NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday that the U.S. is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is drawing mixed reaction from New Yorkers.
The president also said that he is directing the State Department to begin the process of moving the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In a video statement on his Twitter feed ahead of the president’s announcement, Brooklyn State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said Trump is correcting “an injustice.”
“This is a great moment for the United States,” he said. “This is a great moment for the world where America is saying, ‘We will not be intimidated.'”
Merrick’s Rabbi Charles Klein offered a heartfelt applause, calling it a milestone he hopes will prod Palestinians into peace.
“Sometimes it’s important to have a dose of reality in order to move forward,” he told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “Maybe it’s important for the Palestinians to understand that western Jerusalem, yes of course that’s going to be Israeli.”
“Come to the table, let’s make peace.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s did respond to requests for comment on Trump’s announcement, but his office said the New York Democrat has a “long held position that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”
Other reaction from the Jewish community has been mixed.
“While President Trump’s announcement earlier today rightly acknowledged the unique attachment of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, the timing and circumstances surrounding this decision are deeply worrying,” Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said. “This Administration has carelessly risked inflaming tensions in the region, as well as placing U.S. diplomatic and military personnel in harm’s way. Like so much of the President’s foreign policy making, this hasty announcement was a media ploy devoid of substance and without concern for American, Israeli, or international security interests.”
“The Trump administration is simply endangering Israeli Jews and Arabs who live in Jerusalem and making them exposed to the wilds of the extremists,” Rabbi Robert Golub, who leads the Zionist arm of the Conservative Movement based in New York City, told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
Prayers held at the Islamic Center of Long Island were shadowed by concerns the change of US policy sabotages the peace process.
“Unfortunately, what has happened now we cannot call ourselves a broker in this Middle East peace process because you have taken a side,” the center’s President-elect Habeeb Ahmed said.
The Union for Reform Judaism in the U.S. called the anticipated announcement “ill-timed.”
Organization President Rabbi Rick Jacobs said in a statement Wednesday that while the reform movement believes “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people” and the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, now is not the time.
Jacobs said “we cannot support his decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process.”
The New York City-based organization added that the relocation of the embassy should be done in the broader context reflecting Jerusalem’s status as a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Legally speaking, Professor Julian Ku from Hofstra’s School of Law says the president is on firm ground.
“It’s a reasonable decision to support Israel because it’s not just the president, the vast majority of Congress have repeatedly pushed the president to do this over the years,” Ku said.
The announcement was also drawing criticism from across the Arab and Muslim world.
Past presidents have repeatedly waived enforcement of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, a decision Congress overwhelmingly approved in 1995.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)