Leaders and Demonstrators Respond to Trump Declaring Jerusalem Israeli Capital - NECN
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Leaders and Demonstrators Respond to Trump Declaring Jerusalem Israeli Capital

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    Protesters near Boston's Downtown Crossing rallied Wednesday night against President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017)

    Jews and Israelis pride themselves on the wide range of opinions within their own communities, especially when it comes to politics. Not surprisingly, the latest move by the Trump administration that the U.S. would acknowledge Jerusalem as the Israeli capital has highlighted that.

    "I see the potential to create immense violence," said Sara Sandmel of the anti-occupation group "IfNotNow" - young Jews who are protesting the decision. "I think that it's a ploy to distract the American public from all of the other really awful things that are going on in our government right now."

    But other Jewish leaders say it is cause for celebration.

    Yehuda Yaakov, the Israeli Consul General to New England, says Wednesday is a great day, both for Israel and for the United States, and that the peace process cannot happen without declaring Jerusalem the capital.

    Reaction to Pres. Trump's Jerusalem Move

    [NECN] Reaction to Pres. Trump's Jerusalem Move

    “I see the potential to create immense violence,” said Sara Sandmel of the anti-occupation group “IfNotNow” - young Jews who are protesting the decision. “I think that it’s a ploy to distract the American public from all of the other really awful things that are going on in our government right now.”

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017)

    "For Israel, it's not controversial," he said. "For sure. The Israeli people and all friends of Israel have been waiting for this for decades."

    At a rally organized by IfNotNow Wednesday night near Boston's Downtown Crossing, opponents of the decision called it a dangerous game of foreign policy.

    "It's a clear sign on the American government that they're not interested in working towards lasting peace," Sandmel said.

    "I fear that this is going to be an obstacle to any sort of peace agreement," agreed Eliza Kaplan. "I fear this will incite violence in Jerusalem and in the region."

    At the Hynes Convention Center, thousands of Jews gathered Wednesday night for Union For Reform Judaism's biennial convention. The organization's leaders support Trump's goals, but they're fearful it's not the right time.

    "We're concerned that this move at this time could derail the very important peace process that the president himself had set out to get back on track," said Rick Jacobs, the organization's president.

    Local Muslims React to Trump's Jerusalem Announcement

    [NECN] Local Muslims React to Trump's Jerusalem Announcement

    Members of the Muslim community are responding to President Trump's announcement that the U.S. Embassy to Israel would be moved to Jerusalem.

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017)

    "The sad truth is there is no peace process right now," Rob Leikind, director of the American Jewish Committee, said earlier Wednesday. "One can hope that one will develop, our hope is that we're going to see a movement toward a two-state solution. But clearly, this isn't going to do any more harm to a process that is moribund at this point."

    Palestinians see it very differently.

    Tufts University Professor Amahl Bishara fears that calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel will put her Palestinian family in danger.

    "This undermines international law, so it's really dangerous," she said, "Extremist Jewish settlers in Jerusalem have been emboldened to be violent against Palestinians, take territory and space in ways that are really problematic."

    No matter how they feel about this issue, most Americans hope that violence does not erupt in the region because of the U.S. action Wednesday. 

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