Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Clean up the US consulate in Jerusalem!

On Friday, I wrote a post in which I reported that the US Consulate in the eastern half of Jerusalem has a website that caters to 'Palestinian' American citizens and not to Jewish American citizens. I noted that the consulate has been referred to as the American embassy to 'Palestine' in the past, and is known to be hostile to Israel's Jewish population.

The ad below appeared as nearly a full-page ad in Wednesday's Jerusalem Post (I had to scan it in two parts and the part at the fold is a little unclear - sorry).

At Soccer Dad, Daled Amos reports on a letter he wrote to the Consulate and about the reply he got. In essence, it confirms what I wrote last Friday.

But Daled Amos asks some tough questions from the State Department about the Consulate that deserve to be answered.
Apparently the message sent by having a consulate in the capital of Israel that does not address the interests of that country does not phase them. If they seriously consider themselves "the principal representation to the Palestinian Authority," why would they not set up shop in the West Bank? It seems they don't care about the implication that the West Bank is too unstable to risk US personnel there. But if they are wary of getting too close to the West Bank, why foist the area on Israel as a second Palestinian state?
I don't know exactly when the Consulate opened. I am aware of its existence for the past 30 years (I first visited there when I was studying in yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City in 1978-79). I suspect that the Consulate's presence in its current location is a legacy from when that part of the city was under Jordanian rule, although if so, it is odd that the United States would locate a consular facility right on (what was until 1967) the border between two hostile countries. Still, Daled Amos makes a valid point: It's been more than 40 years since Israel liberated the eastern half of the city, and if the Consulate is meant to serve 'Palestinians' it should have been relocated to Ramallah (for example) a long time ago.

What's worse from the perspective of one who lives in Jerusalem and has to use the Consulate's services from time to time, is that the consulate in the western part of the city provides no real consular services. In 18 years here, the only thing I have been able to do at the Consulate on Agron Street is to hand in an absentee ballot. And even that was given to the guard outside the building - I have never set foot in the building. AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) used to bring consulate personnel to its offices from time to time to perform functions like notarizing documents, but I have no idea whether it continues to do so. I carried my own ballot to the US (with six others) and mailed them in Boston two weeks before the elections, I last renewed my US passport in 2004, and my most recent child was born in 2004, so I haven't needed any consular services for quite a while.

Bottom line: The US consulate in the eastern half of Jerusalem is hostile to Jews and Israelis. The US should either set up a consulate for 'Palestine' in Ramallah or elsewhere out of the city and provide consular services in the consulate in the western half of the city, or it should find personnel for the consulate in the eastern half of the city who are not hostile to Israelis and Jews and who will treat us more fairly. American consulates are meant to serve and advise American citizens living or visiting other countries, and not to provide diplomatic support for those who seek to undermine the host country's existence.


At 11:40 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Every Western country's consulate seems to perform the same function. In a Jewish city, you will look in vain for the slightest acknowledgment that Jerusalem is Israel's capital, George Orwell would have remarked on the way the Jews have been airbrushed out of history. Cleaning up consulates under current conditions, appears to be a tall order.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep. They refuse to even place the embassy in "western" Jerusalem, too.

Juden, Raus!

At 4:04 AM, Blogger Michael B said...

Precisely. In sum, yet another tell-tale indicator of the fundamental, rank double-talk and double standards applied to Israel vs. both western states and, more dramatically, vs. Sunni and Shi'a Muslim states and polities in general.


Post a Comment

<< Home