- Love, Not Hate, Must Follow the Amens August 9, 2019
- 2020 Choice: “In Your Face” or “Weasel Words” July 7, 2019
- Samia Khoury and Trump’s Deal of the Century June 1, 2019
- Israel Creates A New Political Normal May 16, 2019
- “Listen, my children, and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere” March 16, 2019
- Updated: “I Once Was Blind. . . But Now I See” February 11, 2019
Blogs I Follow
Daily Archives: December 7, 2017
Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.
Trump’s announcement is actually the culmination of years of pressure by a large bipartisan majority of Congress and leaders of both political parties towards the White House. It represents the fulfillment of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which mandates that the United States move its embassy to Jerusalem, though the bill allows a president to waive that requirement every six months if deemed in the national interest.
In the Senate, the bill was cosponsored by such prominent Senate Democrats as Joe Biden and John Kerry and only one Democrat (the late Robert Byrd) voted no. On the House side, just thirty out of 204 Democrats voted no, along with the independent then-Congressman Bernie Sanders.
Since then, every President has taken advantage of the waiver to prevent such a provocative move, despite continued bipartisan pressure from Congress. As recently as this past June, just days after Trump issued his first waiver of the requirement, the Senate voted 90-0 in favor of a resolution re-affirming the 1995 law and calling on President Trump “to abide by its provisions.” Co-sponsors included such leading Democrats as minority leader Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin, ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as Tammy Baldwin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden.
Schumer has openly encouraged Trump to move the embassy and previously criticized his “indecisiveness” on the issue.
Support by Congressional Democrats and party leaders for moving the embassy is not due to demand from their constituents. A recent poll shows that 81 percent of Democrats oppose moving the embassy while only 15 percent approve.