Philip Weiss writes in Mondoweiss:
The religious character of Friedman’s remarks went well beyond that statement. Friedman likened the US-Israel relationship to the “altar” of the original Jewish temple in Jerusalem and called the embassy a “shrine” that people pray to and thank God for. The US and Israel need to get even closer in the coming months, Friedman said, and move toward even greater “holiness.”
Friedman spoke at an event on May 14, marking the first anniversary of the opening of the US embassy in the city, the day in 2018 that saw the killing of more than 60 Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
Here are religious excerpts of Friedman’s speech.
I think we’ve done something that has not been done in some time, we have created a new shrine in the ancient city of Jerusalem and we’re extremely proud of it. [Applause]… What I get perhaps the greatest satisfaction from… [are] the tourists who come to visit the embassy… I kid you not, people got on their knees and they prayed to god that they had seen this day, that this day had arose… They took pictures, there were people in tears, there were people were in deep moments of prayer. The reactions frankly were stunning and moving, and I can’t get enough of that.
When people say the embassy move was “just symbolic,” Friedman disagrees.
That just cannot be further from the truth. The move of the embassy was a validation by the strongest nation in the world, not just strong militarily, strong economically, but strong morally, strong ethically, with a bedrock of Judeo-Christian values that govern every citizen’s attachment to this country. That country recognized the unbreakable, historical truthful connection between the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. That is not symbolic. That is the farthest thing from symbolic.