WASHINGTON - The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says it is shocked by the harsh public criticism recently directed at Israel by the US Administration.
"We are shocked and stunned at the Administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said in a statement.
Israel had been publicly reprimanded in recent days by several US officials, in wake of the announcement that 1,600 new housing units will be built in east Jerusalem. The Americans were especially upset as the announcement coincided with Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel.
However, ADL said the unprecedented criticism leveled by the US was aimed at placating the Palestinians.
"We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States," ADL's statement said. "One can only wonder how far the US is prepared to go in distancing itself from Israel in order to placate the Palestinians in the hope they see it is in their interest to return to the negotiating table."
Foxman's statement noted that the US criticism was "especially troubling" as PM Benjamin Netanyahu made sure to offer clear explanations of the announcement mishap both publically and privately.
"Biden accepted the prime minister's apology," ADL said. "Therefore, to raise the issue again in this way is a gross overreaction to a point of policy difference among friends."
'A wake-up call'
However, another US Jewish organization, J Street, chose to slam Israel's conduct while endorsing the Administration's position.
"Israel's recent announcement of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem wasn't just a slap in the face to Vice President Joe Biden," J Street said. "It was a wake-up call to us all that business-as-usual peace processing is bringing us no closer to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And now it may derail or delay the proximity talks just announced by Special Envoy Mitchell.
"The alarm bells couldn’t be ringing more loudly, telling us that hope is fading for a future where a Jewish, democratic Israel lives side-by-side in peace and security with the state of the Palestinian people," the organization said.