ZOA Criticizes President Obama For Again Refusing To Move U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem
June 7, 2011


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed its disappointment with President Barack Obama, for this month once again invoking the Presidential waiver on the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Obama’s notification of his use of the waiver did not include a commitment to moving the embassy at some point in the future, unlike his predecessors, Bill Clinton and Georg W. Bush, who did suggest that this may be a possibility. Obama’s actions have been praised by the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Nabil Abu Rudaineh, who said that Obama’s decision affirms that the world and the US do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (Khaled Abu Toameh, ‘PA praises Obama decision not to move embassy to J’lem,’ Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2011).


Since the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, an initiative of then-Senator Bob Dole (R-KS), U.S. law has required that the U.S. Embassy in Israel be established in Jerusalem, and over $100 million dollars was approved for the move. Failure to do so by 1999 was to have triggered severe penalties on the other constructions under the U.S. foreign aid program. But the establishment of the Embassy in Jerusalem has been postponed without penalty through the exercise of the Presidential waiver in the 1995 legislation, first by President Clinton in December 1999, and subsequently every six months by the Bush Administrations. “National security concerns,” have been consistently cited as the reason for the delay, without real explanation. Congressional resolutions and efforts to put the spotlight back on to the 1995 requirements have failed to alter the White House position. Even though Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government, it remains the only capital city designated by the host country in which the U.S. does not maintain an embassy nor fully recognize it as the capital.

“It’s now been fifteen years since the Jerusalem Embassy law has been enacted,” ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It’s deeply disappointing, and unacceptable that the will of Congress and the American people continues to be waived every six months. The legislation mandating the move of the embassy to Jerusalem became law in 1995 and was approved by over 90% of both Houses of Congress.


“The refusal of President Obama to move the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital Jerusalem actually harms the cause of peace by sending a message to Palestinian Arab terrorists and other Islamist terrorists – that their use and threat of terrorism pays and even intimidates the United States into submission to their demands. This only encourages more terrorism, because they see it works. This policy is detrimental to our international war against Islamist terrorists. It also harms Israel’s long-standing position that Jerusalem is its capital. We dare not be intimidated by terrorists.”


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