Some 60 influential American Christian leaders representing 60 million constituents wrote to U.S. President Donald Trump a week before his visit to Israel, asking him to uphold American law and to honor his promise to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.
“As Christian leaders who collectively speak for over 60 million Americans we believe the time has come, at long last, to uphold American law by moving the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s eternal indivisible capital city of Jerusalem,” they wrote in a letter dated May 16.
The letter was initiated by the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network, whose mission is to “provide a unified voice of truth to the American public in support of Israel and the Jewish people.” Signatories of the letter come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and include John Hagee, founder and chairman of 3 million strong Christians United for Israel; Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters; Gordon Robertson, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network; and Dr. James Dobson, president of Family Talk Radio. ACLI is coordinated by the U.S. branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).
The authors of the letter, whose unstated primary reference point in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is the teaching of the Bible, note that the status of the city is recognized in American law in the form of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-45) and expressed concern that, “Implementation of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act should not be delayed nor made contingent on any future peace agreements.”
The letter points out that the Jerusalem Act states that the USA places its embassies in every capital city of its allies, except in the case of, “Our democratic ally and strategic friend, the State of Israel.”
The letter also noted that since that act, successive U.S. presidents have made use of a loophole in law allowing them to sign waivers every six months to delay its enactment in order to “protect US national security interests.” The letter described this arrangement as “America’s doublespeak.”
“This is not a policy based on principle, fairness or historical right, but it is based solely on weakness and fear,” claims Jürgen Bühler, international president of ICEJ, together with colleagues, in a strategy paper supporting the embassy move, also delivered to Trump and U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
The strategy paper addresses three historic reasons why the international community have opposed such recognition of Jerusalem:
“The first reason was the idea to internationalize Jerusalem as suggested in the UN Partition Plan of 1947, but this was only intended as a temporary measure and has since become out-dated.
“The second reason is the need to be even-handed on the issue of Jerusalem, but this too is a poor excuse as many nations – including the US – have placed their top envoys to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, while their counterparts to Israel sit in Tel Aviv.
“Thus, the only real reason for this refusal is fear of the potential Islamic backlash, which means this sovereign American decision has become a hostage to Arab threats.”
The letter also focuses on what Trump said in his campaign in which he promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Hence the authors, “respectfully request your [Trump’s] swift action to fulfill a special promise you made.”
‘”In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘people will no longer say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord.'” – Jeremiah 3:16-17