February 5, 2021
News Press Release

ZOA Praises U.S. Senate for Passing Amendment to COVID Budget Res. to Keep the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, Chair Mark Levenson, Esq., and Director of Government Relations Dan Pollak released the following statement:

The ZOA strongly praises and gives our heartfelt thanks to Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) for introducing an amendment to the COVID-19 Budget Resolution to keep the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. We likewise strongly praise and give our heartfelt thanks to the 97 bi-partsan senators who voted to overwhelmingly pass this amendment. The ZOA also thanks the Amendment’s co-sponsors: Senators John Barrasso (R-WY); Roy Blunt (R-MO); Bill Cassidy (R-LA); John Cornyn (R-TX); Kevin Cramer (R-ND); Ted Cruz (R-TX); Steve Daines (R-MT); Jodi Ernst (R-IA); Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Chuck Grassley (R-IA); Josh Hawley (R-MO); James Lankford (R-OK); Cynthia Lummis (R-WY); Roger Marshall (R-KS); Jerry Moran (R-KS); Marco Rubio (R-FL); Tim Scott (R-SC); Thom Tillis (R-NC); and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

The U.S. Embassy was finally moved to Jerusalem by former President Trump in May of 2018. This move occurred twenty-three years after Congress passed the bi-partsan Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 almost unanimously. This Jerusalem Embassy Act declared that: “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel”; that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government; that “the city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism”; and that “In 1996, the State of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry.” The Jerusalem Embassy Act further declared that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel” and that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” 

Senator Inhofe stated, when he and Senator Hagerty introduced the amendment:

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and I am proud to introduce legislation to protect the U.S. Embassy from relocation or being downgraded. It was an honor to see the U.S. Embassy moved to its rightful location in Jerusalem in 2018 after over 20 years of bi-partisan effort and Sen. Hagerty and I are clear in our efforts to ensure it stays there. Israel is a true friend to the United States and I look forward to many more years of friendship.”

Senator Hagerty also stated:

The Trump Administration kept its promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish State of Israel, and it should remain there. As former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, I know how important it is to recognize the core concerns of our allies, and it was a travesty that our government ignored U.S. law and declined to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for so many decades.”

(See video of their full remarks on the Senate floor here.)

Sadly, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) opposed this amendment. Their opposition is particularly outrageous because President Biden has often stated that the U.S. will not be relocating the embassy as long as he is President. It is blatant discrimination to deny the right of only the Jewish State to designate her own capital city, when every other nation in the world does so. As the Jerusalem Embassy Act declared: “Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.” 

It is now 3,024 years since King David entered Jerusalem to make it the capital of the Jewish kingdom. Throughout subsequent dispersions, the Jewish people maintained a presence in Jerusalem – some of us physically, and the remainder in our hearts and prayers. Jerusalem is at the heart of the Land of Israel, and the holiest city to the Jewish people. Jerusalem has been the capital only of Israel. It has never been the capital of any other country. The majority of people living in Jerusalem, at least since the first census was taken in the mid-1800s, have been Jews.

Shortly before the U.S. Embassy was moved to Jerusalem, ZOA President Morton Klein testified in Congress about Jerusalem’s long Jewish history, the legal imperatives for the move, and the benefits of the move for America and for Middle East peace. Mr. Klein testified that placing the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem strengthens American security and enhances worldwide respect for America, by demonstrating the U.S. can be counted on to keep her commitments to her allies, and that America will not be intimidated and show weakness by appeasing radical Islamist threats.