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If you were born in Jerusalem, where exactly were you born? Hint: Not Israel — or, at least, that’s the State Department’s policy when it comes to passports for the children of American citizens born there. The policy struck Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, whose son, Menachem Binyamin, was born in Jerusalem in 2002, as wrongheaded. They sued the State Department the following year, hoping to have their son’s place of birth relisted on his passport as “Jerusalem, Israel,” rather than just Jerusalem, a disputed land not recognized by the United States as belonging to any state. Last week, Senior Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the case for the second time, writing in her ruling that it “poses a non-justiciable political question.” The Zivotofskys, through their lawyer, Nathan Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, argued that they weren’t asking the court to determine the political status of Jerusalem, only to instruct the State Department to change their son’s listed place of birth — a pen stroke with no bearing on U.S. foreign policy. “Plaintiff is wrong,” Kessler wrote. “Resolving this claim on the merits would necessarily require the Court to decide the political status of Jerusalem.”
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected].

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