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Initial reaction from Andrew Rehfeld, CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, on President Trump’s press conference concerning Jerusalem today, December 6, 2017

The Jewish community in St. Louis has long supported the international recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Jerusalem has been the heart of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, and every nation has the right to name its own capital. Israel has – and it is Jerusalem. Many of us take pride in seeing our nation recognize this fact.

At the same time, I must express deep concern about the timing, motivations and ramifications of the President’s announcement.

The announcement comes on the heels of vicious anti-Muslim tweets and thus, may be perceived as a further salvo against the Muslim world. It was announced unilaterally without any apparent strategic initiative to promote peace.

I am thus deeply concerned for the prospects of violence that may now erupt as a ramification of this announcement. President Trump’s unilateral action, coming at the time and in the context it did, may profoundly undermine the prospects of real peace and stability for a democratic Jewish State of Israel.

As a community, we continue to support the international recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I welcome and join the President’s endorsement of a two state future for Israelis and Palestinians, joining with him in his prayers for peace in the region at this time.

Revised on December 7, 2017 at 8:00 am to make clear this is a personal statement from the President & CEO and not an official position of the organization.