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U.S. Jewish group demands apology from Hillary

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

JERUSALEM – An American Jewish group has demanded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologize to her former constituents, claiming she misled them while she was a New York senator by falsely professing support for an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a position the group says she has since abandoned.

The Zionist Organization of America, or ZOA, has sent a letter to Clinton stating, “When you were New York’s senator from 2001 to 2009, you repeatedly stated in speeches and in a September 2007 position paper that you believed ‘Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, must never be questioned.'”

The letter continues, “We make this demand (for an apology) following your passionate and heartfelt condemnation of Israel for announcing the construction of Jewish homes in a Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem by stating that Jews building and moving there ‘is an insult to America.’ The only reasonable interpretation of this policy is that it is a first step toward dividing Jerusalem.”

The letter called Clinton’s recent remarks against Jewish construction in Jerusalem “shocking … especially perplexing in light of the fact that you have ignored Congress passing the ‘Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.'”

That act calls on the U.S. to move its embassy to Israel’s capital city.

ZOA President Mort Klein added, “Preventing Jews, because they are Jews, from moving into or developing their communities in Jerusalem is a racist and even apartheid American and Palestinian Arab policy which aims to weaken Israel’s claim to Jerusalem and is a first step towards dividing the city.”

The U.S. has come down hard on a decision by the Jerusalem municipality to approve 1,600 new homes in Ramat Shlomo, an already-existing Jewish community in eastern Jerusalem. The decision was made public during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the region earlier this month.

The Palestinians claim eastern Jerusalem as their future capital, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear he does not intend to give up the Jewish sections of the city.

Netanyahu has stated that he had not been aware of the decision to build in Ramat Shlomo and that the announcement was not timed to coincide with Biden’s visit.

Still, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod called the Ramat Shlomo announcement an “insult.” Other administration officials, including Clinton, called the Jewish neighborhood expansion an impediment to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.