Suit To Press Bush on Jerusalem’s Status

By Eric Marx

Published September 19, 2003, issue of September 19, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A New Yorker living in Israel filed a law suit this past week against the Bush administration in an effort to press it to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Ari Zivotofsky claims in the suit that the State Department broke the law when it refused to list Israel as the place of birth on his 11-month-old son’s passport, even though he was born in Jerusalem.

A law passed last year requires the State Department to list Israel as the country of origin for American citizens born in Jerusalem on passports, birth certificates and certificates of nationality. The law, a clause in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, calls on the United States explicitly to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The White House said at the time that the provisions would be viewed as advisory given the Executive Office’s undisputed authority in foreign policy matters.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat who is a sponsor of the Jerusalem-related provisions, said at a press conference in New York City that the documentation provision doesn’t bear on Jerusalem’s status and is merely a practical acknowledgement that Jerusalem is within the borders of Israel.

“This is simply a clerical issue at the Department of State pushing what country people are in when they get a passport like this,” Weiner said. “The White House and State Department are allowing this creeping political correctness to reach absurd lengths.” Weiner said the lawsuit was an important first step toward proclaiming Jerusalem Israel’s capital in the face of prior legislative defeats.

The White House has historically resisted such congressional pressure, saying it would inflame Arab sensibilities and imperil Middle East peace negotiations. At the same time, the Bush administration has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, having come into office on a platform recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Anthony Weiner’s efforts highlight the great hypocrisy of these people,” said Ira Forman, of the National Jewish Democratic Council, “and it highlights the failure of our community to criticize a president when it’s appropriate.”

A leading Republican Party activist, Fred Zeidman, who chairs the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, cautioned against pushing the administration too far, saying the Jewish community needs to give the president more time to work out the details of what is currently a volatile situation. Zeidman noted that he was not speaking on behalf of the Holocaust council.

At the very least, observers say, the Bush administration needs to provide an explanation. Weiner isn’t holding his breath.

“To those of us in the Congress, there is no dispute,” Weiner said. “While the embassy might have to wait to be moved until the president certifies it, this is one provision of the law that he does not have an option over, and we’re going to be suing him to force his hand.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.