President Obama, Please Address Court’s Jerusalem Decision


Israeli Foreign Ministry building in Jerusalem

— by Benjamin Suarato

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs asked President Barak Obama to use his authority to undo the damage caused by Federal appeals court ruling, declaring unconstitutional a 2002 U.S. law permitting American citizens born in Jerusalem to list “Israel” on their passports. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the 2002 law wrongfully intruded upon a President’s sole power to recognize foreign governments. In 2012, the JCPA joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in defense of the law. JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow said:

The Court’s disappointing opinion allows the State department to continue the unfair policy, treating those born in Jerusalem differently than all other foreign cities in which passports are issued. We call on the Administration to right this wrong, and allow Jerusalem-born applicants who desire so to list Israel on their passports.

More after the jump.
JCPA Chair Larry Gold said:

The opinion deeply conflates the President’s power to recognize foreign governments with Congress’s power to regulate immigration. However, the policy set by this opinion is much broader: it permits the Department of State to delegitimize the nationhood of persons born in areas that are under dispute, such as Jerusalem. While no one questions the President’s prerogative to set foreign policy, this case permits a policy that unnecessarily drags people born there deeply into the politics of the conflict itself.

While the U.S. has consistently recognized the state of Israel since independence was declared in 1948, it has refused to recognize any nation’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.  

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