B’nai B’rith International warmly welcomes the historic decision by U.S. President Donald J. Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel has long been the only country in the world whose choice of a capital is not internationally recognized. The lack of that recognition has been a willful denial of reality by the international community and an injustice.
“Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world,” Trump said. Additionally, he emphasized the freedom to worship for all religions in Jerusalem that Israel has always protected.
The president made a compelling and convincing case for the decision, not only by referencing the attachment of the Jewish people to its ancient and present capital, but by also mentioning the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which Congress adopted to encourage the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In addition to recognition, Trump then directed the U.S. State Department to begin preparations to move the embassy of the United States from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace,” Trump said.
This monumental declaration will change the way that the U.S. State Department identifies Jerusalem. For example, Americans who were born in the city should now be able to identify Israel as their country of birth on their U.S. passports rather than just “Jerusalem.” Furthermore, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem should now report to the U.S. embassy, rather than directly to the State Department.
In reference to the peace process, Trump reiterated his call for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, “if agreed to by both sides…above all, our greatest hope is for peace; the universal yearning in every human soul.”
We echo Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for other nations to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move their embassies there.