Considering the fact that Jews have been saying, “Next year in Jerusalem” for the last 20 centuries, it’s no surprise that Jerusalem was declared Israel’s capital in 1950. And the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, “passed by overwhelming bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate,” states that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”
We have now passed the 13th anniversary of that Congressional deadline, and yet our embassy remains in Tel Aviv (along with the embassies of virtually all other countries that recognize the State of Israel). How has this happened? As noted on the United with Israel website, “since the congressional act allows the President to implement a waiver at six-month intervals, that’s exactly what has happened every six months since 1995.”
But why? Why pass the Jerusalem Embassy Act – note that word “Embassy” – in such overwhelming, bipartisan fashion and then not move the embassy? Even Ron Paul, not known as a staunch supporter of Israel, once said, “If Israel wants their capital to be Jerusalem, then the United States should honor that. How would we like it if some other nation said, ‘We decided to recognize New York City as your capital instead, so we will build our embassy there’?”
In 2008, candidate Obama declared that any agreement with the Palestinians “must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state with secure, recognized, defensible borders. And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.”
In July, candidate Romney declared, “A nation has the capacity to choose its own capital city, and Jerusalem is Israel's capital. I think it’s long been the policy to ultimately have our embassy in the nation's capital of Jerusalem.” And now, both party platforms reaffirm Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
So why not move the embassy? Mr. Obama (or Mr. Romney), will you do it? If not, why not?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 22 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire. Follow him atAskDrBrown on Facebookor @drmichaellbrownon Twitter.
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