Speaking Out: Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein Advocates for Israel at U of M Event
Jewish Community Partners’ Director of Community Impact Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein was invited to participate in a dialog at the University of Memphis’ Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, hosted by the law school’s International Law Society and focusing on the recent decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. One of three panelists invited to speak, she was the sole voice acknowledging Israel’s longstanding and current historical, political, legal, religious and cultural ties to Jerusalem. The following is excerpted from her remarks.
Despite the efforts of Israel’s detractors, there is no denying the political, historical, religious and cultural connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem… Jerusalem is Judaism and the Jewish people’s holiest city. It is holy as well to Muslims and Christians but it is not their holiest city. Jerusalem is both the religious and political capital of the Jewish people and of Israel. There has never been a separation of the two. The top two Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia yet the political capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh… It is, therefore, historically inaccurate, to put it mildly, and shockingly insensitive and painful to Israelis and Jews worldwide to deny, denigrate or minimize the Jewish connection to Jerusalem… It is the right of every sovereign nation to declare its capital city and the sovereign state of Israel declared Jerusalem its capital upon its creation in 1948. Jerusalem is the home to the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Israeli government. It houses the office of the Head of State – the Prime Minister, the Knesset – Israel’s parliament, Israel’s Supreme Court, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and numerous other administrative offices. All official Israeli business is conducted in Jerusalem. The President of Israel receives the diplomatic credentials of foreign ambassadors in Jerusalem, even if those countries do not have their embassies there… Whatever your position is regarding the wisdom of making this recognition of Israel now and whether or not it will help or hinder the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the reality is that a historical wrong has been corrected in the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital… Nothing has been said or taken off the table about the borders of Jerusalem or its final status. Let’s not engage in melodrama about this – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the final status of Jerusalem in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is still open to negotiations and compromise.