An Enduring Fiction About Jerusalem
What concerns me is the widespread assumption that a U.S. decision to state openly that Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center is located in Israel could lead to a collapse of the already-collapsing peace process or, worse, bloodshed across the Middle East.
2 Apr 23, 2014 2:19 PM EDT
By Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg
In 2002, at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, an American citizen named Naomi Zivotofsky gave birth to another American citizen, Menachem Zivotofsky.
It is the strong belief of both Naomi and her husband, Menachem’s father, Ari, that the Shaare Zedek Medical Center is located in the state of Israel. It was fairly easy for the Zivotofskys to discern that Shaare Zedek is located in the state of Israel. Maps — neutral maps, not maps produced by the Perfidious Zionist Entity — clearly show it to be in the state of Israel. When you walk outside Shaare Zedek, you are quite obviously in the state of Israel. Israel’s principal Holocaust memorial is half a mile away. Its main military cemetery is close as well. Israel’s parliament sits two miles away, as does the office of its prime minister. Since the rebirth of the Jewish state, in 1948, the land under Shaare Zedek has been part of Israel.
So when the Zivotofskys received Menachem’s U.S. passport, they were disturbed to see that his birthplace was listed as simply “Jerusalem,” not “Jerusalem, Israel.” This was not a clerical error. It is the belief of the executive branch of the U.S. government that Israel’s claim of sovereignty to any part of Jerusalem is in dispute. The long-held view is that Jerusalem’s final disposition will have to await the outcome of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Zivotofskys disagree with this view, and so does Congress, which in 2002 enacted a law that demanded that the executive branch record the births of such Americans as Menachem Zivotofsky as taking place in “Jerusalem, Israel,” should the parents ask for this designation. But the State Department has refused to respect this demand.
The Zivotofskys sued, and, after years of litigation, the Supreme Court has decided to hear their case. The court will be ruling on whether Congress has the power to override the executive branch’s foreign-policy decisions. This is a fascinating, and possibly momentous, question, but it is not my question today.