“The resistance to admitting that Jerusalem is part of Israel clearly isn’t so much what any president thinks, but just more of the State Department’s decades-long hostility to the idea of a Jewish state in the land of Israel. Plain and simple,” wrote veteran New York journalist Seth Lipksy in an Op-Ed in the New York Post.
The controversy re-emerged recently after the US District of Columbia Appeals Court this week declared a 2002 federal law unconstitutional that directed the State Department to let US citizens born in Jerusalem register their birthplace as “Israel” on their passports.
Lispky wrote: “Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel famously used to warn against deciding the question of Jerusalem in the United States Congress. Nor, it looks like he should have added, in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court, the second most important one in the country, has just ruled that only the president can decide the question of Jerusalem. Congress, it decided, has no standing in deciding how to list Jerusalem in documents issued by the US government.”
The family of Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002, sued after the State Department refused to issue a passport saying he’d been born in Israel, leading his parents to ask the government to enforce the rights the law had established.
“The law was passed 352 to 73 in the House and unanimously in the Senate. But when President George W. Bush signed it, he issued one of his most famous — or infamous — signing statements, saying he wouldn’t enforce the passport part of it because it infringed on his presidential powers. President Obama takes the same position,” Lipsky wrote.
Zivotofsky’s lawyer, Nathan Lewin, an expert in constitutional law, said he’d make a second appeal to the Supreme Court.
“Zivotofsky was an infant when this campaign began. His lawyer expressed the hope that it can yet be resolved in his favor by the time he celebrates his bar mitzvah,” Lipsky wrote.
Lipsky, founding editor of the English language Forward newspaper, was also founder and editor of the New York Sun, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and for the Army’s Stars and Stripes, which he wrote for while serving in Vietnam.