Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mr. President, I ask of you...MOVE THE EMBASSY

Consider this an open letter, if you must, to the 43rd President of the United States of America, George Walker Bush.

Mr. President,
I recently read this article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in which it states that you met with Jewish leaders for the annual White House Chanukah celebration only hours after you, yourself, relieved your presidential administration of an obligation to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In 2000, when you first ran for president, you made a campaign promise in which you said that you would move the embassy. Year after year, you refuse to do so.

It is unfortunate that other than the Zionist Organization of America, no other Jewish group has come forward. I don't speak on the behalf of others and I have never said, to my knowledge, that I do. However, this is an issue that is of importance to me because I don't take campaign promises lightly. I take take them very seriously and it disturbs me when politicians don't fulfill their campaign promises. While it's understandable if a legislator promised something but legislation gets blocked, there is no fundamental excuse for an executive to ignore such a promise which does not need, last that I checked, congressional approval.
Just a few hours earlier, Bush had signed a document relieving his administration from the obligation — and his own campaign promise — to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as required by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.

Since identical waivers have been invoked like clockwork twice a year since the law took effect, the president’s action hardly came as a surprise, certainly not to the pro-Israel lobby. Indeed, with the Zionist Organization of America as the one glaring exception, no major Jewish group uttered as much as a whisper of disappointment, let alone protest.
Here's some further background from the article I have linked to...and I have met Morton Klein while I was a student at Bradley University.
But what about Governor Bush of Texas, the foreign policy novice who was intent on improving on his father’s weak showing in the Jewish community? Here it gets interesting.

When ZOA President Morton Klein met with Bush for several minutes at a Newark Airport hotel in 2000, he raised only one point: Would a President Bush move the embassy?

“No,” was the reply, since it would “screw up the peace process.”

When those views hit the press, the Bush campaign staff went into full damage control, insisting with straight faces that their boss must have been misunderstood.

A short time later the handlers were in full command as Bush, now more Catholic than the pope, promised thousands of faithful at the AIPAC conference that he would move the embassy “as soon as” he took office. To punctuate the pledge, he assured the Republican Jewish Coalition that he would do this on his very first day as president. Apparently the messiah had arrived, and he hailed from Crawford, Texas.

Last month’s waiver marks, by my count, the 12th time this president has certified that honoring his braggadocio campaign promise would not be in our nation’s interest. Where, I ask, is the sense of outrage from Senators Kyl and Brownback and the others who had been like bulldogs in attacking a previous administration? Is only one party capable of “bad faith” or “contempt” of Congress?
I do hope that the House and Senate chairmen of the International Relations committees loook at this.
There may be a way to bring this to a head: The House International Relations Committee, chaired by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), or the Foreign Relations Committee under Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) should hold hearings on why George Bush has not made good on his bold and repeated campaign promise.
Thank you and take care.

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