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US Appeals Court Rejects 'Jerusalem, Israel' on Passport

A US appeals court rejected an attempt by an American couple to have their son's birthplace listed as "Jerusalem, Israel" on his US passport.
Palestinians wave Palestinian flags as Israeli youths celebrating Jerusalem Day gather in front of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City May 8, 2013. Jerusalem Day marks the anniversary of Israel's capture of the Eastern part of the city during the 1967 Middle East War. In 1980, Israel's parliament passed a law declaring united Jerusalem as the national capital, a move never recognised internationally. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY) - RTXZEXA

The case before the US Court of Appeals in Washington involved whether an American couple could register their son as being born in “Jerusalem, Israel.” Challenging the US State Department in the suit were, in addition to the child’s parents, were a number of major prominent US Jewish organizations — including the Anti-Defamation League, Zionist Organization of America, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and American Jewish Committee — and six members of the US Senate. 

In question in Zivotofsky v. Secretary of State was the decades-old practice of registering "Jerusalem" as the country of birth of all Americans born in that city after 1948, whether Jewish or Arab. Specifically, the case questions why the US State Department has chosen to ignore Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, fiscal year 2003, if the citizen or his guardian so requests it. The three-judge appeals court panel noted in its July 23 unanimous decision, “The Secretary has not enforced the provision, believing that it impermissibly intrudes on the President’s exclusive authority under the United States Constitution to decide whether and on what terms to recognize foreign nations.” The court concluded, “We agree and therefore hold that section 214(d) is unconstitutional.”

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