As I wrote in my post “Where is Israel’s capital?”, the US Administration has a big problem with admitting that Jerusalem is in fact the capital of Israel, or that it belongs in any way to Israel. Many US-born parents of Israeli children have discovered that if they want to register Jerusalem as the place of their children’s birth, the American consulate in Jerusalem will register the place of birth as “Jerusalem” with no country mentioned.
The parents of Menachem Zivotofsky have decided to challenge this ridiculous ruling and are taking the matter to court in the United States, as reported by the JTA in May.
The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear the appeal of a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem whose parents want Israel listed as his country of birth on his passport.
The court agreed Monday to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the case of 9-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky and his parents, Ari and Naomi. A three-judge panel of the appeals court had ruled that it did not have jurisdiction in the case, which was brought under a 2002 law passed shortly before Menachem was born that allows Americans born in Jerusalem to list the city as in “Israel.”
President Bush signed the law but reserved the right to ignore it. Presidents traditionally have resisted efforts to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli, saying that such recognition would pre-empt Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
State Department officials refused to list Menachem as being born in Israel when his parents, who were both born in America and are U.S. citizens, appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Israel to obtain a passport for their son.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in 2007 threw out the case, saying the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter because resolving the “claim on the merits would necessarily require the court to decide the political status of Jerusalem. The case law makes clear that the Constitution commits that decision to the executive branch.” The case then went to the appeals court.
The Zivotofskys’ Washington- based attorney, Nathan Lewin, told JTA that “We are gratified that the Supreme Court added the ultimate question whether the passport designation truly interferes with the President’s power over foreign relations.
“Once the State Department’s passport practices and policy are closely examined,” he said, “the Court will see that the argument that Congress has interfered with the President’s constitutional authority is unjustified and that the State Department’s policy simply discriminates against American citizens who are proud to have been born in Israel and allows enemies of Israel to eradicate mention of it from their passports.”
The next stage in this diplomatic dance was that the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief to bolster the claim that Jerusalem is indeed in Israel. They provided photos and video clips with captions entitled “Jerusalem, Israel” to prove their point:
On August 5, 2011, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition by Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky, an American citizen born in Jerusalem who was denied his right under U.S. law to have “Israel” listed as his birthplace on his passport. In refusing to implement the law, the State Department claimed that enforcing it and listing “Israel” would infringe on the president’s foreign policy powers. The ZOA’s brief refuted that claim, showing that many departments and agencies in the Executive branch – including the Executive Office of the President – routinely refer to Jerusalem as part of Israel, without any evident impact on any presidential power, and thus listing “Israel” on a passport would have no such impact either.
Among the many governmental references to “Jerusalem, Israel” described in the ZOA’s amicus brief were several photos posted on the WhiteHouse Web site, which were taken on the trip that Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, made to the Middle East last year. One photo was captioned: “Vice President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel, March 9, 2010” (emphasis added). The caption to another photo read: “Vice President Joe Biden laughs with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Israel, March 9, 2010” (emphasis added). The caption to a third photo said: “Vice President Joe
Biden has breakfast with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair . . . in Jerusalem, Israel, March 10, 2010” (emphasis added). Each of these photos is described as an “Official White House Photo.”
The third and most despicable stage in this ridiculous saga is that the White House has gone through its website, scrubbing all reference to “Jerusalem, Israel” from photos and videos. From the IMRA link above:
Recognizing the persuasive power of this aspect of the ZOA’s argument, the White House has engaged in a shameful and outrageous tactic, this week suddenly changing references to “Jerusalem, Israel” on its Web site to “Jerusalem” only, with no mention of Israel.
Morton A. Klein, ZOA’s National President, and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., the director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, condemned the White House for altering the references to “Jerusalem, Israel” on its Web site: We are appalled that the White House would resort to such a transparent and shameful tactic in an effort to diminish the strength of the ZOA’s argument in its amicus brief to the Supreme Court. But suddenly removing the White House’s references to ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ on its Web site will not help the U.S. government’s case before the Supreme Court. If anything, the White House’s actions show that the government recognizes the strength of the ZOA’s argument: Given how frequently and routinely the White House and many U.S. departments and agencies have referred to Jerusalem as part of Israel, it is simply absurd to suggest that permitting Menachem Zivotofsky and other Americans born in Jerusalem to have ‘Israel’ listed on their passports will have any impact on any presidential power to make foreign policy or recognize foreign sovereigns. If Jerusalem-born Americans wish to identify with Israel by having it recorded as their birthplace on their passports – which is plainly their right under legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush – that right should be upheld and enforced.
“President Obama and his administration should be ashamed of themselves for taking these outrageous actions which will surely do nothing to help the government’s case.”
My Right Word (Yisrael Medad) has a video clip showing the places where the name “Israel” has been removed, and Yisrael Medad also points us towards the Weekly Standard which has examples scrubbed clean of the dreaded word “Israel” in connection with Jerusalem. Watch Medad’s video and be appalled at the White House’s juvenile yet despicable attempt to deny any connection of Jerusalem to Israel. If you ask the Administration I’m sure they could not explain how you would get to Jerusalem if not through Israel’s international airport. Their duplicity is sickening.