‘No Change in Policy’: State Department Will Not Indicate ‘Israel’ on Passports of Americans Born in Jerusalem


WASHINGTON, DC — The State Department confirmed to Breitbart News on Wednesday that despite President Donald Trump’s historic and formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will not indicate “Israel” on passports of United States citizens who were born in Jerusalem.

Currently, U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem have “Jerusalem” listed on their passport.

In an email to Breitbart News, the State Department wrote, “As you point out and has been stated by others, there is no change in policy at this time. We will provide any new guidance as and when appropriate.”

During a special briefing at the State Department, the day after Trump’s historic recognition, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs David M. Satterfield stated, “There has been no change in our policy with respect to consular practice or passport issuance at this time.” Satterfield added, “With respect to maps, we are, of course, examining that issue, and when we have a decision, we will announce it with respect to how we will treat Jerusalem for official USG-produced mapping purposes.”

During that same briefing, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked Satterfield, “What country is Jerusalem in?” Satterfield did not say, “Israel.” Instead, he said, “The president recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.” Lee pressed further: “Does that mean, then, that the U.S. government officially recognizes that Jerusalem municipality lies within the state of Israel?” Satterfield replied, “There has been no change in our policy with respect to consular practice or passport issuance at this time, which is what I think you are raising.”

On Twitter last week, Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, stated that the State Department’s refusal to allow Israel to be listed as the place of birth on passports of American citizens born in Jerusalem “does NOT faithfully implement the President’s policy to enact the tenets of the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Passports should say ‘Jerusalem, Israel’!”

The Supreme Court found in their 2015 ruling for Zivotofsky v. Kerry, that “the President has the exclusive power to grant formal recognition to a foreign sovereign” and “Where, as here, the President’s action is ‘incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress,’ the President ‘can rely [for his authority] only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter.'”

Currently, there is no contradiction between Congress and the president on this matter. However, the State Department’s refusal to list Israel on passports of Americans born in Israel appears to contradict the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), penned an op-ed in which he noted:

Because the U.S. president had not yet recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the time of the Zivotofsky decision, at the request of the U.S. State Department, a majority of the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that authorized U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to have “Israel” listed as their birthplace on their passports and consular documents (Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, a/k/a the “Jerusalem passport law”).

President Trump’s recognition changes the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Klein noted that, in his dissenting opinion on the Zivotofsky v. Kerry ruling, the late Justice Antonin Scalia — who was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito — explained:

Recognition is more than an announcement of a policy. Like the ratification of an international agreement or the termination of a treaty, it is a formal legal act with effects under international law.  It signifies acceptance of an international status, and it makes a commitment to continued acceptance of that status and respect for any attendant rights.

It remains to be seen whether and when the State Department will align with the president and Congress on this topic.

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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