Politicians and Jews form unusual alliances over
relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
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His Michigan colleague, Sen.
ena G. Greenberg and
Michael Dallen both want Carl Levin, is one of 41 co-spon-
the American Embassy to sors of the Dole bill, which now
relocate from Tel Aviv to sits in the Senate Committee on
Sen. Levin, one of 12 Democ-
But their agreement ends
ratic co-sponsors of the bill, also
Ms. Greenberg, of Southfield, was one of 93 senators to sign a
who is active in the Labor Zion- letter to Secretary of State War-
ist Alliance Council of Metro De- ren Christopher in March. The
troit, believes the United States letter, initiated by New York
should have recognized Sens. Alfonse M. D'Amato, a Re-
Jerusalem as Israel's capital long publican, and Democrat Daniel
ago. But, to her, now is not a good Patrick Moynihan, urged the ad-
time for the United States to act. ministration to begin planning
Mr. Dallen also believes Amer- for the relocation of the embassy
ica needs to recognize Jerusalem to Jerusalem.
Some observers consider the
as Israel's capital. As Michigan
chairman of Americans for a Safe initiative by Sen. Dole and Rep.
Israel, he feels now is as good a Gingrich a game of 1996 presi-
time as any for the U.S. govern- dential politics.
"Dole and Gingrich are doing
ment to move its embassy.
Like members of Congress, it to gain Jewish votes and they
many Jews and Jewish organi- are not being subtle about it," said
zations are divided when it comes Anne Gonte Silver, chairman of
to moving the U.S. Embassy from the executive committee of the
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The issue Metro Detroit Chapter of the
is timing. Some believe a move is Zionist Organization of America.
past due; others fear acting now "But politics aside, I'm glad
could undermine the peace they're for it."
"Years ago, I was one of those
Jerusalem, which has always who expressed concerns about
been Israel's capital, houses only the timing of proposals to move
Costa Rica and El Salvador's for- the American Embassy from Tel
eign embassies. Because the Aviv to Jerusalem," Sen. Dole
Arabs claim Jerusalem as theirs, said in a written statement. "I felt
the United States and other na- that doing so could have under-
tions have been reluctant to sit- mined our efforts and ability to
act as a peacemaker. However,
uate in the city.
The embassy issue ignited af- much has changed since those
ter Sen. Robert Dole, a Kansas earlier efforts," he said, referring
Republican and Senate majority to the demise of the Soviet Union,
leader, and House Speaker Newt the liberation of Kuwait and the
Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, beginning of a formal peace
introduced the Jerusalem Em- process between Israel and the
bassy Relocation Implementation PLO and Jordan.
"The peace process has made
Act into their respective houses
strides and our commit-
Sen. Dole's measure states that ment to that process is unchal-
Jerusalem should be recognized lengeable. Delaying the process
as the capital of Israel, with of moving the embassy now only
groundbreaking for construction sends a signal of false hope," the
of the embassy beginning by Dec. statement said.
Michael Rubner, a professor of
31, 1996. The embassy must open
international relations at Michi-
no later than May 31, 1999.
The issue has created politi- gan State University's James
cally strange bedfellows. A case Madison College, believes Sen.
in point is Michigan's senators, Dole is trying to bolster his 1996
who find themselves aligned with bid for the presidency and make
members of the opposite parties. up for his previous criticism of Is-
President Clinton — who dis- rael.
He also said Sen. Dole, like oth-
cussed moving the embassy dur-
ing his campaign — and er conservative Republicans, has
Republican Spencer Abraham been subjected to a barrage of lob-
both say a move could hinder bying on the issue.
"American Jewish voters tend
Middle East peace.
Dan Senor, an aide to Sen. to be in key electoral states," he
Abraham, said the senator sup- said. "They are more likely to vote
ports Jerusalem as the undivid- in large numbers and lean De-
ed capital of Israel but "is mocratic. While Arab-American
concerned taking steps now could voters reside in key electoral
have a negative impact on the states, they tend to vote less De-
mocratic — which is why he is