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Today is Wednesday, April 16, 2014

National Council Of Young Israel Condemns U.S. State Department's Comments About Jerusalem

National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) President Eli Dworetsky, Executive Vice President Rabbi Pesach Lerner, and Associate Executive Director Rabbi Bini Maryles today condemned statements that were made during a State Department press briefing on March 28, 2012 regarding the status of Jerusalem. In response to questions from reporters, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland repeatedly refused to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
"The U.S. State Department's inexplicable reluctance to acknowledge a basic geographical fact, namely, that the city of Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel, defies logic and exposes a serious lack of comprehension on the part of the State Department as to Jerusalem's status," said NCYI President Eli Dworetsky. "Instead of standing together with Israel, which is the United States' friend and strategic ally, the State Department has assumed a position that is absolutely antithetical to Israel's best interests. The States Department's diplomatic dance about Jerusalem's status is disturbing and degrading, and we believe that the Jewish community should stand up and demand that the United States immediately clarify its position and unequivocally state that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel."
"Despite the assertions made by the State Department, the status of Jerusalem should not be up for discussion and should certainly not be decided in the context of any negotiations," continued Dworetsky. "Jerusalem has been the heart and soul of the Jewish people for thousands of years, and it is Israel, not the United States or anyone else, which is best positioned to make decisions regarding its future. United Jerusalem has, and always will be, the eternal capital of Israel, and it is about time for the United States to finally give Jerusalem the legitimacy it deserves as the sovereign capital of the State of Israel."
The following is a transcript of part of the troubling exchange between the State Department spokesperson and reporters:
Q: Yesterday there was a bit of a kerfuffle over an announcement that was made by the department about the travel of your boss. Is it the State Department's position that Jerusalem is not part of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Well, you know that our position on Jerusalem has not changed. The first media note was issued in error, without appropriate clearances. We reissued the note to make clear that undersecretary, acting undersecretary for -- our -- Kathy Stevens will be travelling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. With regard to our Jerusalem policy, it's a permanent-status issue. It's got to be resolved through the negotiations between the parties.
Q: Is it the view of the -- of the United States that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, notwithstanding the question about the embassy -- the location of the U.S. embassy?
MS. NULAND: We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.
Q: Does that -- does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Jerusalem is a permanent-status issue. It's got to be resolved through negotiations.
Q: That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is that correct or not?
MS. NULAND: I have just spoken to this issue --
: (Inaudible.)
MS. NULAND: -- and I have nothing further to say on it.
Q: You've spoken to the issue --
Q: -- but (haven't answered?) the question. And I think there's a lot of people out there who are interested in hearing a real answer and not saying -- and not trying to duck and say that this has got to be resolved by negotiations between the two sides.
MS. NULAND: That is our --
Q: What is the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is that it has to be solved through negotiations. That's all I have to say on this issue.
Q: What is the capital of Israel according --
MS. NULAND: Our embassy, as you know, is located in Tel Aviv.
Q: So does that mean you regard Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: The issue on Jerusalem has to be settled through negotiations.
Q: I just want to go back to -- I want to clarify something, perhaps give you an "out" on your Jerusalem answer. Is it your -- is it your position that all of Jerusalem is a final-status issue, or do you think -- or is it just East Jerusalem?
MS. NULAND: Matt, I don't have anything further to what I've said 17 times on that subject. OK? 
Q: All right. So hold on. So I just want to make sure. You're saying that all of Jerusalem, not just East Jerusalem, is a final-status issue.
MS. NULAND: Matt, I don't have anything further on Jerusalem to what I've already said.