Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Court throws out Jerusalem case
ZOA in the news
September 21, 2007

Court throws out Jerusalem case

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

A court said it had no jurisdiction over whether a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem may have “Israel” listed in his passport as his country of birth.

In throwing out a lawsuit brought by Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, on behalf of their son, Menachem, federal judge Gladys Kessler said that resolving the “claim on the merits would necessarily require the court to decide the political status of Jerusalem.

The case law makes clear that the Constitution commits that decision to the executive branch.” Kessler’s Wednesday ruling was in the Washington D.C. District Court was first reported Thursday in the New York Sun.

The Orthodox Union said it was “disappointed” in the ruling. “The judge was not asked to determine the status of Jerusalem, only to require the State Department to comply with the law, which is consistent with American Policy as enacted by Congress,” O.U. said in a statement. The Zionist Organization of America also issued a statement expressing its disappointment in the decision.

The case was brought under a 2002 law that allows Americans born in Jerusalem to list the city as in “Israel.” President Bush signed the law, but reserved the right to ignore it. Kessler threw the case out in 2004, and an appeals court returned it to her. Zivotofsky’s lawyers vowed another appeal.

Presidents have traditionally resisted efforts to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli, saying that such recognition would preempt Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

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