A former Israeli diplomat and lawmaker has accused the Biden administration of pursuing an ‘anti-Semitic’ policy, and urged the Israeli government to challenge the planned reopening of the American consulate in eastern Jerusalem.
Speaking with Radio 103FM Monday morning, former Israeli Ambassador to the US and former MK Michael Oren excoriated the Biden White House over its plans to reopen a consulate in eastern Jerusalem which in the past served as a de facto mission to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel lauded the Trump administration for closing the consulate in 2019, arguing that the presence of such a consulate for the PA in Jerusalem negated Israeli sovereignty over its capital city.
The move came after the Trump White House relocated the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Now, Oren argued Monday, the Biden administration is working to undermine that recognition, effectively reversing US policy vis-à-vis Jerusalem.
“This is a pivotal reversal on American recognition of Jerusalem as our capital,” Oren said. “It effectively makes American policy similar to that of Russia, which recognizes the western part of the city as our capital, but not all of it.”
Noting the use of the consulate prior to 2019 to offer services to Palestinian Arabs, Oren said the situation before the consulate closure was “absurd”.
“It was a totally absurd situation. Not only are these American policies impractical, they’re anti-Semitic,” Oren continued, slamming US opposition to Israeli residential neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.
“This is the only place in the world where Jews are prohibited from living in certain neighborhoods. Would anyone dare pass such a law in New York?”
“Basically what the Americans did is to recognize the eastern part of the city as not being part of Israel, then went on to ban Israeli Jews from living there. If you ever visited the eastern Jerusalem consulate’s website, you’d think there aren’t any Jews living in the city. There wasn’t any Hebrew there at all.”
Israel, Oren said, should challenge the plans to reopen the consulate, but avoid a serious break with the US.
“We need to take the cost of a diplomatic break with the US into account. Everything has a cost, and we need to be mindful of the fact that the US is an important ally that helps us military, and there will be a cost politically. I don’t say we should oppose them at any cost, I’m saying that we need to strongly oppose this.”