The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Last week we called attention to the extraordinary reports that the Obama administration had taken to scrubbing references in official documents to Jerusalem as part of Israel.
We noted that these alterations occurred in the course of litigation over the right of Congress to require the State Department to list Israel as the place of birth of American citizens born in Jerusalem if they so requested.
The Obama administration has maintained that any such references would be tantamount to recognition of Jerusalem as part of Israel, which is contrary to U.S. policy and therefore beyond congressional purview as a matter of constitutional law.
We don’t believe the litigation has anything to do with U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as part of Israel but rather is a question of the powers Congress has over what appears on U.S. passports. But it was our assertion of possible criminality involved in the scrubbing that drew some interesting comments.
The New York Sun, though supportive of our general theme, was not persuaded that a crime may have been committed. And our citation of the case of President Clinton’s national security adviser Sandy Berger, who was convicted of pilfering archived documents, as support for our suggestion that criminal acts may have been committed, was pooh-poohed by a reader because Berger’s action took place after he left government (see Letters, this issue).
The relevant federal statute here, 18 USC Sec. 2071, is titled “Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation Generally” and provides as follows:
Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceedings, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceedings, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.
On their face, then, the Obama administration’s actions would seem be covered by the federal criminal statute.
The Sun reminded readers that it ran a story by Rick Richman, just after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which first reported “the existence of a series of pictures on the White House website from Vice President Biden’s 2010 trip to Israel, describing him as being in ‘Jerusalem, Israel.’ ” Indeed, Richman’s piece was headlined by The Sun as “Jerusalem Case at Supreme Court May Pit White House Web Site Against the President.”
The Sun also noted that “the case involves the constitutionality of a law that regulates how the State Department refers to place of birth in passports of Americans born in Jerusalem. Normally the State Department just lists ‘Jerusalem,’ with no country. In 2002 Congress required that if an American born in Jerusalem requested, the State Department must list the birth place as ‘Israel.’ Both Presidents Bush and Obama have declined to follow the law, claiming it interferes with presidential prerogatives – and would complicate the peace process. The Sun’s dispatch queried whether the required designation of ‘Israel’ on an individual’s passport really presented an issue of constitutional proportions, since the White House acknowledged on its own website (as did the CIA and State Department on theirs) that Jerusalem is in Israel.”
And The Sun went on to note:
Five days after Mr. Richman’s report, the Weekly Standard put one of the photos of Mr. Biden, and its cutline, up on its website. Within two hours, the White House had scrubbed from the pictures the references to Jerusalem being in Israel. Omri Ceren, a blogger at Commentary Magazine’s “Contentions” site, discovered an even broader pattern suggesting that documents from the Bush era that had referenced Jerusalem, Israel had been scrubbed as well. In the May issue of Commentary, Mr. Ceren writes that, “while some administration officials were telling reporters and the public that there were no Bush-era documents referencing ‘Jerusalem, Israel,’ other administration officials were busy scrubbing Bush-era documents referencing ‘Jerusalem, Israel.’ ”
Kudos to The Sun and, of course, Commentary, for focusing on this story. We wonder at the failure of the media generally to pick up on it.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/doctoring-documents-postscript/2012/05/16/
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