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U.S. Supreme Court: Jerusalem is not a foreign policy issue

The decision inches Jerusalem another step closer to de jure recognition by America as an undisputed part of sovereign Israel.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 8-1 to reject the appeal by a federal court in Washington stating that the question of whether to register someone born in Jerusalem as having been born in Israel should be subject to State Department authorization – ruling instead that it can and should be decided by federal judges. The Supreme Court decision grants full authority to lower courts to make the decision, essentially sending the message that it does not see U.S. foreign policy concerns at play in such an issue.

At the center of this case is Menachem Zivotofsky, a Jewish American child who was born in Jerusalem in 2002 whose parents wanted to list his birthplace in his U.S. passport as “Israel,” instead of Jerusalem. As I explained here back in October, Congress passed legislation in 2002 instructing the State Department to list Israel as the birthplace of those born in Jerusalem upon request. However since then, both presidents Bush and Obama have refused to implement it, citing executive prerogative, as the status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been disputed since Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967.

While Israel declares Jerusalem to be the “undivided capital of Israel,” the United States and the rest of the world  do not recognize it as such. Registering someone born in Jerusalem as having been born in Israel provides official recognition that Jerusalem – including the Palestinian neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Issawiya – are all under Israeli sovereignty, thus directly undermining a viable  two-state solution.

This is obviously highly problematic, as the status of Jerusalem is one of the core issues that need to be resolved in any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of which the United States claims to constitute a genuine broker. In this majority opinion, Justice Judge Roberts wrote:

It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is…That duty will sometimes involve the resolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches, but courts cannot avoid their responsibility merely because the issues have political implications.

The importance of the ruling is that it determines that Congress did not overstep its power by instructing the State Department to list Jerusalem as part of Israel and that the executive branch of government should not have to interfere.  This essentially means the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Jerusalem is not a political, foreign policy issue and thus there is no need for its status to be dealt with by the executive branch of the U.S. government.

According to a report in Haaretz, ADL Director Abraham Foxman unsurprisingly praised the decision – as did several other Jewish groups, including the Orthodox Union.

Whether Menachem Zivotofsky will actually be granted the right to list Israel as the birthplace in his passport is still up to a federal court to decide, but now it can legally be done without any interference or input by the State Department or the president. Meanwhile, Palestinians born in Jerusalem do not even have a passport, and certainly cannot list Palestine as their birthplace, but rather continue to have their national identity listed in their ID cards as “Jordan” or “unclear.”

This inches Jerusalem another step closer to de jure recognition by America as an undisputed part of sovereign Israel.

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    1. XYZ

      As I understand it, the US does not recognize WEST Jerusalem as being part of Israel and that is why they refuse to move their embassy there, saying that it only recognizes the UN Partition Plan’s designation of all of Jerusalem, east and west, as being part of an internationalized “corpus separatum”. The refusal to list Jerusalem as part of Israel by the State Department has nothing to do with the Six-Day War or east Jerusalem’s status.
      Anyway, who cares? Jerusalem is Israel’s undivided eternal capital, because EVERYONE, including you, Meirav, knows that to divide the city is do DESTROY IT.
      We don’t tell the US where to put their capital, and they shouldn’t tell us.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Leen

      My suggestion?
      Make Jerusalem into another Vatican City. As a someone who was born and bred in Jerusalem as, when people say it is the undivided Jewish capital, it saddens me that Judaism is valued more than both Christianity and Islam. It’s suppose to be a city of peace, a city of the Abrahamic faiths, not a city of religious superiority and supremacy.

      People still don’t understand that one religion be it Islam, Christianity and Judaism, claims the said city as its own, it only spells disaster, conflict and destruction. People don’t seem to learn from their historical mistakes.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Jack

      According to international law Israel have no right to claim Jerusalem, in fact Israel’s claim on Jerusalem is as legitimate and legal as Saddam Hussein’s claim on Kuwait.

      East Jerusalem belongs to Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    4. XYZ

      According to the very criteria you yourself bring, the Palestinians have NO claim to east Jerusalem. “Corpus Separatum”-remember?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jack

      The eastern part of Jerusalem has never been a part of Israel. Thats the view of the world, even the United states, thats what international law stipulates, UN resolutions, ICJ states.

      Reply to Comment
    6. JG

      XYZ — I’m still missing a clear explanation of how dividing Jerusalem would “destroy” it. (Need every foreign policy concession become an existential issue?) It did exist separately from 1948-67.

      Reply to Comment
    7. sh

      Here we go again. XYZ putting ignorant words into people’s mouths. Everyone does NOT know that a shared capital would destroy the city. Jerusalem was split between Jordan and Israel for 19 years. It wasn’t destroyed. We would have been deliriously happy to have been allowed through the Mandelbaum Gate to visit the Old City, but 19 years without it was ok too and it left our dreams, but crucially our illusions about ourselves, intact. If I have to choose between needing a visa to visit the Old City or contemplating a future with the likes of Kalashnikover Rebbe ruling the roost, my choice is made. A shared Jerusalem, corpus separatum, even partition, any of those is OK by me and possibly quite a few others, if peace at last is part of the package.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Alyssa

      This issue is more about whether the courts can weigh on on balance of powers issues that involve foreign policy… As the CS Monitor put it “The lower courts had declined to wade into the diplomatic morass. But on Monday, the Supreme Court told the federal judiciary, in effect, to man-up.” I don’t know enough about the law to know whether once a federal judge decides on this whether it will go back to the Supreme Court to decide whether Jerusalem is or isn’t part of Israel. That would be quite a case. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0326/Supreme-Court-orders-judicial-solution-to-Congress-State-dispute-on-Jerusalem

      Reply to Comment
    9. Michael W.

      Jack, XYZ also said that E. Jerusalem was never part of a Palestinian state, or mandated to be in the 1947 Partition plan. So – for the same reason the United States does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over W. Jersualem, it can not recognize sovereignty of E. Jerusalem by any entity other than what the Partition Plan mandates, which is definetly not a Palestinian Arab entity/state.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Jack

      Michael W,

      Israel doesnt claim Western Jerusalem, it claims the whole of the city, thats the problem.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Michael W.

      Jack, in this case, even a person born in W. Jerusalem would be considered to not be born in Israel (as I understood the issue).

      Reply to Comment
    12. XYZ

      Your nostalgia for pre-67 Jerusalem is popular today, typical of the moral decay that has rotted part of the Left in Israel. After 1967, it was unthinkable to divide Jerusalem, and this was agreed to by ALL Parties, including what was predecessors of MERETZ, i.e. MAPAM and Labor and others. This was the case for MERETZ and Labor up until 1999.
      You know darm well that should the city be divided it will become a shooting gallery, just like what happened in Gilo when the IDF withdrew from Beit Jallah, Beit Lehem, and Beit Sahur.
      Also Jews who will be going through Palestinian territory to the Kotel and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City will be harrassed. Muslim extremist groups will harass and attack Jews and Christians in east Jerusalem to prove they are winning the war, in addition. But, okay let’s say you don’t care, those places don’t interest you, but they are vital concern to millions of Israelis. We know that Barak, Sharon, Rabin, Peres and the others didn’t give a damn about the lives of Israeli citizens when they armed our enemies and gave vital territories over to their control in order to attack us which they do to the present time. These “leaders” don’t give a damn. But as I said, millions of Israel do passionatly care, even if you don’t, and so Jerusalem WILL NOT BE DIVIDED, and it will the Palestinians who ensure this by insisting on full Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, even if Olmert was willing to destroy the city for them.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Jack


      Your argumentation is very reminscent of how Israel and its supporters argue on the West Bank wall. The problem from a legal perspective isnt that a wall per se would be illegal, the problem is that its built on annexed territory that makes it illegal. Israel could built whatever on their side of the border. Israel have of course no legal right to claim Jerusalem.

      Reply to Comment
    14. I can’t believe some of the comments in this thread. I”m going to have to resort to my favorite four letter words to bring some reality here.

      FACT: A ‘shared capitol’ between Israel and Jordan did not destroy the city – just the Jewish parts of it in East Jerusalem.26 historic synagogues were destroyed, Jewish homes stolen and expropriated and the population ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians.It was essentially a cease fire line.

      FACT: During Jordanian rule, Jews were prohibited from setting foot in East Jerusalem, and Christians were allowed only dhimmi status, with Islam ruling over the city.Under Israeli rule, all religions have access and are allowed to practice their faiths.

      FACT:The only reason the city is united today and not judenrein as some people here might prefer is because Jordan attacked Israel in 1967, shelling civilians in the Jewish part of the city. The Israelis had a perfect right to capture it and take it over,since the original partition was rejected by the Arabs in 1948 and it was under no one’s sovereignty.

      FACT: There were no ‘Palestinians’ until after Israel annexed Jerusalem. How can they have a ‘claim’ to something they never owned???

      FACT: Israelis never going to divide Jerusalem again. It’s about time the world got used to it. And the case referred to was another instance of our State Department ( and two presidents)placating the Arab world by applying blatant ‘special rules’ that apply to Israel and Jews and no one else.

      For instance, are US citizens born in Kashmir, Taiwan, Tibet, Nagorno-Karabakh,the Golan Heights, Prevlaka, Sarych, The Falklands or numerous other areas whose sovereignty is disputed between two or more countries subjected to the same restrictions as US citizens born in Jerusalem, Israel? Uhh…no.

      One more fact that ought to be evident.The entire Oslo-Two State solution scam is dead, as is ‘land for peace’. As the Israelis found out in Gaza, South Lebanon and the Arab occupied areas of Judea and Samaria, giving up as much as a single square dunam of land to people whose fondest wish is to see you dead just means they have a closer platform to shoot at you.

      Some people might think giving up land in exchange for a signed sheet of paper and guarantees might equal ‘peace’ but when you examine how that’s worked out in practice, the truth becomes evident.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Jack

      Rob Miller,

      About destroyed jewish places, you are talking about during wartime. You fail to acknowledge that over 700 palestinian villages have been destroyed and is constantly destroyed today with the intent to remove any palestinian connection.

      East Jerusalem isnt open for all, its illegal annexed palestinian territory.

      There is no palestinian? There was no israelis before 1948, how then could they claim something they never owned?

      Israel have no right to Jerusalm, its time Israel understand this, as it is the only state making such claims in the whole world.

      There is no dispute in the conflict, its perfectly clear if you check according to international law.

      Sheba is still occupied, Israel still use aggression against Lebanon. Gaza is still occupied.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      I’m extremely skeptical that the decision implied what the boldface sentence said: “This essentially means…” etc. Congress influences foreign policy in all sorts of ways, for instance by voting on war budgets. I’d like to see the passages of the majority decision that support such an extraordinary interpretation.

      Reply to Comment
    17. aristeides

      Rob Miller is obviously fond of the word “fact,” but in fact, you can’t make a statement of fact in the future tense. Future states of affairs are matters of probability and conjecture only. And, in these cases, a lot of unfounded speculation.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Philos

      I was born in Jerusalem and my foreign passport says “Jerusalem” and that’s it. Which is fine by me. If the Americans really wanted to help the Israelis and Palestinians then they’d flatten the accursed backwater. They’d pour salt into its aquifers and frack the ground so no building can be constructed there. If there was a god he’d have destroyed that vile city long ago

      Reply to Comment
    19. Philos, Jerusalem contains the best homemade vanilla cake this side of England. With talk like that you can’t have found it yet. It’s located in a terrific bookshop on Salah al-Din St (and if I ever get struck down by a tear gas canister to the head, I hope it’s where good activists go when they die). Visit it and you might find a few square feet of Jerusalem that you can appreciate. 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    20. sh

      XYZ I object to your telling me what I know darn well. You stick to what you know darn well and I’ll it’ll be me telling you what I know darn well thank you very much.
      My nostalgia for pre-1967 is not popular today at all – I don’t know where you got that idea. Those who remember it are rather thin on the ground by now and you can only have nostalgia for something you already knew. After 1967 relinquishing East Jerusalem seemed unthinkable to many because Israelis expected the residents of East Jerusalem to like them when they got to know them. We saw ourselves as kind, good people then, because we didn’t know any different. Soon after the war many of the older East Jerusalem residents came into west Jerusalem clutching slips of paper with addresses on them, to search for old Jewish friends they had not seen since the 1940s so how could we know?
      Gilo was a shooting gallery because it is a settlement. It didn’t exist in pre-1967 divided Jerusalem.
      Jews who have to go through Palestinian territory to the Kotel will be treated with courtesy when there is peace and it will probably be less dangerous than walking to synagogue on Shabat in your part of the world.
      As for the Palestinian right of return, they will have that right under conditions agreed by the signatories of the peace treaty. Best to get used to the idea.

      Reply to Comment
    21. sh

      @Rob Miller – “FACT: A ‘shared capitol’ between Israel and Jordan did not destroy the city – just the Jewish parts of it in East Jerusalem.26 historic synagogues were destroyed, Jewish homes stolen and expropriated and the population ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians.It was essentially a cease fire line.”
      A capitol is a building that houses a legislature and I don’t think Jerusalem had one in those days. Jerusalem was also not the capital of any country, which I assume is what you really meant by your remark. Not only that, Jordan and Israel never shared the city. Writing fact in upper case before a fiction doesn’t do much for your credibility, which is why I don’t intend to deal with any of the others you invented.

      Reply to Comment
    22. aristeides

      Given that the first thing the IDF did upon entering the city was to bring in bulldozers and flatten the homes of the Mughrabi Quarter and expel its residents, along with the Arab residents of the old Jewish Quarter, it’s hardly surprising that they were not welcomed with rose petals.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Leen

      @Vicky, I know which bookshop you are talking about! It’s a little piece of heaven, knowledge, literature, coffee and nice desserts 😀

      Reply to Comment
    24. XYZ

      Thank you for your remarkably frank views about Jerusalem and what it means to you. This certainly is representative of what I have seen of a lot of Left/Progressive/peace-camp attitudes towards Israel, the peace process, Israeli and world Jewry.
      Of course, I am sure you realize that not everyone agrees with you.

      Reply to Comment
    25. sh

      @Vicky & Leen, so do I. They have really good discussion evenings too.

      Reply to Comment
    26. XYZ

      Jerusalem had a majority Jewish population in Jerusalem already from the middle of the 19th century. Before 1948 Jews had a significant majority, even in the area now known as east Jerusalem. Thus, if anyone has a claim that pre-dates 1967 to the city based on population, it is the Jews, not the Arabs.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Philos

      XYZ, I can assure you that my views about Jerusalem are not representative of anyone in Israel but myself and the ghost of Titus Flavius.
      The city is a cesspool. It smells bad. It’s transportation is terrible. It abuses 1/3 of its inhabitants. It is an oppressive bastion of zealotry (Jewish, Christian and Muslim).
      If there were a God then there wouldn’t be a Jerusalem

      Reply to Comment
    28. Leen

      XYZ – Care to back it up with relevant data from a reliable academic source? Also the term Jewish here is relative, because if you are talking about Jewish Arabs, it is different than Jewish Europeans or Russians. Because I do know many Jerusalemite Palestinians who have had a Jewish great grandparents during the mandate, and they considered themselves Arabs.

      Reply to Comment
    29. aristeides

      Unfortunately for the Zionist claim, the pre-1880 Jewish population was largely Haredim, who explicitly did and still do deny the claim and the right of Jews to establish a state in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    30. XYZ

      These facts are well known:

      I presume that most people here don’t want to reopen the old “Arab Jew” argument, but I can tell you that MAYBE 5% of the Jews who emigrated from the Arab Middle East to Israel or other countries consider themselves “Arabs of the Jewish religion”, even if there is a larger group that may have sentiments to Arab culture, language and music. I have friends whose parents came from Arab countries and they laugh when I ask them if they considered themselves Arabs. The Arabs didn’t want the Jews to be part of their ethnic identity.

      The fact that the Jews of the Ottoman period may have been anti-Zionists is totally irrelevant. The large majority of the old Yishuv which was orignally anti-Zionists eventually accomodated themselves to the Zionist ideology, as do the large majority of Haredim today. You got that, A?

      Reply to Comment
    31. “I have friends whose parents came from Arab countries and they laugh when I ask them if they considered themselves Arabs. The Arabs didn’t want the Jews to be part of their ethnic identity.”
      In the book ‘After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture’, Ammiel Alcalay explores the ways in which Jews of Arab origin were stripped of their Arab identity upon their arrival in Israel, using the testimony of Arab Jewish immigrants. One woman testifies to how she and other Arab immigrants were deloused at Lod Airport, loaded into a freight train, and taken in tears to a transit camp: “Finally we reached the Sha’ar Ha’aliya camp, and we were taken in with other families, then they wrote down our names and ‘gave’ us new names. ‘Said’ became ‘Hayyim’, ‘Su’ad’ became ‘Tamar’ and I was renamed ‘Ahuva’ and so on…”
      It wasn’t other Arabs who stripped them of their Arab names and identity. The binary between Jewish and Arab identity that exists today was chiefly the product of Ashkenazi prejudice. Abba Eban makes it very clear in his views on how non-Ashkenazi immigrants ought to be handled: “The object should be to infuse the Sephardim with an Occidental spirit, rather than allow them to drag us into an unnatural Orientalism…One of the great apprehensions which afflict us…is the danger lest the predominance of immigrants of Oriental origin force Israel to equalize its cultural level with that of the neighbouring world.” Replacing Arabic names with Hebrew ones was just a natural part of this process. The process was so successful that very few Mizrahim identify as Arabs today – but that doesn’t change the fact that they once did, and that they spoke Arabic as their primary language. There was a time when you could be both Jewish and Arab, and no one saw it as a contradiction. Hopefully the shocking notion that identity doesn’t have to be so narrow and monolithic will one day be recaptured.
      Aristeides, you are oversimplifying the views of haredim. There are sizeable pockets of political Zionism in the charedi community today. That said, it’s worth pointing out that historical Jewish presence alone can’t be invoked in support for political Zionism. Being Jewish and living in Jerusalem is not enough to make you a nationalist, or a pawn for nationalists to use in advancing their cause.

      Reply to Comment
    32. aristeides

      Vicky – sure, Zionism has made some inroads among factions of the Haredim, who see the political advantage, but the argument was exactly to use that earlier population, which was nonZionist or antiZionist at this particular moment in time, as a justification for a Zionist claim on the territory.

      The views of today’s Haredim, just because they are Haredi, are immaterial in this case.

      Reply to Comment
    33. XYZ

      Your comment here is typical of the incredibly arrogant Leftist attitude, which ironically is deeply racist, which I have come to see in “Liberal/Left/Progressive” discussion groups.
      What you, the propagators of the “Arab Jew” myth do is say “everything was wonderful between Jews and Arabs, Jews in the Arab countries viewed themselves as Arabs but then suddenly the gigantic Ashkenazi Jewish/Zionist conspiracy came along and ruined it all”.
      Prof Sand also says the same….Jews were very happy as being merely a religion, they never viewed themselves as a people, but then suddenty, the gigantic Zionist/Elder of Zion conspiracy came along and pulled the wool over millions of Jews eyes and made them think, falsely, that they were a nation when REALLY, they weren’t.
      DO YOU REALLY THINK EVERYBODY IS A STUPID AND MORONIC AS YOU TRY TO MAKE US THINK THEY ARE? Your belief is that people are ignorant rabble and that anyone can come along and brainwash them, but only you, the so-called “Progressive” know the truth. SUCH ARROGANCE! Look at your language “pawn of nationalists” as if people don’t have brains and can’t think for themselves and if they can be made to forget what they have been through.
      I have spoken to Jews whose parents came from Arab countries. THEY DIDN’T CONSIDER THEMSELVES ARABS and the Arabs didn’t consider them Arabs, even if the Jews spoke Arabic.
      Do you really believe that virtually all the Jews left the Arab countries because it was really good for them but some malevolent Zionist came along and with a few tricks made them believe they were part of a Jewish nation and suddenlty invented a history of discrimination and persecution and then planted it artificially in those Jews’ brains? I have spoken to Jews whose parents came from Arab and other Islamic countries who live in the US and France and they also laugh at your “Arab Jew” myth. How did the Zionists get to them and brainwash them?
      Your racist belief that everyone except you is stupid is truly sickening but typical. Fortunately, most people see through your deliberate falsehoods and reject your haughty “progressivism” which is the new danger of totalitarianism in the world.

      Reply to Comment
    34. XYZ

      You say that the Jews of the 19th century Jerusalem weren’t Zionists. Well, the Muslims and Christians of that time and place weren’t “Palestinians”. If you told them that they were they wouldn’t know what you are talking about.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Jack


      The statement about citizenship wasnt sourced.
      I always find it weird that some people WANT to see conflicts, always look back on how bad it WAS. It seems like these people doesnt want a solution to the conflict.

      Reply to Comment
    36. XYZ,
      You have linked to a Wikipedia article dealing specifically with Egypt post-1919, and it doesn’t disprove my point. It pinpoints the mid-1930s as the time when anti-Jewish sentiment emerged in Egypt, which begs the question of what relations were like in earlier periods. You can’t use Egypt from the mid-twentieth century onwards as a snapshot of Jewish identity and belonging across the Middle East in all times and places.
      Secondly, I have never claimed that Arab Jewish existence was marvellous everywhere and at all times. It varied throughout history. In any case, the question you raised is one of identity, not overall wellbeing. Catholics in England under the Penal Laws still considered themselves to be English even when they were perceived as aliens by their neighbours and subjected to persecution, and the evidence we have suggests that it was the same for Arab Jews – the short Wikipedia segment that you linked to even contains a reference to an Egyptian Jewish youth movement operating under the banner ‘Egypt is our homeland, Arabic is our language’. And that’s just in the modern period. There’s a wealth of information in the Cairo Geniza that provides fascinating insights into how the Cairene Jewish community perceived themselves over a thousand-year period.
      I’ve been lucky enough to have access to the Geniza manuscripts at Manchester and Cambridge Universities. I don’t think I know everything there is to know about Arab Jewish history; it’s a huge topic. I don’t think that I alone ‘know the truth’. I try to read widely and to be thorough in my research. The views of Abba Eban (a prominent statesman) form only a small slice of what I could have written about the treatment of Mizrahi Jews in the early years of Israel and before. Do you dispute that these things happen, or that they had a profound effect on shaping modern Mizrahi identity?
      You misunderstood my meaning when I wrote about pawns of nationalism. I was referring to the anti-Zionist charedim whom Aristides mentioned, who lived in Jerusalem prior to 1880. Their presence is sometimes invoked by present-day political Zionists in support of retaining full Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. But the charedi residents of 1800s Jerusalem were not themselves Zionists and they didn’t see themselves as making a political statement by being in Jerusalem, so using their memory to advance a nationalist position is treating them as pawns. I’m not saying that living breathing people can’t think for themselves. These ones happen to be dead.
      You’re also misconstruing what I wrote about identity not being rigid. I didn’t say that Jews had never perceived themselves as a distinct people historically. I just said that identity isn’t monolithic, and it’s possible to feel a sense of kinship with more than one group. Historically it was not a question of either-or.

      Reply to Comment
    37. XYZ

      The existence of a Jewish_Egyptian nationalist group is not surprising, there have always been Jews who have tried by bending over backwards to prove they were good citizens of whatever country they lived in out of a feeling of an inferiority complex, just as Christians led extremist Palestinian and other Arab movements (e.g. Michel Aflaq of the Ba’ath movement) in order to prove their loyalty to the Arab nationalist cause and to bypass Muslim influence. Writer for Iraqi-Israeli writer Sami Michael waxes nostalgic of the days in Baghdad when Jewish Communists sat with Arab communists in the coffeehouses there and planned the revolution that never came. Count Anton Arco Valley killed Jewish Bavarian Prime Minister Kurt Eisner after World War I in order to prove he was a “good Aryan” even though he had Jewish blood. These anecdotal cases do not prove that Jews were accepted as good Arabs as a group.

      I most certainly have the right to “pinpoint” certain times in history because that is typical of the way things have always been regarding Jewish-Arab relations (and Jewish-gentile relations in Europe over the centuries)….good times always eventually ended by bad times.
      Jack doesn’t understand…to pretend that history is not important, and to say “why don’t we all be friends from this time forward” by having Jews give up their sovereign rights is a recipe for disaster. We can not escape the lessons of the past.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Leen

      @XYZ, I just checked the link you provided me and…
      the issue here is contentious, and as wikipedia put it, ‘Writing in 1841, the biblical scholar Edward Robinson noted the conflicting demographic estimates regarding Jerusalem during the period, stating in reference to an 1839 estimate by Sir Moses Montefiore: “As to the Jews, the enumeration in question was made out by themselves, in the expectation of receiving a certain amount of alms for every name returned. It is therefore obvious that they here had as strong a motive to exaggerate their number, as they often have in other circumstances to underrate it.”

      Therefore, as it was put, a lot of the statistics are unreliable. However I still fail to see how this means that Jerusalem is the undivided Jewish capital because as I pointed out before it is special for all 3 Abrahamic religions and I personally do not support religious supremacy and building on from historical mistakes, it seems any time one of the Abrahamic religions tried to control the holy city, it spelt disaster for the others. Which is why I do support Autonomy on religious basis.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Leen

      And XYZ, they were Palestinians. Jerusalem Post was called Palestine Post. Socialist Zionist used to put out posters saying ‘Help him build Palestine’. Denying the word or term ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinian’ only works if you are a Republican presidential candidate or someone who knows nothing about the region. For those who studied the British Mandate, the region, and Zionism know that claiming that ‘term’ didn’t exist is BS.

      Reply to Comment
    40. XYZ

      The Arabs rejected the term “Palestinian”. They said they were “Arabs” and the country was “Southern Syria”. The term “Palestinian” before 1948 meant “Jew”. The term “Nakba” was first used in the Arab media to refer to the division of the region by the British and French after World War I when Palestine was separated from Syria, because the Arabs viewed it all as one country.
      I am not saying there is no such thing as a “Palestinian people” today, if that is what they want to call themselves. I am just trying to set the record straight.

      Reply to Comment
    41. XYZ

      Regarding Jerusalem’s status in the 3 “Abrahamic faiths” it is important to remember that Jerusalem is subordinate to Mecca and Medina in Islam. It is never mentioned by name in the Qur’an . It was never the capital of any indigenous Christian or Muslim population (the Crusader “Kingdom of Jerusalem” was not indigenous). It was never the headquarters of any Christian Church.
      The ONLY people for whom Jerusalem was a capital for was the Jews. Jerusalem and its Temple Mount have special halachic (legal) religious significance which does not exist in the other two religions. Finally Jerusalem was holy to the Jews FIRST.
      Only under Jewish rule will the rights of ALL religions be guaranteed. Under British rule, Jewish rights in Jerusalem were severly restricted in order to placate the Muslims.
      Division of the city would be viewed as a massive defeat of Judaism and Christianity by the now ascendent radical Islam and radical Muslims would continually try to harrass and reduce Christian and Jewish presence in their part of the city, even challenging Palestinian Authority rule if it is not under HAMAS.
      (When Pope John Paul II attempted to conduct an open air mass in Bethlehem, Muslim radicals turned on the mosque loudspeakers in order to drown him out.-this is what would happen in Jerusalem under Muslim-Palestinian rule).
      To divide Jerusalem is to DESTROY it. This must never happen again.

      Reply to Comment
    42. XYZ

      Regarding the cultural repression that Vicky mentioned regarding the immigrants to Israel in its early years, this was a real, tragic phenomenon. However, it was not done to strip away a supposed Arab national identity and install a new Jewish one (that already was the case) but rather a way of: (1) moulding society in the way the ruling MAPAI-MAPAM-Left General Zionists wanted it, and (2) maintaining the political hegemony of those political parties by use of cultural “education” (indoctrination?).
      Prior to the modern era, the thing that bound the Jews around the world together as a people was Judaism-The Torah and the connection to Eretz Israel. The Leftist group that controlled the political system in Israel was militantly secular and they sought to replace traditional religious identity with a European Socialist culture. Also recall that many Jews were traditionally merchants, businessmen, independent artisans and the such. The ruling political clique wanted to break down these values and install an awe or respect for those of this groups, which as I said was a European socialist model. Thus, religious observance and education was discouraged for both Ashkenazim and Sefardim (but not abolished), traditional music of the eastern communities was also discouraged by refusing to play it on the state radio which was the only media that existed, in the schools students were taught to not respect their parents who were “old fashioned” but to follow the new cultural and politcal leaders who were pushed by the ruling clique..
      This indeed was tragic, causing a “kulturkampf” and much resentment which is still felt today. The SHAS movement is one manifestation of the rebellion against this state-imposed cultural hegemony. However, the ousting of this political clique which began with the victory of Begin and his Likud party in the 1977 election did bring about a process of opening up the country culturally and making it much more pluralistic.

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    43. Hostage

      All of the Judges in the lower courts, except one, refused to address the merits because they felt it touched on political matters the Constitution left to the discretion of the political branches.

      Chief Justice Roberts noted there was one exception: “Reaching the merits, Judge Edwards determined that designating Israel as a place of birth on a passport is a policy “in furtherance of the recognition power.” Id., at 1243. Because in his view the Constitution gives that power exclusively to the President, Judge Edwards found §214(d) unconstitutional. For this reason, he concluded that Zivotofsky had no viable cause of action, and concurred in affirming the dismissal of the complaint.”

      The fact is that the Supreme Court and Judge Edwards only have appellate jurisdiction and the lower court with original jurisdiction failed to rule on the merits. It’s likely that the lower courts will simply cite Supreme Court decisions like United States v Belmont, 301, US 324, 57 S Ct. 758, 81 L.Ed. 1134 (1937); which say that the President has exclusive authority to recognize or not to recognize a foreign state or government and to recognize foreign sovereignty over territory.

      That would mean that the statute was unconstitutional in the first place.

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    44. Leen

      XYZ – Can you back this up with evidence? You seem to be really be pedantic about specific terms, rather than contextualizing it. So let’s contextualize it (I’m not going to argue for ro against capital of Jews because Judaism is not my area of expertise).
      Jerusalem used to be the first qibla, secondly you are ignoring the fact that Islam is also an abrahamic faith, therefore it is strongly important to Muslims because it is strongly associated with the biblical prophets David, Solomon, Elijah and Jesus. Thirdly, Muhammad travelled to the Al-Aqsa mosque, it was the first time he prayed and it was a miracle. Therefore it is important to Muslims and Islam.
      And how can all other religions be protected?

      If anything goes, the Israeli government is currently doing a s*** job guaranteeing equal religious rights in Jerusalem.
      By the way where did you get the argument that I wanted to divide Jerusalem? I said grant it autonomy and case solved. You do know what autonomy means, don’t you?

      Once more, you are preferring one religion over the other, which is what is problematic if it was under Israeli control. Judaism is preferred over every other religion….

      Oh and of course it was important to the Jews first….. You do know Judaism came before Christianity and Islam, don’t you? Do you also know that many Christians and Muslims were also Jews? Do you also know that many Palestinians have ancestry linked to the Israeli tribes?

      Actually the village my ancestors come was from the biblical times, it had quite a big synagogue during the biblical times as well.

      Therefore, I can’t for the life of me see why does a Jew whose been out of the country for over 2000 years (and probably was a convert if we are going by Shlomo Sand’s argument here) has more of a right to this Jerusalem than I who has ancestry to the Israelite tribes, Jewish ancestors, Christian and Muslim relative, and most importantly someone who identifies as a Palestine. Please enlighten me, do I have to convert to Judaism to seal the deal?

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