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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Nazareth, a Muslim-majority city in Israel where Christians believe Jesus was raised, has officially canceled its Christmas celebrations this year.

Mayor Ali Salam cited U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as the reason for the cancellation.

“Our identity and faith aren’t up for debate,” Salam said at a Thursday press conference. “The decision has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year.”

Newsweek reports that the cancellation will impact the local economy “severely,” as tens of thousands of people usually travel to the town during the Christmas season for the festivities.

Trump has repeatedly promised that the U.S. would say “Merry Christmas” again, despite the fact that Americans and American leaders have never stopped using the ubiquitous phrase. Yet the president has managed to dampen the Christmas spirit on the other side of the world with his offensive, widely panned decision on Jerusalem.

Chris Sosa is a managing editor at AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.