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Garcetti Faces Backlash for Statements in Support of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

4:23 PM PDT on May 21, 2019

    [dropcap size=big]R[/dropcap]eligious groups in Los Angeles are asking for an apology from mayor Eric Garcetti after he expressed his support of the Trump administration's  recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a contentious partisan and geopolitical issue that ignited criticism from L.A. progressives.

    In an interview with the L.A. Times that was published Sunday, the mayor said he supports Israel’s right to select its capital. “As an American, as a Jew, I’m sorry to see Israel portrayed by some leaders as a more and more partisan issue,” Garetti said at the end of a five-day trip through Israel.

    Garcetti appeared to be straddling a line between supporting a two-state solution in the region and support for Israel’s claims in a decades-old territorial dispute with Palestinians, who also say Jerusalem is partly their capital.

    “I support the embassy being here,” he explained. “Israel shouldn’t be the only country in the world that can’t determine where its capital will be, but there is usually a process to these things rather than what seems like an overnight, one-sided, partisan move.”

    'I recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.'

    This week Garcetti returned to Los Angeles to find that both progressive Jewish and Islamic groups are requesting a retraction and public apology for his statements. The Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace called it an “endorsement of the illegal move to consolidate Israeli annexation of land” and said it “furthers the endangering of the lives of both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis on the ground.”

    The controversial move last year by the Trump administration to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, caused ripples in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both groups claim Jerusalem as a holy land, with East Jerusalem seen by Palestinians as the capital of a future Palestinian state. It is unclear why Garcetti, a Democrat who just a few months ago cut short a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, decided to wade into the controversial topic now.

    Garcetti responded to the groups calling for the retraction by telling the L.A. Times that he supports both Palestine and Israel.

    “I recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said. “And I have always recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state that we all want to emerge from negotiations toward a true two-state solution.”

    You can read Garcetti’s full interview with the Times here.

    RELATED: When the Jewish Bakers of Boyle Heights Were Radical Socialists Instead of Trump Supporters

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