OU Writes to Hilary Clinton Objecting Statement Regarding East Jerusalem Houses

March 4, 2009

Today, the Orthodox Union wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to object to a statement in which the Secretary expressed opposition to Israel’s plans to demolish more than 80 houses constructed illegally by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The OU’s leaders expressed their disappointment and disagreement with Secretary Clinton’s comments, noting that they contradict Israel’s being a democratic state with a fair and open legal system and are contrary to U.S. values as well as requests of Israel on similar matters.

Dear Secretary Clinton:

As you visit the holy city of Jerusalem – which you have long recognized is the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel and the Jewish People – for the first time as our Secretary of State, we write to you to express our disappointment and disagreement with your statements regarding illegally constructed Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

You stated that Israel’s plans to demolish more than eighty such illegally constructed homes are “unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road map’” and that it is an issue you “intend to raise with the government of Israel…”

Madame Secretary, as you well know, Israel is the sole democracy in the Mideast and thus possesses a feature integral to democratic nations – an open and fair legal system. Thus, it is not only appropriate but necessary for the rule of law to govern. As such, illegally constructed homes in East Jerusalem should be removed, and any suggestion to the contrary mocks the laws of a just and democratic state. We note that the enforcement of similar Israeli laws has been urged by the United States regarding illegally constructed Israeli homes in other parts of Israel.

We hope and expect that as Secretary of State you will champion democracy and the rule of law throughout the globe, and not sacrifice such bedrock American values in the furtherance of competing diplomatic goals.

We request that you re-assess and clarify your statement on this matter.

We would be pleased and honored to discuss this matter with you further if this would be helpful to you.

Sincerely,

Stephen Savitsky, President

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President

Mark Bane, Chairman, Public Policy

Nathan J. Diament, Director, Public Policy