Trump's Jerusalem Backlash Continues: Over 100 Jewish Studies Scholars Issue Condemnation

'A declaration from the U.S. government that appears to endorse sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem adds insult to ongoing injury and is practically guaranteed to fan the flames of violence'

U.S. President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017.
Zach Gibson / Bloomberg

More than 100 Jewish studies scholars from across North America have signed a statement denouncing the decision by the Trump administration to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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“A declaration from the United States government that appears to endorse sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem adds insult to ongoing injury and is practically guaranteed to fan the flames of violence,” the statement notes. “We therefore call on the U.S. government to take immediate steps to deescalate the tensions resulting from the president’s declaration and to clarify Palestinians’ legitimate stake in the future of Jerusalem.”

The statement notes that the decision by the administrations reverses decades of bipartisan U.S. policy and is problematic because it was taken “outside of a negotiated political framework that ends the legal state of occupation and ensures respect for the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to Jerusalem.”

It points out that Palestinian residents of Jerusalem “endure systematic inequalities” including discrimination in municipal services and budget allocations. They are also routinely denied building permits, it notes.

Many of the scholars signed on the statement have been active in opposing the Trump administration and are known to be critical of the current Israeli government.

 “We hope one day to see a world in which all inhabitants of the land enjoy equal access to the city’s cultural and material resources,” the statement notes in reference to Jerusalem. “Today, unfortunately, that is not the case.”