The State Department’s Palestinian Affairs Unit has come under scrutiny for a tweet stating that its office would be closed on Thursday for a "local holiday"—the Jewish religion’s holiest of days known as Yom Kippur.
"Our office is closed today, Thursday, September 16, for the local holiday. We will reopen for normal business tomorrow, Friday, September 17," the bureau tweeted Thursday, on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is commemorated by Jews across the world, not just in Israel.
Our office is closed today, Thursday, September 16, for the local holiday. We will reopen for normal business tomorrow, Friday, September 17. pic.twitter.com/dOT8c9Zfat
— US Palestinian Affairs Unit (@USPalAffairs) September 16, 2021
The tweet generated a flurry of responses on the social media platform from Jews and others who viewed the Biden administration as attempting to downplay the holiday on a Twitter account that primarily services the Palestinian community.
"The U.S. Embassy, including the Palestinian Affairs Unit, was closed from noon on September 15 through September 16, 2021, in observance of Yom Kippur," a State Department official told the Washington Free Beacon in response to questions about the tweet.
The Biden administration has made clear that it wants to elevate relations with the Palestinian government and move away from policies implemented by the Trump administration that they view as overly deferential to Israel and its government. One of the first foreign policy moves undertaken by the Biden State Department was to restart U.S. aid to the Palestinians even as they promote violence against Israel and use international aid dollars to pay imprisoned terrorists.
The administration is also working to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem that served as an embassy to the Palestinians and was closed in 2019 by the previous administration. Critics of the move say that reopening this consulate, which was replaced with the Palestinian Affairs Unit, would reward the Palestinian government while it refuses to engage in peace negotiations with Israel. There are also concerns that reopening the consulate would walk back the Trump administration’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.