Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jerusalem Doing Well In Monopoly Voting--Israel, Not So Much

The voting continues for the top 20 countries to be listed in a new version of Monopoly (instructions here). To get the full picture of the problem--Jerusalem's name appears in the voting without the name 'Israel'--you cannot do better than Israel Matzav on the original problem and Hasbro's reaction to and resolution of the issue.

The issue of associating Jerusalem with Israel went to the Canadian Supreme Court this month:
A Canadian immigrant has lost his court battle to have his birthplace, Jerusalem, recognized as part of Israel on his passport as Ottawa insists it must remain neutral on the contested holy city.

The Supreme Court refused Thursday to hear the appeal of Eliyahu Veffer, who immigrated to Canada about 12 years ago and wanted his Canadian passport to show he was born in "Jerusalem, Israel."
Meanwhile, last year in the US someone brought a lawsuit on this point as well:

A law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush clearly requires the State Department to record Israel as the place of birth in passports for American citizens born in Jerusalem, but that requirement cannot be enforced by the courts, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

For the second time, Judge Gladys Kessler threw out a lawsuit brought by an American couple, Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, on behalf of their son, Menachem, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002. The judge said the State Department's refusal to list Israel on the boy's passport presented a "nonjusticiable political question" that courts are required to turn away. The State Department contends that marking Menachem's place of birth as "Jerusalem, Israel" would upset long-standing American policy that the sovereignty of Jerusalem is an issue to be determined in peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Arabs.

The law referred to is signed is the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for 2003, and both the State Department and President Bush have made a point of working around it:
President Bush's signature Monday on a law that requires the United States to identify the holy city as the capital of Israel is sure to cause both elation and despair.

Mr. Bush – who supported Israel's claim to Jerusalem as its capital in his 2000 campaign – says he takes the new law as an expression of "the sense of Congress," and that despite the law, US policy on Jerusalem "has not changed." That means the US still officially sees Jerusalem as a "permanent-status issue" to be negotiated between the Israelis and the Palestinians in a final peace accord.

Little did Hasbro know what they were stepping into.

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