Muslim and Jewish activists Sunday criticized Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s public approval of Jerusalem as the new site of the United States embassy in Israel.
The joint condemnation was issued in a statement by Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Los Angeles chapter of the Jewish Voice for Peace.
Garcetti’s backing of the move authored by President Donald Trump was made in a Friday interview he gave to the Los Angeles Times.
“I support the embassy being here,” Garcetti said from Jerusalem, where he chaired a delegation of American mayors visiting Israel, seeking opportunities between their cities and Israel.
The comments caused a stir in some portions of the Southland’s political arena.
“It is highly disturbing that Mayor Garcetti would declare support for such a reckless decision,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said. “The decision to move the U.S. embassy violated the international status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and was offensive and provocative, not only to the 12 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims, but also to the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.”
Estee Chandler of the Jewish Voice for Peace joined Ayloush in decrying Garcetti’s stance.
“Mayor Garcetti’s endorsement of the illegal move to consolidate Israeli annexation of land furthers the endangering of the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis on the ground,” Chandler said.
“Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (helps) Israeli policies of dispossession and forcible transfer, hindering the work for peace based on equality and freedom for everyone in the region,” she said. “We join CAIR-LA in calling for Mayor Garcetti to reconsider his statements and retract his endorsement.”
Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and ordered the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a shift from previous U.S. foreign policy.
In response to the criticism, Garcetti said his goal was not to choose sides, but to support the goal of Jerusalem as a future dual capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.
“The only path to lasting peace, and the only moral course, is to be pro-Palestine and pro-Israel,” Garcetti told City News Service in a written statement. “I recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And I have always recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state that we all want to emerge from negotiations toward a true two-state solution.
“As I made clear in my comments last week, I disagree strongly with how the Trump Administration made its decision,” Garcetti said. “It was outside the scope of any talks, without balance or coordination.
“But we cannot allow this president’s thoughtless partisanship to divide friends and take our eyes off what is most important, which is moving forward to peace,” he said. We have to keep pressing for peace and a two-state solution — with Jerusalem as the rightful capital of both nations.”