Reform Movement Disappointed by Supreme Court Decision in Zivotofsky Case

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Washington DC, June 8, 2015 - In response to today’s decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement: 

"We are disappointed in today’s Supreme Court decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, circumscribing the right of Americans born in Jerusalem to lawfully and accurately identify their birthplace as Israel.

Today’s 6-3 decision addressed complicated issues of separation of powers and foreign policy, but it is equally about the right of U.S. citizens to identify the country in which they are born. We are saddened that American citizens born in Jerusalem, the holy city to which the Jewish people worldwide have an enduring and unbreakable connection, and the capital of the United States’ longstanding ally, Israel, will be barred from having their place of birth listed as “Israel” on their birth certificates and American passports.

We were pleased to join an amicus brief to the Court, organized by the Anti-Defamation League, making clear that a passport is not a statement of foreign policy. As the brief states, it is a ministerial act that does not usurp an exclusive power granted to the Executive branch. However, the Reform Movement has long called for U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that nation should not be subjected to legal disadvantages under U.S. law that are not applied to other nations."