President Barack Obama must use his executive power to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, pro-Israel congressmen said after last week’s US Supreme Court decision to strike down a congressional law allowing “Israel” to be written as the birthplace on passports of Jerusalem-born Americans.
The Supreme Court took the Obama’s administration’s side in Zivotovsky v. Kerry last Monday, saying that the law encroached on the president’s prerogative to set foreign policy.
Members of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus came out against the decision, with many calling for Obama to use the power the court ruled he alone holds to do what the now-canceled law authorized.
“The sad and unfortunate truth is that this president has done all he can to diminish the standing since he walked into office,” Rep. Ted Franks (R-Arizona), a CIAC co-chairman who introduced the Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act, stated.
Franks said that because Obama “refuses to reflect the unified American voice that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Congress has been placed in the very uncomfortable position of having to confirm to the world who our allies are.”
The goal of the law the Supreme Court repealed was to hold the US president to his own statement that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” Franks explained, adding that Obama misled the American people when it comes to his support for an undivided Jerusalem.
Franks also called for the White House to, in a “noble act of courage and justice that comports who we are as Americans,” recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York), a co-chairman of the CIAC and co-sponsor of the Jerusalem passport law, called the Supreme Court ruling “very, very wrong” in an interview with National Public Radio, and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California), another CIAC co-chairman, tweeted that he is disappointed by the decision.
“The ability to claim one’s Israeli heritage shouldn’t be blocked for political reasons, especially when referencing that heritage is simply an option, not a mandate,” Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-New Jersey) said.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) said the decision highlights the failures of the administration’s foreign policy.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Illinois) posited that the administration is punishing US citizens born in Jerusalem.
“Americans born in Jerusalem should be able to list their birthplace as Israel on their passport. It is that simple. Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel and historic homeland of the Jewish people,” he said.