Day After DNC Jerusalem Fiasco, State Department Still Refuses to Name Israel’s Capital

September 6, 2012 8:48 pm 12 comments

Patrick Ventrell. Photo: lhrtimes.

A day after the Democratic party rammed through an amendment to its platform to retain its previous reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell  refused to acknowledge the city as the capital of Israel upon being questioned  by a reporter.

Below is a transcript of the exchange that took place today at around noon during the State Department daily press briefing.

QUESTION: On Israel?

MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: Which city does the U.S. Government recognize as the capital in the – Israel?

MR. VENTRELL: Well, as you know, longstanding Administration policy, both in this Administration and in previous administrations across both parties, is that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. So that’s longstanding Administration policy and continues to be so.

QUESTION: I mean, no city is recognized as a capital by the U.S. Government?

MR. VENTRELL: Again, I just stated our position, and it’s one we’ve said here many times before.

QUESTION: That means Jerusalem is not a part of Israel?

MR. VENTRELL: What it means is that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in final status negotiations.

QUESTION: But you do have an Embassy in a city which is not Jerusalem.

MR. VENTRELL: Our Embassy is in Tel Aviv, and we have a Consulate General in Jerusalem.

QUESTION: Right. But I mean, if you have an Embassy, usually it’s in the capital; so therefore, it would appear that you believe that Tel Aviv is the capital.

MR. VENTRELL: What we believe is that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in final status negotiations between the two parties. And currently, our Embassy is in Tel Aviv.

QUESTION: Are there any other countries in the world where the U.S. doesn’t know what the capital is or won’t say what the capital of a country is?

QUESTION: What does the U.S. think the capital of Israel is? What do you –

MR. VENTRELL: As I’ve just said, we believe that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status –

QUESTION: I’m not asking you that question. I’m asking you what you think the capital is.

MR. VENTRELL: And my response is that Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations.

QUESTION: She didn’t ask about Jerusalem, though.

MR. VENTRELL: Look, this is something we’ve been through at this podium. Toria has been through it before. We’ve repeated it many times. You know what the position is. It hasn’t changed for decades.

QUESTION: Wait, I know that. And I don’t want to play the verbal game, I’m just very curious if you actually have a position about a capital of that country. And if you don’t, if – I just would like to hear you say you don’t.

MR. VENTRELL: Well, right now, Nicole –

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. VENTRELL: — the situation is that we have an Embassy in Tel Aviv that represents our interests with the Government of Israel but that the issue of Jerusalem is one that has to be resolved between the two parties. That’s all I can say on this.

Anything else? Thank you.

12 Comments

  • There’s nothing new.
    The State departments has been – at least since the early ’20 of the XX Cent. – profoundly antisemitic and hostile to Israel since its inception.
    Just check the well documented book by none other than John Loftus (who is not Jewish), called: “The Secret War Against The Jews”.
    There’s nothing new also in certain “rabbis” a-la S.S. Wise and court Jews of all kinds, to stoop as low as they can to please their masters: they did it in the ’40s in front of Roosevelt’s antisemitism and adamant refusal to do ANYTHING to stop the extermination of the Jews of Europe. S.S. Wise did all he could to hide Auschwitz and making sure it was not part of the public discourse (I got this ALSO first hand from Fred Kahan’s wife Rose who knew him from close-by and said to me that “Fred stopped talking to him after what he did in the ’40s to hide what was happening to the Jews”).

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Embassy_Act

    The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995[1] is a public law of the United States passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. It was passed for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999, and attempted to withhold 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the State Department specifically for ‘‘Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad’’ as allocated in fiscal year 1999 until the United States Embassy in Jerusalem had officially opened.[2] The act also called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. Israel’s declared capital is Jerusalem, but this is not internationally recognized, pending final status talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United States has withheld recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate (93–5),[3] and the House (374–37).[4]

    Since passage, the law has never been implemented, because of opposition from Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who view it as a Congressional infringement on the executive branch’s constitutional authority over foreign policy; they have consistently claimed the presidential waiver on national security interests.

  • Fredric M. London

    This is just the continuation of the Obama administration’s dislike of Israel. How can you not have a capital of a country? Even if, G-d forbid, Israel cedes some of Jerusalem to the Arabs, some of it has always been a part of Israel, and is Israel’s capital. Therefore a straightforward and HONEST answer should be that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, whatever part of it that is in Israel. Anything less is total disrespect. Perhaps the questioning was provocative, but this could have easily been deflated with an honest answer instead of blatant dissembling.

    • Ditto. Interestingly enough while I lived and worked in Israel 1954-56 I received a visit from someone from the American Embassy coming from Jerusalem I lived in Tel Aviv. He tried to scare me that my American scitizenship could be removed because they claimed I worked for the Israeli government, helping Iraqi immigrants . I had to swear that I had not applied for Israeli citizenship and that I had never voted in an Israeli election. I had done neither so they left me alone, however a friend of mine lost his American citizenshipp for fighting for Israel in the war of Independence, In order to see his American parents he had to visit with them in Canada and he had to apply for immigration status for him to go to US.

  • Rabbi Joe Black

    I think the line of questioning was deliberately provocative. We all know that the official US policy is to state that Jerusalem should be the capital – but to wait until final status negotiations take place to officially move the embassy from Tel Aviv. If the US Government was hostile to Israel, if our financial support was lacking, if we did not stand up for Israel in the UN, then, perhaps, badgering this spokesperson would prove a point. Nothing has changed. The current administration’s policy is no different that the previous ones. Your headline is disengenuous. I would expect better.

    • Jennifer Lambert

      Hypothetically, what if the change in the Democratic platform from 2008 to 2012 went unnoticed? That both
      G-d and reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel were not re-introduced, rather remained omitted? How can one honestly say that there has not been a fundamental shift in the party’s regard for both G-d and Israel?

    • Come on Rabbi. Our staunchest ally is Israel, and you actually condone this obamaist, leftist state dept.’s non mention of Jerusalem being Israels capital?! That is incredibly sad and cowardly of you.

    • And I would expect someone with rabbi in front of his name to be more loyal to Israel, than to the liberal Jew hating administration. This is the United States of America, this twit Ventrell works for the American People not CEO Obama, and they need to start getting that in their pretentious heads. No question about the policy of our leaders is ever provocative, and if you really feel that way, maybe you should consider moving to a country more in line with your way of thinking like Cuba or Venezuela .

    • The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995[1] is a public law of the United States passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. It was passed for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999, and attempted to withhold 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the State Department specifically for ‘‘Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad’’ as allocated in fiscal year 1999 until the United States Embassy in Jerusalem had officially opened.[2] The act also called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. Israel’s declared capital is Jerusalem, but this is not internationally recognized, pending final status talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United States has withheld recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate (93–5),[3] and the House (374–37).[4]

      Since passage, the law has never been implemented, because of opposition from Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who view it as a Congressional infringement on the executive branch’s constitutional authority over foreign policy; they have consistently claimed the presidential waiver on national security interests.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Embassy_Act

  • The American stance that we’re made to cope with today, is a consequence of years of incoherent Israeli policies.

    Notwithstanding that foreign-aid plays a big roll here, America cannot be expected to fight for an incompetent entity that will not exercise its fundamental rights to ensure its existence, in a manner that any other reasonable government would.

    Since inception, Israel has been engaged in policies that were aimed more towards earning the forgiveness of its repeat-aggressors by means of senseless concessions, than it was towards defeating them.

    To rectify this and earn the respect it needs from the world, Israel must act in an opposite manner, and do so consistently.

    • In the December 10, 2011 Iowa debate, this is how Governor Romney responded to Speaker Gingrich who said the Palestinians are an invented people; terrorists dedicated to Israel’s destruction:

      GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:22:08:47:00 And therefore, before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, “Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do? Let’s work together, because we’re partners.” I’m not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally…

      At the Republican convention a couple of weeks back, Romney Surrogate, Sen. Jim Talent, muscled into our national party platform language calling for the establishment of a Palestinian-enemy state in Israel’s heartland. Romney surrogate Talent did this over the strenuous objections of conservatives on the platform writing committee who said we should be like the democrats who support another terror state in the Middle East. Do you think Governor Romney got on the phone to his good friend “Bibi” before he did this?

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