May 17, 2017 - World

Pro-Israel leader scolds Trump over embassy delay

The influential conservative pro-Israel leader, Morton Klein, says President Trump is making a terrible mistake by shelving his conspicuous campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Klein, who I caught up with Wednesday at the SALT conference in Las Vegas, was responding to a Bloomberg report today that Trump had decided to delay moving the embassy because doing so now would "raise tensions" and be unhelpful to his efforts to strike a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

This sends a message — and this is really dangerous — that terrorist threats can succeed ... you cannot allow terrorist threats to determine policy. — Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America

The White House line: An administration official emailed me to say, "it is accurate that there is not going to be an IMMINENT decision on the Embassy move. The President has been clear he wants to move it, but in the context of making progress on a resolution to the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians."

Klein rejects that logic: "This harms Trump's credibility. This allows the Arabs to believe that you don't have to worry about Trump's statements and words; he can be convinced otherwise. That is very harmful for any peace negotiation. They should know that Trump's words are absolute gold, that they have to live by them."

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