Title: Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the US Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem
By: Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein
If you visit the official United States Department of State website of embassies, consulates, diplomatic missions, and offices providing consular services, one thing is apparent in the nearly 200 locations – they are almost all in the capital of the specific country. Yet that was not always the case with Israel.
The United States Embassy was long in Tel Aviv until it was officially relocated to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence at the direction of former President Donald Trump.
Why the divergence in locating the U.S. Embassy in Israel’s capital is detailed in Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the US Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem by Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein.
Weiss is the former president of the National Council of Young Israel, and Grunstein is the founder and former chairman of Project EZRA, and the book is the outgrowth of a project they are quite passionate about.
The authors write in over 600 detailed pages of the story and backstory. At a high level, it’s well known that the United States Department of State has long had an anti-Israel bias, which the authors make eminently clear.
The status quo remained for many years, and the embassy stayed in Tel Aviv until the passing of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. The act is a law passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives by an almost unanimous vote.
We know that things in Washington move very, very slowly. But why did it take almost a quarter of a century for the 1995 Act to be completed? The law had it in a provision that allowed the President to invoke a six-month waiver on national security grounds. And every president until Trump renewed that waiver.
Much of the national security fears had to do with the perceived Arab uprising that would occur if the embassy was moved. But it was Jared Kushner, a man with no foreign relations experience and a complete outsider to the U.S. Department of State, who was able to intuit what was really going on, and came to implement the Abraham Accords. And after decades of fear of Arab boycotts, reprisals, riots, and more, the embassy moved with Jerusalem without a hitch.
Yet there is more, a lot more to the story. And that is where Weiss and Grunstein fill every hole and detail in this meticulously researched book. Everything in Washington is political, and the book details the many political connections needed to get the embassy move done. This includes people such as Senator Jon Kyl, Governor Mike Huckabee, Ambassador David Friedman, and many more.
The importance of having the embassy in Jerusalem is not just a real estate decision. It is about the very core of the State of Israel and its legitimacy. Not having the embassy in Jerusalem played into the hand of the myriad anti-Zionist and antisemitic groups and the bias at the Department of State.
The location of every other embassy is a no-brainer. But when it comes to Israel, nothing is simple. But of all the sites of U.S. embassies, perhaps none is more important than that of the Jerusalem embassy. The authors leave no detail unturned in this important and brilliantly researched book.
The journey of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was long and arduous. But it really didn’t have to be. And if you want to know why, Because It’s Just and Right explains it in vivid detail.