Jerusalem, Israel’s Eternal Capital
Recently, I signed a letter encouraging the Biden Administration to abandon its ill-conceived plan to open a consulate separate from our embassy in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. I wanted to share with you why this issue is so important.
Our ally Israel resides in a very dangerous region and is under frequent attack by terrorists who wish to wipe it off the map. America and Israel share a deep historical bond, and I am committed to providing Israel the resources and support it needs to secure its people and its place among nations.
One of the most meaningful advances in U.S.-Israel relations in recent years was the Trump Administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital in U.S. law and requiring the U.S. Embassy to be established there. This bill passed in overwhelming bipartisan fashion, including with the support of then-Senator Joe Biden. However, previous presidents had failed to follow the law and acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a misguided attempt to appease opponents of Israel and avoid conflict.
Once the new embassy was opened, the Trump Administration took the logical step of combining it and the existing U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which handled outreach to the Palestinians. This common-sense decision ensures that U.S. representation in Israel speaks with one voice, through one clear chain of command, and with the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
In addition, concentrating our diplomatic presence in the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is a powerful statement of support for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city, as called for in the Jerusalem Embassy Act.
Shockingly, the Biden Administration has indicated that it intends to reverse this progress and open a separate U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to conduct outreach to the Palestinians. The Administration intends to take this step even though the Israeli government – one of our closest allies – opposes the decision.
Taking this step would send a confusing and arrogant message to Israel.
It would signal that the U.S. does not respect each country’s right to decide for itself where it will host foreign embassies and consulates, breaking with decades of diplomatic tradition. It would waste taxpayer dollars on redundant diplomatic missions almost next to each other. Nowhere in the world does the U.S. have an embassy and consulate in the same city.
With this decision, the Biden Administration would also be rewarding the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership despite its failure to engage meaningfully in the peace process. The PA still does not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, provides payments to the families of terrorists who murder innocent civilians, and encourages anti-Semitic boycotts and international investigations of Israel.
I support continued efforts to engage with the Palestinians. The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has established dedicated lines of outreach through its Palestinian Affairs Unit.
As a sovereign nation, however, Israel deserves the right to determine whether an embassy or a consulate is welcome in its homeland and as such, whether this proposed consulate office should be established. As an ally, the U.S. should not want to open an unnecessary consulate against Israel’s wishes.
I will continue to fight for Israel’s sovereign rights from my position as the lead Republican on the Appropriations Committee and will work to provide them the support they need.
I stand with Israel.
You can find the letter Here.