June 22, 2006, - 12:47 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
One of our favorite Israeli journalists, investigative reporter Michael Freund, alerts us to his outrageous story in today’s Jerusalem Post.
The U.S. Embassy has revoked a 4-year-old Death Certificate of an American who died in Israel, in order to expunge Israel from the certificate. The man died in Jerusalem, which has always been the capital of Israel, as long as it has been a country.
Disgusting. There’s really no more appropriate word for this latest action by Clueless Condoleeza’s State Department, four years after this woman lost her father. One wonders what the reaction would be if someone’s death certificate read Washington, DC, capital of Greater North America.
Details from Freund’s article:
The saga began earlier this month when Wendy Serlin, a resident of Beit Shemesh, received a certified letter from the embassy stating that it had decided to reissue a consular report regarding the death of her father, Myron Friedman.
Friedman, an American citizen, passed away in Jerusalem in October 2002.
At the time of her father’s passing, Serlin had filled out the requisite consular forms, and shortly thereafter received an official US document known as a “Report of Death of an American Citizen Abroad.” It listed her father’s place of death as “Jerusalem, Israel.”
Then, in an unrelated move, Serlin’s neighbors, Naomi and Ari Zivotofsky, filed a suit against the State Department in the DC District Court in September 2003, demanding that their newborn son’s place of birth be listed as “Jerusalem, Israel.”
US policy in such cases is to denote the city as Jerusalem, while leaving blank the entry for the country so as not to imply recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the capital.
Earlier this year, after the US Court of Appeals allowed the suit to proceed, the Zivotofskys submitted supporting evidence to the court, which included a copy of Friedman’s 2002 death report that Serlin had given them.
Since the report said “Jerusalem, Israel,” the Zivotofskys hoped it would bolster their case.
Barely three months later, however, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv sent Serlin the letter informing her that they wished to “correct an administrative error regarding place of death” on her father’s forms.
Included with the letter were 10 original copies of her father’s death report, all of which listed the place of death as Jerusalem, with the country space left blank.
In an interview with the Post, Serlin expressed astonishment at the embassy’s handling of the matter. “I was surprised when I received the letter from them and the new forms on which the word ‘Israel’ had been removed,” she said, noting that, “I never asked them to correct it, so it seemed pretty clear they had done this because of the Zivotofskys’ court case against the State Department on this issue.”
Ari Zivotofsky said he was no less taken aback by the embassy’s move. “I was flabbergasted by the extraordinary effort of the State Department to perpetuate its illogical policy of not recognizing Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.” “It smacks of an attempt to tamper with evidence,” he said.
It’s definitely evidence tampering, and we hope the Zivotofskys will seek sanctions in court against the government.
If anyone reading this has an American relative who died in Jerusalem, and the death certificate reads, “Jerusalem, Israel,” please contact me. I will make sure the info gets to the Zivotofskys.
Attention, State Dept.: IT’S JERUSALEM, ISRAEL, STUPID.
On another note, see Michael Freund’s other disturbing Jerusalem Post article, today, about how Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Turki Al-Faisal openly, shamelessly admitted that Saudi Arabia practices the Arab Boycott of Israel, which is in violation of U.S. law. Saudi Arabia ought to be fined, pursuant to the Anti-boycott laws.
Check out Michael’s blog, too.
Tags: Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Ari Zivotofsky, Beit Shemesh, DC, DC District Court, Debbie Schlussel One, Department of State, investigative reporter, Israel, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Post, Michael Freund, Myron Friedman, Naomi Zivotofsky, official US document, Prince, Saudi Arabia, Tel Aviv, Turki Al-Faisal, U.S. embassy, United States, US Court of Appeals, Washington, Wendy Serlin, Zivotofskys' court