Even J Street Found Abbas Speech Condemning Trump's Jerusalem Decision 'Divisive and Inflammatory'

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas / Getty Images
December 15, 2017

The liberal lobbying group J Street on Thursday condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' "divisive and inflammatory rhetoric" in a recent speech he delivered opposing President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

During his speech, delivered before an Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Turkey on Wednesday, Abbas called on countries to end their recognition of Israel, claimed the Jewish history of Jerusalem is false, and declared there will be "no peace in the region and in the world" without a Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital.

"J Street rejects the divisive and inflammatory rhetoric used by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his recent speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), including his call on the international community to reconsider its recognition of the state of Israel and his unacceptable failure to acknowledge any historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem," J Street said in a statement.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency first reported on J Street's statement.

The harsh words for Abbas are noteworthy given J Street's pro-Palestinian slant on the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its reputation for being hostile to Israel.

J Street went on to also slam President Donald Trump for his "reckless and provocative decision" to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to announce his intention to move the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. Senate over the summer voted 90-0 in favor of such a recognition and moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We recognize that this speech comes at a time when Abbas, the Palestinian leadership, and much of the international community feel understandable frustration over the Trump administration's reckless and provocative decision to alter long-standing U.S. policy on Jerusalem," J Street said. "That sudden move showed a complete lack of concern for the complexity of Jerusalem as a final status issue or for the Palestinian position. With that decision, the administration has drastically undercut its own diplomatic credibility and ability to serve as an effective, trusted mediator, at least for the foreseeable future."

J Street also insisted in its statement that Abbas had not abandoned a two-state solution based on the "1967 borders, with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem."

J Street was an open supporter of the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal, which Israel sharply opposed, and also lobbied against legislation to counter the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, a prominent liberal lawyer, has described J Street as "the most damaging organization in American history against Israel."