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July 24, 2013 11:58 am

Jewish Orgs Blast Court Ruling Reversing Decision to Allow U.S. Citizens to List Jerusalem, Israel, as Official Birthplace

avatar by Zach Pontz

Old City of Jerusalem. Photo: Hoy Asmeg.

Jewish organizations in the U.S. expressed their disappointment Tuesday at a court’s ruling barring American citizens from listing on their passports Jerusalem, Israel as their place of birth.

Earlier Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously declared unconstitutional a 2002 law that required the State Department to record Israel as the birthplace of Jerusalem-born citizens despite the executive branch’s position of neutrality toward sovereignty of the disputed city.

The lawsuit was brought by Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, whose son, Menachem, was born in Jerusalem and is a U.S. citizen.

Calling the ruling “disappointing,” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman, Robert Sugarman, and Executive Vice Chairman, Malcolm Hoenlein, said, in a statement: “While it has been longstanding policy, we hope the [U.S.] Administration will reconsider the issue. Current practice in regard to the passport issue is inconsistent with legislation passed by the Congress of the United States, recognizing united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

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Likewise Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti Defamation League, said he was “deeply disappointed” in the court’s ruling.

“The court has effectively given a stamp of approval to the offensive State Department policy that singles out Israel for “special” treatment.  All other American citizens born abroad may choose to list a city or area of birth instead of a country. Even Taiwan-born U.S. citizens are permitted to identify Taiwan as their birthplace, despite protests by China, the recognized sovereign over that territory,” Foxman said.

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