A number of US congressmen, including Republicans and Democrats, are calling on President Barack Obama to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Trent Franks

Congressman Trent Franks. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)

A group of congressmen from both sides of the political aisle are urging US President Barack Obama to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This follows a Supreme Court decision from last week that Americans born in the city of Jerusalem cannot list Israel as their birthplace on their US passports, siding with the White House in a foreign-policy power struggle with Congress.

Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus (CIAC), called Obama out on what he categorized as his anti-Israel policies. “The sad and unfortunate truth is that this president has done all he can to diminish the standing of Israel since he walked into office,” Franks said in a statement. “This administration, ever willing to bend over backwards in nuclear talks with the Iranian regime, is sending mixed and extremely dangerous messages to the rest of the world about our relationship with Israel. The president 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, since this president refuses to do so himself,” Franks charged.

In August 2013, Franks and several other congressmen submitted legislation titled “Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act,” calling on the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Franks explained that the bill was submitted in order to “hold the president to his own words that ‘Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.’ The President has made a habit of misleading the American people and his support of an undivided Jerusalem is no different.”

Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be “one of the most important ways America can send a strong signal to the world that there is no space between us and Israel,” Franks declared. “Let the President once and for all make it clear that the United States officially and unequivocally recognizes Jerusalem as the undivided capital city of the state of Israel.”

“Officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not solely an act of executive power, it is the noble act of courage and justice that comports who we are as Americans. We have assisted the Jewish people in restoring their ancient state. We must now act and recognize her restored ancient city, Jerusalem,” Franks concluded.

Disappointment and Criticism of Obama’s Policies


US embassy in Tel Aviv. (Wikipedia)

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), another CIAC co-chairman, tweeted after the court ruling that he was “disappointed” in the decision, which “struck down the right to list Israel as the birth country on the passports of Americans born in Jerusalem.”

Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ) said the decision highlights the failures of the administration’s foreign policy.

Reacting to the ruling, Alyza Lewin, who had argued the case for the Zivotofsky family and lost, stated similarly that the decision “highlights the central fallacy” of US policy on Jerusalem. “Presidents have been permitted by American public opinion to maintain, as American foreign policy, the absurd position that no country is sovereign over Jerusalem and that no part of the city, including the western portion, is in Israel,” Lewin said.

Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) took a harsher stance by accusing the administration of 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 asserted.