Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Recently, oral argument was heard in the United States Supreme Court concerning the fight of American citizens born in Jerusalem to have "Place of Birth" line on one's passport read Jerusalem, Israel. Federal legislation specifically authorize this. However, The State Department as a matter of policy refuses to follow this statute. The case has made it before the US Supreme Court.

It should be pointed out that the three branches of Government the executive, legislative and judicial. They are understood as being co-equal each which specific powers that do not overlap. Foreign Relations belong to the Executive branch exclusively and it is not Congress' place to dictate to the State Department how o do its job. so there is a legitimate separation of powers question for the Court to decide. However, what is outrageous is the assertion made by attorneys for the Administration through the Solicitor General's office that Israel has no more right to Jerusalem than Russia does to Crimea.

The cultural ignorance and insensitivity behind such arguments border on the Anti-Semitic. Jerusalem is where Jews face at prayer. During the week Jews pray for the return of the exiles to Israel and rebuilding of Jerusalem three times daily. The Passover Seder and Yom Kippur services conclude with the declaration "NEXT YEAR N JERUSALEM".

Though a secular and ethnically diverse society the modern state of Israel asserts its historic antecedents the Kings of Davidic Dynasty. The establishment of the State of Israel was widely heralded as the Return to Zion. Although ridiculed as racist the Law of Return mistakenly seen as unfair to Arabs displaced in 1948 seeking to return to pre-1948 residences misses the cultural aspect of the law.

The Law of Return canonizes  the cultural norm of Israel as homeland. The notion of Jewry's connection to the land of Israel and Jerusalem only eroded in the aftermath of Jewry's trending away from tradition during the 19th century. Even so a proposed Jewish state in Uganda or a  the Soviet Jewish republic of Birobidzhan went  for all intents and purposes, nowhere.

It is quite serious that the Administration actually believes an argument denying  a fundamental aspect of Jewish identity, shame on them.  And if Israel has no right to Jerusalem then where do Jews have a right to belong? 

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