Two prominent Jewish and pro-Israel organizations expressed disappointment over the US Supreme Court's ruling separating "Jerusalem" from "Israel" on US passports on Tuesday, noting the detriment the precedent-setting ruling has for American Jews and US-Israel relations.
"The question for the Supreme Court in this case involved a simple and ministerial act – whether or not U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem should be allowed to list their birth place as Israel," Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abraham Foxman stated. "The answer to that should have been an easy 'yes.' And the Court did not have to issue a sweeping decision about executive power to reach that conclusion."
"Now that the Court has issued a ruling emphasizing the role of the Executive in setting foreign policy, it is time for this administration to step up," he added. "How long will the U.S. government continue to have this hypocritical and myopic approach?"
"It is sad and unfortunate that Israel – as a sovereign nation – is the only country in the world whose capital comes under such scrutiny and has to defend its right to determine where its capital city exists," he concluded.
"It’s time for the Executive Branch to face the reality: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel."
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) expressed concerns, as well, that the ruling could be used to deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, as part of the widespread delegitimization campaign against Israel.
“The Jerusalem passport law is not even about recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem; it simply gives Americans born in Jerusalem the right to identify themselves with Israel, if that is their choice," Morton A. Klein, the ZOA’s National President, and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., Director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, said in a statement.
"Any concerns that the law might be construed as recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem could easily have been remedied by the Executive issuing a disclaimer, making it clear that the State Department’s compliance with the law did not mean that the U.S. had officially recognized Jerusalem as part of Israel."
The ZOA noted that Washington did just that when it allowed Chinese citizens to place 'Taiwan' as their birthplace on their US passports, but that the same courtesy has not been extended to Israel.
“The U.S. government has gone on the record to state that it refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem," the statement continued. "Yet as the ZOA’s amicus briefs have made clear, there is example after example of how the Executive – including the President and the State Department – have referred to Jerusalem as part of Israel."
It further raised concerns over the ruling justifying false claims that Israel 'Judaized' Jerusalem.
“The Jewish connection to Jerusalem in the land of Israel is irrefutable, going back thousands of years," the ZOA said. "Jerusalem is mentioned 700 times in Jewish holy books."
"Wherever Jews are around the world, we pray facing toward Jerusalem," it added. "Jerusalem is mentioned 20 times a day in our prayers, and on Yom Kippur and at the end of our Passover Seders, we recite the words, ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’"
"The majority of the people living in Jerusalem since the mid-1800’s have been Jews," it concluded. "Yet we are concerned that the Court’s decision will be twisted by Israel-bashers to deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Israel’s right to any part of the city."