September 4, 2019
News Press Release

ZOA to Trump: Allow Jerusalem-Born Americans to List “Israel” on Their Passports

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) praised the Trump administration today for considering permitting U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list “Israel” as their birthplace on their U.S. passports, and strongly urged the administration to authorize that listing as soon as possible.

In an interview published last Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Jewish News Syndicate that what can be listed on passports is “something that’s actively being looked at.”

This is an important development.  It makes perfect sense for the Trump administration to take the next step and authorize listing Jerusalem, given that in 2017, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the U.S. embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Morton A. Klein, ZOA’s National President, and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, urged the Trump administration to finally effectuate the change and permit listing “Israel” on U.S. passports:  “Americans born in Jerusalem have been without a country of birth on their passports long enough.  In 2002, a federal law gave them the legal right to identify ‘Israel’ as their birthplace on their passports.

“When the State Department refused to comply with the law, the ZOA was the only Jewish organization to file a legal action to enforce the law.  Then, for more than a decade, the ZOA supported the legal battle fought by the family of Menachem Zivotofsky and their distinguished legal team to enforce the 2002 law; we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals and two briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court.  In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the law, ruling that the president has the exclusive power to recognize a foreign sovereign.

“Now that President Trump has exercised that power and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Americans born in Jerusalem should no longer be required to remain stateless.  Allowing them to identify Israel as their birthplace on their passports is the logical next step and we urge the Trump administration to finally make this official U.S. policy.”