of peace.  The Indianapolis JCRC remains committed to continuing our work with local partners in the Muslim and Christian communities to build meaningful relationships, conduct joint programming, and encourage constructive dialogue that fosters respect and mutual understanding.