Jerusalem … A Capital without a Country?
Or is it: Israel … A Country without a Capital? It’s a shame that either of these two concepts should even be in the form of a question. But they are, and they must be faced head-on and answered. Any response depends entirely on whether a sovereign nation possesses the inherent right to choose its own capital; which is a reasonable presumption, or it should be. So we’ll begin with both barrels blazing and boldly assert: Of course, a sovereign state has that right! For Israeli Jews, the answer is as obvious as it would be to an American citizen who would never question whether Washington D.C. is the Capital of the United States of America … Jerusalem is the (eternal) capital of Israel.
Yet, the United States and virtually every nation on earth does NOT recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Instead, they have placed embassies in Tel Aviv; thereby, telling Israel that Tel Aviv is its seat of government, not Jerusalem. So drop the capital and the issue actually becomes: Jerusalem, a City without a Country? That is precisely how the US President and his staff, as well as most governments, classify Jerusalem—which reduces it to the same status as the Vatican … a city-state inside a country but without a country.
I wrote about this in an Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, Jerusalem … City of Peace? Published 12-27-14. That article originated from a November, 2014 agreement by the United States Supreme Court to review and rule on a decade old (lower) court struggle of whether the passport of a 12-year old Jewish boy, Menachem Zivotofsky, born in Jerusalem—whose parents (Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky) are American Citizens—could list Israel as his place of birth, rather than just Jerusalem. As indicated in that prior article, the crux of this conflict has far-reaching repercussions beyond one passport of one Jewish boy, although the issue was of vital personal importance to the Zivotofsky family.
Just this past Monday (June 8th), the Supreme Court reached its final decision, one that took longer than any other Supreme Court decision from its initial review to its final ruling (about seven months). Here are some of the headlines the day after, June 9th, 2015:
USA Today: Supreme Court sides with Obama in Israeli dispute
WND, through Prophecy News Watch article: U.S. Supreme Court Turns Its Back on Israel – Rejects Jerusalem Passport to List Country as Israel
Breaking Israel News: US Supreme Court Sides with Obama in Denying Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
Israel Hayom: United Jerusalem is eternal capital of the Jewish people
Aerial View of The Knesset … Israel’s Seat of Government Located in Jerusalem
Exactly What Did the Supreme Court Rule On?
According to U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, who commented on the ruling: “The decision was not about whether Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It was solely about the separation of powers between the executive branch (the president) and the legislative branch (the Congress) of our government, and which branch has the right to recognize foreign governments and their capitals … US policy on Jerusalem was not decided by today’s ruling. That policy has been the same under every administration since 1948—namely that the status of Jerusalem has not been decided and must be determined by negotiations.”
I beg to differ. The Supreme Court decision had everything to do with Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Shapiro was merely (barely) technically correct by saying the Supreme Court’s review was to determine whether the U.S. Congress or whether the Executive Staff has the (legal) authority to recognize foreign governments and their capitals. But that was only a derivative academic offshoot of the original case, which was the issue of the passport that was directly connected to the dispute of whether Jerusalem is Israel’s capital; or whether it is an international city that is not part of any country. There’s no getting around it. To say that the Court’s decision was “solely” about the separation of powers (Executive Branch versus Congress) is a deflection, distortion, and denial of the real controversy.
The Supreme Court ruled (6-3) in favor of the Executive Branch, despite a law passed by Congress in 2002 that required the State Department to recognize “Jerusalem, Israel” or just Israel as the birthplace on passports … for Americans born in Jerusalem (of which there have been approximately 50,000 since Israel became a State). In so doing, that Congressional act effectively recognized Jerusalem not only as an Israeli city, but also its capital.
Why can I, with a great deal of certainty, say that Shapiro was wrong when he claims that the court’s decision was solely over the quarrel of whether the Congress or the President has the greater (final) authority to recognize sovereignty of foreign countries; in this case specifically applying to passports of a U.S. Citizen born in Jerusalem … dual citizenship? Although the passport problem precipitated this extraordinary review by the Supreme Court; the long-term, overriding issue is not just about passports.
The underlying motive for the US Supreme Court’s decision to review the case, then rule on it, was all about Israel’s historical and contemporary right to declare Jerusalem as its capital. If it wasn’t about that, then why does our State Department stipulate that Jerusalem must be listed on such passports, not Israel? What difference would it make otherwise? Why would they care, unless “Israel” stamped on a passport signifies and validates Jerusalem as a (the capital) city within Israel’s national borders? Meaning if you are born in Jerusalem, then you are born in Israel.
Six members of the Supreme Court accepted the President’s position on the matter, based on an Executive brief to the Supreme Court that recognizing Jerusalem as part of Israel, “…would critically compromise the ability of the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.”
How much clearer can this be? President Obama and his staff fully intend that a Palestinian State will be created and that Jerusalem (at least the eastern half of Jerusalem) will be the capital of this state. In order for that to happen, the United States Executive Staff and now the Supreme Court has overruled the U.S. Congress (who is empowered to make such laws, with the main role of the President to enforce those rulings). At the time the bill was passed, US President George W. Bush actually signed it into law but never really enforced it, nor has President Obama. Both Presidents Bush and Obama considered the congressional act to be more of a recommendation, not the law. Really? I guess even Presidents make mistakes!
But concerning the possibility of a Palestinian State, all of this is really a moot point. Because of one monumentally significant truth and fact: Israel will never ever allow Jerusalem to be divided into two capitals. In that context, why can’t Ramallah in the West Bank be the capital of any future Palestinian State? That is the current headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. Or any city in the Gaza Strip, current headquarters of the governing authority, Hamas? I’ll tell you why. Because the Palestinians do not want Israel to exist at all, and certainly not Jerusalem as Israel’s God-given capital.
It’s equally clear that the Supreme Court’s decision was immensely influenced by and primarily predicated on the status of Jerusalem itself, not on whether the US Congress or the Executive Staff has the authority to declare recognition of foreign nations or passports. Frankly, I’m amazed that the Supreme Court even agreed to take this case in the first place. But once they did, they missed a golden opportunity to acknowledge and affirm the right of Israel to determine its own capital. In fact, some members of the Supreme Court gave away their true intentions early on by voicing their real motives when they agreed to review the case.
Inside the Knesset
Evidence Confirming the Real Reason for the Supreme Court’s Review and Decision
The following is a quote from my previous article in which I refer to Justice Elena Kagen, one of the liberal members of the Supreme Court. In light of the ruling, it’s quite evident that five other members shared her sentiments to some extent or another … as shown in the recent 6-3 decision. As noted, this observation of Ms. Kagen reveals the (hidden) agenda that most members of the Supreme Court had when they ruled in favor of President Obama’s viewpoint and effectively against Israel and tens of thousands of American Jews born in Jerusalem. With the ultimate consequence of once again denying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Said Justice Kagen several months ago soon after the Supreme Court agreed to review the case:
“Right now, Jerusalem is a tinderbox. History suggests that everything is a big deal with respect to the status of Jerusalem.”
Her rationale reverberated and regurgitated what the State Department had said in that same brief to the Supreme Court, “…a simple passport alteration could provoke uproar throughout the Arab and Muslim world.”
God forbid that the Arab Muslim world should be provoked like that!
She made it clear that her vote (it’s obvious now, but even then, that she had already made up her mind) would be conditioned on the politically correct need to elude any further strife in the Middle East; which, in essence, would trump the real issue of whether Israel had the right as a sovereign state to declare Jerusalem as its capital. Thus, a vote to support the Congressional Act in 2002 would be tantamount to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which would only make things worse in the Middle East.
The politically correct world view of six Supreme Court justices and their ensuing decision hinged on one perceived urgency: Whatever it takes, don’t increase the tensions in the Middle East that already exist.
Here is an excerpt of my response to her observations as quoted from the previous article, Jerusalem … A City of Peace, which is even more pertinent now that the decision is in.
That part, she got right … mostly. Jerusalem is a big deal, unlike any other city in the world. But when in our time was Jerusalem not a tinderbox? I can tell you with a great deal of historically factual evidence to back me up: NEVER has Jerusalem since Israel’s rebirth in 1948 not been a powder keg ready to explode.
If anyone carefully examines the wars that Israel has fought since her national birth, the incidents of intifada terror that has killed and maimed thousands of Israelis, or just the daily stream of hate-filled verbiage from the mouths of Muslim leaders and much of the Palestinian people, they would realize that the level of tension really can’t get any higher. Meaning that when Muslim armies, terror groups, and lone wolf assassins decide it’s time to strike, that’s exactly what they do. They may cite a particular incident or problem, but it’s always just an excuse to do what they were going to do anyway. The balloon is always full of enough air to burst. The string is always tight enough to break.
I also said: Why is Jerusalem disputed as part of Israel … as Israel’s Capital? More specifically, who or what entitles the United States State Department or the Supreme Court or any other country or even global institutions like the United Nations to determine whether any city of any country qualifies as its Capital? Isn’t that the inherent sovereign right of a nation … to choose its capital?
…Jerusalem was the headquarters (Capital) of the ancient kings of Israel, and the self-governing land (State) of Israel was given to the Jews by God, himself. That is reason enough.
But there’s also a modern-day affirmation when the United Nations voted in November, 1947 to grant statehood rights to Israel; then later recognized the sovereign State of Israel after her declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948. Even though east Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank was under Jordanian jurisdiction in 1948, all of Jerusalem was captured in the remarkable Six-Day War victory of Israel over the same nations that tried to annihilate Israel and the Jews in the brutal attack on Israel on May 15, 1948—the day after Israel became a nation.
What if all the nations on earth (or just one of those countries) refused to recognize Washington D.C. as America’s Capital? Choosing, for example, New York City because the United Nations is headquartered there. What do you think our President and the State Department would do about that? Or Congress, or the Supreme Court?
Again, I must ask: Since when does the world family of nations (most practically represented by the United Nations) dictate to individual countries which city will be its Capital? Isn’t that the exclusive right of the nation itself? What if the United States decided that it would no longer recognize London as Great Britain’s Capital, but chooses Manchester instead? Or Marseille instead of Paris? St Petersburg instead of Moscow? Barcelona over Madrid? Most likely, those nations would immediately sever diplomatic relations with America.
But that’s exactly what our Executive Branch through the State Department has done with Jerusalem. They have refused to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital; choosing instead by official state policy to consider Jerusalem as a city unto itself. A city that, for all practical purposes, belongs to the world; or at least to the world’s three main religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A city that is still up for grabs (literally), with its destiny to be determined by … by who knows what. By another failed peace plan, by another war, by unilateral declaration from the Palestinians that Jerusalem belongs to them, by Israel’s (rightful) annexation of the Temple Mount and all of East Jerusalem?
Let’s return for a moment to Ambassador Shapiro’s statement that the Court’s decision was “solely” over whether the State Department or the US Congress has the authority to: recognize foreign governments and their capitals. Do you see the fallacy in his conjecture? When he said, “recognize foreign governments”, he should have stopped there. But he went on to say, “…and their capitals.”
Since when has the United States ever recognized the sovereignty of a foreign nation without accepting whatever city the nation designated as its capital? I haven’t looked it up, but believe I can say with a great deal of certainty: NEVER. Except, that is, for Jerusalem. When Israel became a sovereign nation in 1948, she chose (reaffirmed the historical record) Jerusalem as the capital of the reborn Jewish nation; even though part of eastern Jerusalem was conceded to Jordanian regulation, including Temple Mount.
If Palestinian Arabs had any historically viable religious or political attachment to or concern for Jerusalem, then why is Jerusalem not once mentioned in the Koran? Any former Arab association with Jerusalem (during the rise of Islam) was to make sure the Jews didn’t live there (in great numbers) or claim it as the Holy City of Israel. That’s why they built the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, where the Jewish Temple once stood.
The US Executive Staff Refuses to Acknowledge the Real Issues
President Obama will not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital because he contends that Jerusalem must be part of the negotiations for a Palestinian State. Knowing full well of Israel’s solemn promise to her people … that Jerusalem is the ONE thing that cannot be negotiated. That Jerusalem always has been and always will be Israel’s undivided capital city, not just West Jerusalem. In actuality, there is no such thing as West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem … that is what the rest of the world thinks and refers to. Some Israelis refer to east and west Jerusalem only because virtually the entire world does so.
Thus, President Obama and many heads of states are simply refusing to accept Israel’s right (as a sovereign nation) to name Jerusalem as its capital. As said earlier, what would our President do if, for example, France refused to accept Washington D.C. as America’s capital? Do you think we would permit France to place their embassy in New York City? Or meet with their ambassadors in Boston? I think not. But that is exactly what our State Department expects of Israel. It gives a whole new meaning to the term, Double Standard.
And let’s not forget the Jewish family involved in this historical Supreme Court decision. What a heart-breaking result for them. The family’s attorneys said: “Presidents (US) 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 of Jerusalem, is in Israel.”
Then a statement directly from the Jewish boy’s father Ari Zivotofsky: “We are truly disappointed and surprised. The ruling is significant, because it reveals U.S. policy—it doesn’t consider even west Jerusalem to be part of Israel. It greatly disturbs us that the U.S. does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.”
Menachem Zivotofsky and His Father, Ari
Followed by Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Ekin’s comment: “United Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and will remain so forever. I call on the (Obama administration) to adopt the congressional legislation, a simple fact that is the cornerstone of Jewish heritage.”
And then Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat: “Just like Washington is the capital of the U.S. and Paris is the capital of France, Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of Israel.” (Which is the analogy I used in my previous article).
This last quote should preclude anyone, especially a U.S. citizen, from an overreaction to what they might consider the brash, unwarranted (who do you think you are) statement from Zivotofsky’s attorneys when they said that U.S. Presidents (based on public opinion) had adopted the “absurd position that no country is sovereign over Jerusalem.” I suppose the statement could have been toned down a bit. Yet the attorney was simply telling the truth by inferring that the American public (and so should our Presidents) would not tolerate and would consider it absurd if other nations decided that Washington D.C. was not the sole, undivided capital of the United States. Conversely, that the United States should extend individual and national diplomatic courtesy by recognizing Jerusalem as the (undivided) capital of Jerusalem.
Following the American Civil War, can you imagine that, after winning the war, the United States (northern states) agreed to cede the southern half of Washington D.C. to the Confederacy as the Confederate capital? For that matter, to even allow the Confederate States to exist as isolated states in a separate Union? Or for the first United States Congress or Executive Staff to do the same with Great Britain after their hard-fought victory in the Revolutionary War? Would the word, absurd, come to mind?
But that is exactly what the United States expects of Israel. I repeat for emphasis: Exactly.
The question of whether the Congress or the President has rightful authority over diplomatic recognition of foreign nations (and their capitals … which is the same thing as the nation itself), is mostly irrelevant. I personally believe Congress has this prerogative, but I wouldn’t take much issue at all over the dissenting opinion that this right belongs to the Executive Branch. Instead, the fundamental and destiny-determining issue before the United States Government, nations the world over, and you and me is the right of Israel (not US constitutional rights) to declare Jerusalem as its capital … seat of government.
What about Israel’s rights?! Or the right of any foreign nation to name its capital? That’s the decisive and divisive issue in front of us.
But since the Supreme Court has sided with the Presidency, then what about the fact that no sitting U.S. President has ever recognized a foreign country as a sovereign nation, without (default) acceptance of that nation’s capital. For that reason alone, Jerusalem is unprecedented in the annals of U.S. foreign policy; thus, the Supreme Court shouldn’t have been involved in such a decision. Particularly, when the United States Congress passed a law that granted Israeli citizenship and passport rights to Americans born in Jerusalem. By constitutional mandate, the US President is obligated to enforce this law (any law) passed by the Congress which represents the people of the United States of America.
In fact, that’s pretty much what Chief Justice John Roberts, one of the three dissenting votes, said. I quote: “Today’s decision is a first. Never before has this court accepted a president’s direct defiance of an act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs.”
United States Supreme Court Justices
So if the Supreme Court is going to evade the real reason for their review and decision (status of Jerusalem), the least they could have done was to acknowledge the fact that the ruling should have been whether the Executive Branch can refuse to uphold a law enacted by the Congress of the United States. (Either they do or they don’t). Or, putting it another way: Does the President have the right to ignore, circumvent, or defy an act of Congress after the fact? Because the fact is: President George W. Bush didn’t veto the bill. Rather he signed it, with the implicit understanding and obligation that the Executive Branch would enforce it.
Thus, the problem isn’t who has the authority to recognize foreign nations (save that for another bill for another day). Nevertheless, the Supreme Court ruled that this Congressional Act was unconstitutional; despite the fact that President Bush signed it into law. It’s like the Supreme Court was protecting the Executive Branch from itself … from a poor decision to approve an Act of Congress!
God bless the USA should be followed by, God help this country.
The actual argument is what the case was all about in the first place … Jerusalem as not only a city of Israel, but also its capital. Does Jerusalem belong to Israel?
If anyone, including presidents, prime ministers, parliaments, congresses, and individuals on the planet say No, then they are denying one or more of the following: (1) that all Sovereign Nations have the inalienable right to declare any city in its borders as its capital. (2) Jerusalem is legally and territorially part of Israel, a Sovereign State with boundaries that border Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt; as opposed to non-existent internal boundaries with an equally non-existent Palestinian State. (3) That Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War in which she regained control (control, not ownership—as Jerusalem already belonged to Israel) was invalid. Meaning that Israel had no right to defend herself or recapture and assume control over a city that belonged to them in the first place.
(4) Most important of all: The ancient, but timeless promissory covenant deed initiated by the one true God for the Jews. That Israel (much larger than modern-day borders) would be given to the Jews as an everlasting inheritance. Non-negotiable!
“After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, ‘Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession … Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you’” (Genesis 13:14-17). Later, these boundaries were specified in more than one Bible passage, including an amazing detailed description requiring seven chapters (Joshua 13 through 19).
Three thousand years ago, King David made Jerusalem what we in modern terms call the capital of Israel. There are many Bible passages that undeniably show Jerusalem as the geopolitical, cultural, and religious center of Israel … thus, its capital. Jerusalem and its companion name, Zion, can be found hundreds of times in Scripture. Whereas, Jerusalem is not mentioned even ONE time in the Koran. That alone should tell us to whom Jerusalem belongs, and who has the right to declare it their capital.
How strange: If children of American Jews were born in any other city of Israel, their passports would show, Israel, as their place of birth. For that matter, other than Jerusalem, what other passport the world over shows just the city of birth? Easy answer: None. It’s always the country (including the state if a USA passport) of birth. My passport shows, Kansas, USA. When I displayed my passport to Israeli officials during my trip to Israel in 2006, no one asked me what city of Kansas I was born in.
How ironically repulsive: the stamp of Jerusalem on a passport for someone born in Jerusalem is both a real and symbolic denial that Israel’s Holy City is even part of Israel, let alone its capital.
Example of USA Passport for Someone Born in Jerusalem
Things to Ponder
A little history lesson: “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob (Israel) is the allotment of His inheritance … He encircled him (Jacob or Israel), He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of his eye” (Deuteronomy 32:8-10, NASB, italics for emphasis).
*Note: The italicized words in the Complete Jewish Bible are translated, “…according to Israel’s population.” This means that God—in his infinite wisdom, plan, and fairness—selected a very small part of the earth for the Jews (Israel), based on what he knew would be a (comparative) proportion of Israel’s population to the rest of the world.
And a reminder that the following will take place (soon) when Messiah returns to rescue Israel and Jerusalem … to protect the pupil (apple) of his eye:
“Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem, says the Lord. And I will be the glory inside the city … After a period of glory, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me (Messiah) against the nations who plundered you. For he said, ‘Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession. (NASB reads, touches the apple of His eye) I will raise my fist to crush them … Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.’ The Lord says, ‘Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me (Messiah) to you.’ The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling” (Zechariah 2:5-13).
Click on the video. Clap, move, dance, rejoice with Jerusalem. The chorus contains, kulano b’simcha, which means, “all of us in joy.”