The New York City Council is on an eight-day tour of Israel, visiting areas both Jewish and Muslim. The City Council is represented by many different kinds of New Yorkers, including Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn councilman David Greenfield. As an Orthodox Jew, Greenfield wears a yarmulke, and presumably expected to be able to do so freely in the Jewish state. That was until U.S. officials told Greenfield to remove his yarmulke, a religious symbol upon their arrival in Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the central West Bank.
While Greenfield stated he might have understood the restrictions if he was walking around the city, he was asked to remove the yarmulke on the bus outside of the U.S. consulate in Ramallah. U.S. officials even admitted to Greenfield that the yarmulke was not endangering the safety of the group according to Greenfield’s official Twitter account,
I asked US Consul security if I was endangering group. They said I wasnt. So I refused to remove yarmulke in Ramallah pic.twitter.com/oU274lWZI8
— David G. Greenfield (@NYCGreenfield) February 23, 2015
Israeli blogger Elder of Ziyon had some sharp words on the incident:
You see, the US officials are very, very sensitive to the feelings of Palestinian Arabs. The sight of a Jew wearing a yarmulka is offensive, and we must bend over backwards to avoid offending our friends who burn American flags and blow up American diplomats.
Offending Jews, of course, is acceptable and entirely appropriate. Because they don’t burn American flags or murder American diplomats. As friends, Jews should understand how they should avoid anything that might stoke Arab antisemitism (sorry, “anti-Zionism”), like wearing a yarmulka or praying.
The timing of this scandal, given the fact that yesterday a U.S. court found Palestinian groups responsible for the deaths of victims of terror in Israel, including Americans. The New York Times reports on the verdict,
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured.
Even the day Palestinian government groups are held responsible for the deaths of Americans, inexplicably, U.S. officials are still more concerned with their feelings than the religious rights of an American lawmaker.
Comment below: Why do you think U.S. officials told Greenfield to take off his yarmulke?