US Jewish Groups Condemn Relocation of Embassy


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A coalition of Jewish groups in the U.S. is condemning the decision by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to relocate his country’s embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.? The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said Thursday that it is “profoundly disappointed” with the decision. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it is “focused on different things.”Arias said the move is designed to better relations with Muslims and countries in the Middle East.

“It’s time to rectify an historic error that hurts us internationally and deprives us of almost any form of friendship with the Arab world and more broadly with Islamic civilization, to which a sixth of humanity belongs,” Arias said, according to Reuters.

But Harold Tanner, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and its executive vice chairman, Malcolm Hoenlein, said in a news release Wednesday that the timing and content of Arias’ announcement sent the wrong message.

“We are profoundly disappointed by Costa Rica’s decision to move its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv,” the conference news release stated. “To make such an announcement after Israel has spent a month in intense combat with Hizballah, when democracies must stand together against Islamic terror, sends the wrong signal to the world.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had little to say about the announcement, or the complaints of the conference, though the group’s national spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, did argue that Jerusalem is still “disputed territory,” in Israel.

“They need to take it up with the embassy of Costa Rica,” Hooper said.

“It’s not really an issue we deal with,” he added. “We are focused on different things at the moment.”

CAIR issued a news release Thursday praising a federal court ruling blocking the National Security Agency from eavesdropping without court approval on communications between individuals in the United States and suspected terrorists or terrorist sympathizers in other countries. CAIR was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in Detroit by the American Civil Liberties Union.