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Op-Ed: State Department Fuels Mideast Racism

A call to America to support its own values.
Published: Monday, February 17, 2014 1:18 PM



If African-Americans can live in Iowa, if whites can live in Harlem, then surely Jews can live in all areas of Jerusalem.

If African-Americans can live in Iowa, if whites can live in Harlem, then surely Jews can live in all areas of Jerusalem.

The State Department this week endorsed racism. As an American born to a mother who was born in a displaced person camp in Europe in the ashes of the Holocaust, I uniquely realize that America is a great country which celebrates the races and histories of so many great cultures.
 
America’s beautiful melting pot is one of the special things about this blessed nation. With the first ever African-American president, all American children today realize they can be anything they want to be. We are a nation where dreams come true. As a New York City public school graduate who today owns one of the leading PR Agencies in the United States, I embody the American dream that anyone can accomplish anything.
 
This country is so great, in part, because it encourages people to “Be All They Can Be”, and fights for human rights, equality amongst people, and recognizes the rights of all people. Naturally, that includes the rights of people to live wherever they choose.
 
Imagine my outrage when hearing that a State Department spokesperson condemned “the construction of 558 new apartments in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.” Saying “We oppose any unilateral actions by either party that attempt to prejudge final status issues, including the status of Jerusalem” implies so much that America’s blueprint for the Middle East envisions a place where Jews and Arabs cannot live together? What an un-American "peace." Building must continue as people have kids and live.
 
Jews must the same political freedom, national, civil, and religious liberties as every other people to live anywhere in the world, including the right to live anywhere in Jerusalem, Judaism’s eternal capital.
 
American opposition to Jews in Jerusalem is a violation of constitutional rights to equal protection of the law. It seems to be a continuation of a 2,000-year-old habit of Jews being told where they can and cannot live. This spanned from the ghettos of medieval Europe, to severe zoning restrictions in czarist Russia and finally to the edicts of Nazism, where we were eventually told that we could not live at all.
 
America today is endorsing racial segregation. If African-Americans can live in Iowa, if whites can live in Harlem, then surely Jews can live in all areas of Jerusalem. If the peace process is incapable of digesting the presence of 558 new apartments, then its fragility is beyond repair.
 
The American State Department must support a strong democratic nation in the Middle East, and must not support the sort of racial discrimination which
continues throughout the Middle East, where racial segregation is the norm (Israelis are not permitted in Arab countries.) The State Department comments would be clear racism if made about any country in the world.
 
During the Cold War, Natan Sharansky, the famous Russian-Jewish political prisoner, was arrested in the former Soviet Union for the crime of studying about Judaism and wanting to emigrate to Israel.
 
On July 14, 1978, Sharansky stood before a Soviet court about to sentence him to 15 years in prison and said, “For 2,000 years the Jewish people, my people, have been dispersed all over the world and seemingly deprived of any hope of returning. But still, each year Jews have stubbornly and apparently without reason, said to each other, ‘L’shana ha’bah b’Yirusholayim, Next Year in Jerusalem.’ And today, when I am further than ever from my dream, from my people, and from my [wife] Avital, and when
many difficult years of prison and camps lie ahead of me, I say to my wife and to my people, L’shana ha’baah b’Yirusholayim — Next Year in Jerusalem.”
 
For 3,000 years, the eternal city of Jerusalem has held the most exalted position in Judaism and a place of unparalleled importance in Jewish life and history. Jews worldwide pray facing Jerusalem.
 
In the daily prayers, Jews pray and say: “And to Jerusalem your city, return in mercy, and dwell in it as you have proclaimed. And build it, soon, in our days — an eternal building.” And, in the blessings at the conclusion of a meal are the words, “blessed are You God, for the land, and for the sustenance . . . And build Jerusalem, the holy city, soon in our days."
 
American values cannot accept the encouragement of racial discrimination.
 
P.S.: As Israel’s eternal capital, the final status of Jerusalem has been decided. After 2,000 years of sacrifice for the dream of returning to Jerusalem, America must not be a partner of taking it away. At the Passover Seder in a few months, Jews worldwide will sing “Next Year in Jerusalem” — even if the State Department encourages racial segregation. 

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.

This article, sent to Arutz Sheva by the writer, also appeared in Newsmax.