While U.S. law has for decades recognized that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the American embassy remains in Tel Aviv. Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, NRB President & CEO, joined scores of Christian leaders this week in calling on President Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to “uphold American law by moving the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s eternal and indivisible capital city of Jerusalem.”
The Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was enacted in October 1995, declared clearly that Jerusalem is the political capital of Israel. Finding that the U.S. “maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except in the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel,” this law required that the embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999. However, the statute includes an option for its mandate to be waived by the President for six months, if “necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.” That option has been exercised by the White House every six months for two decades.
Johnson and nearly sixty other signers of the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) letter said, “It is time to end America’s doublespeak.”
Susan Michael, USA Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, which is spearheading the ACLI coalition, issued a statement accompanying the letter noting her concern that President Trump was being pressured to delay on his promise. “Considering the 24 years of attempted peace agreements by three previous presidents, it is not a good idea to continue waiting,” she said.
At least one prominent member of the Trump Administration also went on the record this week supporting the embassy’s move. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told David Brody of CBN News, “Obviously, I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem…. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem and I think we have to see that for what it is.”
On a related note, at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, the association’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution expressing support for Israel. The Board called on NRB members to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and for the U.S. “to stand steadfastly by Israel, even as others malign, abandon, or attack her.” They also urged Christians to “reject and guard against the dangerous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: May 19, 2017