Friday, July 13, 2007

Continuing the theme of getting OUR OWN house in order first...

A few days ago, the Jerusalem Post wrote of a Canadian court case that upheld the ban on listing the birthplace of Canadian citizens born in Jerusalem as "Jerusalem, Israel." Feel free to read more about this case right here.

A federal policy that bans Canadians from listing Jerusalem, Israel, as their birthplace on their passport does not violate the Charter of Rights, the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.

In 2006, Eliyahu Veffer, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen born in Jerusalem, requested that the minister of foreign affairs list Israel as his country of birth on his Canadian passport. His request was rejected, and last week a three-judge panel ruled against his appeal.

"Mr. Veffer has not been discriminated against in that his human dignity has not been invaded," the judges wrote. "Mr. Veffer still maintains the freedom to express his faith and his subjectively held views as to the status of Jerusalem, he is just not able to do so in his Canadian passport."

The decision maintains that the ban on listing Israel as the birth country alongside Jerusalem is not discriminatory, despite the fact that Israel is the only country that is banned from being listed when cities in disputed territories are concerned.

It is easy to be mad at Canada. I was ready to get in line to sing the "Blame Canada" song with everyone else, but then I thought...how can I blame Canada when in fact the same situation exists in the United States? How can I blame Canada when this issue receives so little attention to begin with, and any concern about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and U.S. passports has pretty much been swept under the carpet?

I was researching this issue, and I found a wonderful article concerning the U.S. legal status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Please read this. An excerpt:

In his first campaign for the presidency, George W. Bush repeatedly promised to move the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital city of Jerusalem - a move long sought by the Jewish state.

Moreover, he said, he would do this immediately upon assuming office. He was courting the Jewish vote, to be sure - but he was also following an overwhelming mandate from Congress, where, as far back as 1995, an almost-unanimous bipartisan majority had voted in favour of the transfer.

Whether Bush's actions amount to a flip-flop is for the political pundits to decide, but it is a fact that Bush has never made good on his promise. For a president who appears to be uncompromising when it comes to refusing to coddle Palestinians, the question remains: why?

The article goes on...

Even then the department pushed a stubbornly biased policy of refusing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

One bizarre result was that U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem have never been able to carry passports showing their birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel - only Jerusalem.

The situation continues today, even after G.W. Bush signed a law explicitly to change this, because, you guessed it, Bush flip-flopped on the matter. Surprisingly, the BBC has a great article on this issue. (maybe because Bush does not look so favourable?)

There is the political will to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and change the place of birth for US citizens born in Israel (or at least was at various points during Bush's presidency). And yet, nothing happened.

The status quo remains, and yet many American Jews have the gall to blame Canada???

No. As an American, I say that we need to clean our own shop before we lecture ANYONE about theirs.

1 comment:

bec said...

I can understand why Bush is having some difficulty with committing to this when he's trying to combat terrorism.
BBC Sorry for calling Jerusalem capital of Israel
It states that "Under international law (meaning the UN? Good luck!), neither east nor west Jerusalem is considered Israel's capital. Tel Aviv is recognized as Israel's capital, pending a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians." (What does that last sentence mean? That Tel Aviv is Israel's capital only pending the fact that Israel does indeed exist? Oh, brother!)
Here's another article I found in my quest to inform myself.
BBC Rejects Jerusalem as Capital of Israel