Donald Trump
Donald Trump Reuters

The Zionist Organization of America called on the US State Department this week to change its policy vis-à-vis Jerusalem in light of President Donald Trump’s declaration that the US would recognize the city as Israel’s capital and would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

A day after the announcement, the US State Department downplayed the move, adding that it had not altered its policy regarding government documents provided to US citizens born in Jerusalem. For decades, the US has listed the place of birth of individuals born in Jerusalem simply as “Jerusalem”, with no country listed.

“At this time, there are no changes to our current practices regarding place of birth on Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and U.S. Passports,” the State Department told The Associated Press last week.

“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.”

The statement was issued despite claims by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the department would “immediately begin” implementing President Trump’s decision, including the relocation of the US embassy.

"The State Department will immediately begin the process to implement this decision by starting the preparations to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis (Fl-6) criticized the State Department over the refusal to alter its policy, tweeting “This does NOT faithfully implement the President’s policy to enact the tenets of the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Passports should say ‘Jerusalem, Israel’!”

This week, the ZOA released a statement calling on the State Department to implement the president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) urges the U.S. State Department to rescind their proclamation not to act in conformance with President Donald Trump’s …declaration… formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

The ZOA noted that as per the US Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the State Department is obliged to adhere to the president’s decisions vis-à-vis recognition.

“The Secretary [of State] will not list a sovereign that contradicts the President’s recognition policy in a passport,” the 5-4 ruling determined. “The power to recognize foreign states resides in the President alone.”