On December 5, all sixteen of the official organizations of Reform Judaism in North America issued a joint statement affirming that the U.S. embassy to Israel should be moved to Jerusalem in principle, but then stating: “we cannot support [the president’s] decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process.” Ammiel Hirsch, the rabbi of a Reform congregation in New York City, dissents:
I want the Jewish world to know that this position is not my position, nor does it reflect the views of multitudes of, perhaps most, Reform Jews. We were wrong on the politics. With the exception of one small hard-left party, there is wall-to-wall agreement among the Zionist parties in the Knesset supporting the embassy move. We have alienated the very people who support and defend us in our campaign [in Israel] for religious pluralism and equitable funding. . . .
More important, we were wrong on the merits. We have yearned for Jerusalem for two millennia. It is the source of our strength, the place where our people was formed, where the Bible was written. Jews lived free and made pilgrimages to Jerusalem for a thousand years. Our national existence changed the world and led to the creation of two other great faiths.
The world’s superpower finally did the right thing, and we opposed it—not on the principle, but on the “timing.” The timing? Now is not the right time? Two-thousand years later and it is still not the right time? As if there is a peace process that the Palestinians are committed to and pursuing with conviction. . . .
We should [instead] urge the international community to disabuse the Palestinian national movement of its exaggerated expectations and its insidious efforts to undermine and erase our connection to Zion. Until that happens, peace is an illusion.
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