School­boy tak­ing Clin­ton to court

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY NATHAN JEFFAY

AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD boy is tak­ing on US Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton in the Amer­i­can Supreme Court.

If you ask pint-sized plain­tiff Me­nachem Ziv­otof­sky where he was born, he gives the same an­swer as most Jewish Jerusalemites: Is­rael. But the Amer­i­can authorities beg to dif­fer.

They refuse to reg­is­ter chil­dren born in Jerusalem as Is­raeli-born be­cause the US does not recog­nise Is­raeli sovereignty over the city, con­sid­er­ing its sta­tus to be un­re­solved.

For Me­nachem, whose par­ents are Amer­i­can­born, en­ti­tling him to US cit­i­zen­ship, t his means that his pass­port records his place of birth sim­ply as Jerusalem, with no spec­i­fied coun­try.

Me­nachem’s fa­ther, Ari Ziv­otof­sky, says that he is par­tic­u­larly an­gry about the reg­is­tra­tion, given that the birth was not in East Jerusalem, which has been oc­cu­pied by Is­rael since 1967, but in West Jerusalem, which has been part of Is­rael since 1948. “We are not even dis­cussing the ques­tion of whether Jerusalem is the cap­i­tal but rather whether West Jerusalem, which has been part of Is­rael since the be­gin­ning of the state, is part of Is­rael,” he said. “The an­swer is clear.”

Mr Ziv­otof­sky ini­ti­ated a case shortly af­ter his son was born, but it has been passed be­tween var­i­ous district and ap­peal courts for the past seven years, be­fore re­cently reach­ing the Supreme Court. He filed the Supreme Court brief last week — “Me­nachem Binyamin Ziv­otof­sky v Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton” — and ex­pects the case to be heard in Novem­ber.

The case hinges on the fact that, in 2002, Congress passed a law giv­ing par­ents like Mr Ziv­otof­sky the right to reg­is­ter their child as Is­raeli-born.

How­ever,af­ter sign­ing the law, then-pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush also is­sued a state­ment say­ing that it could un­der­mine the ex­ec­u­tive’s

power to de­cide for­eign pol­icy. It could “im­per­mis­si­bly in­ter­fere with the pres­i­dent’s con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­ity to for­mu­late the po­si­tion of the United States, speak for the nation in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs, and de­ter­mine the terms on which recog­ni­tion is given to for­eign states.”

Af­ter this state­ment was is­sued, the law was never im­ple­mented.

The Ziv­otof­sky ac­tion is in­spir­ing other Jerusalem-born Jewish Amer­i­can cit­i­zens to fight for the cause. Around 120 have signed up to the Ad-Hoc As­so­ci­a­tion of Proud Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens Born in Jerusalem, Is­rael.

The Amer­i­can Jewish com­mu­nity is also get­ting in­volved. In an un­usual act of co-op­er­a­tion be­tween Ortho­dox, Con­ser­va­tive and Re­form, 11 or­gan­i­sa­tions from across the re­li­gious spec­trum sent an am­i­cus brief — a sup­port­ing state­ment — to the court echo­ing the Ziv­otof­skys’ ar­gu­ment.

“We are proud to have as­sem­bled the most sig­nif­i­cant and broad-based coali­tion of Amer­i­can Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions in re­cent mem­ory,” said Abra­ham Fox­man, di­rec­tor of the Anti-Defama­tion League.

“We are all united in the be­lief that this is an is­sue that tran­scends Is­raeliPales­tinian pol­i­tics. As the brief clearly states, there is no need for the Supreme Court­tore­ach­in­toanyaspectof theMid­dle East con­flict in de­cid­ing this case.”


Break­ing US law on Is­rael? Hil­lary Clin­ton

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