|An anti-Israel front|
Peace Now signs a petition in the U.S. against listing "Jerusalem, Israel" on passports as birth city • Right-wing MKs: They are a far-Left fringe group • Peace Now: We are a Zionist organization.
By Mati Tuchfeld
Right-wing factions are furious after Americans for Peace Now, an international affiliate of the Israeli nongovernmental organization, threw its support behind a measure aimed at preventing the identification of Jerusalem as part of Israel on U.S. passports.
The organization signed a petition submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court that calls for the writing of “Jerusalem, Israel” as a birthplace on the passports of U.S. citizens to remain illegal.
Despite a decision by the U.S. Congress in 2002 that allows Americans born in Jerusalem to have "Jerusalem, Israel" written on their passports as their birth city, the State Department has refused to implement this, saying it is a political issue with consequences for the state. As a result, U.S. citizens born in Israel's capital have only "Jerusalem" printed as their birthplace.
One family of dual U.S.-Israeli citizens, the Jabotinskys, recently submitted a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court demanding that the decision be overturned and that their son Menachem have "Jerusalem, Israel" written on his passport. A number of prominent Jewish organizations in the U.S., as well as some members of Congress, added their names to the petition.
Peace Now, however, sided with the U.S. State Department and signed a separate petition that opposes the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
MK Ofir Akunis, chairman of the Likud party's response team, said on Tuesday, "Peace Now is an anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli movement."
MK Danny Danon added, "Peace Now continues its treacherous line of opposing the state of Israel. Their joining with Israel's enemies reinforces their place on the far fringe of the Left."
MK Tzipi Hotovely said, "When they aim against Jerusalem, Zion, they pull the rug out from under Zionism. Once again it is proven: Behind all of these false explanations about how the occupation is harmful to us, there is nothing but hatred and scorn for Zionist activity overall."
MK Aryeh Eldad said, "When Peace Now contests that Jerusalem is not part of Israel, it violates the section in Israeli law against treason, which stipulates that anyone who tries to remove a part of sovereign Israel is subject to punishment of death or life imprisonment."
Peace Now responded with a statement, saying, "Peace Now is a Zionist organization of American Jews who are dedicated to achieving peace and security in Israel. The U.S. plays a critical role in promoting negotiations for resolving the conflict, including core issues such as Jerusalem. Any change in the U.S.'s long-standing policy, including a refusal to acknowledge Israel's sovereignty over every part of Jerusalem, directly harms the U.S.'s ability to act as a fair mediator in negotiations."