U.S. Supreme Court Could Decide Nation Status of Jerusalem
My children were born in Jerusalem—to be precise, in West Jerusalem. As dual citizens, they each have an Israeli passport and an American one. In the Israeli documents, their birthplace is listed as Israel. On their U.S. passports, on the line for place of birth, “Jerusalem” appears instead of the name of a country. They applied for their passports at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem—which, unusually enough, is not under the auspices of an embassy but reports directly to Washington. The United States does not recognize Jerusalem as being a de jure part of any country.
Occasionally, I get a chuckle out of the absurdity of this policy. But then, I think of the pride and wonder that my great-grandfather—who lived and died under the czar, in the condition called golus, exile, in Yiddish—would feel if he saw “Place of birth: Jerusalem” in his descendants’ passports. Who could possibly object to being identified as being born in Jerusalem?
Quite a few people. Next Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, capping an 11-year legal battle by the parents of Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky to have “Israel” rather than “Jerusalem” listed as his place of birth. A host of organizations have filed amicus curiae briefs. If the present American policy is peculiar, it doesn’t begin to match the absurdities—not to mention the recklessness—of the lawsuit and the law on which it is based.