Is it time to say NO to Congress? Do we have the money to do this? And is it smart? In the midst of peace talks? Am I wrong? (UPDATED: See response from Rep. Franks)

Confusion

I am all for smart diplomatic moves and helping friends when they need it but can we afford this now?  How many MILLIONS and MILLIONS will this 31 mile move cost?  I don’t buy it that it is cost saving (see below.)  Politicians always say that one. (Other peoples’/taxpayer money!  How about thinking about this one? )

And is it smart?

Don’t the Israelis already know we are best friends?  We are always there for them.  We give them lots of aid and we constantly back them…so is a symbolic Embassy move with a giant price tag really needed and now?  Frankly, it would be better to spend the money on SECURITY for them not a fancy new Embassy for us.  

Plus…Secretary of State John Kerry is in the midst of peace talks here in Washington, DC – it is not smart to be poking sticks in eyes when he is in middle of peace talks.  It ambushes any chance he has to secure real peace.  Sure peace is a long shot, but don’t you at least want to try?  And isn’t that really showing our help to Israel and evidence of our deep friendship?

Read the red text below which is my editing.

What do you think?

See below …

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Members of Congress Seek to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem
Bipartisan bill highlights cost savings to the US Government  [Do you REALLY BELIEVE it is a cost savings to sell an old building, move 31 miles and build a brand new fancy one?  Does Congress really think we are that dumb?]

Washington, DC — Five Members of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus have introduced legislation that would transfer the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, sending a message of commitment and resolve to Israel and also presenting the U.S. government with a cost-saving measure at a time of major budget cuts.

The bipartisan bill, known as the Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act (H.R. 2846), comes as Israelis and Palestinians are resuming peace negotiations after a three-year hiatus, and is intended to offer an unflinching sign of support on Capitol Hill for Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

The bill, which is being sponsored by Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Juan Vargas (D-CA), and Gene Green (D-TX) is now being circulated among members of Congress.

The initiative is unique because it recommends that the United States government either repurpose the current Embassy property in Tel Aviv to a consulate, or sell the property, which has the potential to garner an estimated hundred million dollars at market value.  [NOTE: no mention of the cost to build a new on in Jerusalem....the press release only talks about the revenue from sale of the one in Tel Aviv.  It is appalling how slick this press release is by failing to mention the enormous cost to build a NEW EMBASSY.]

“The United States was the first nation to recognize Israel’s sovereignty, a mere 11 minutes after the new state was formed in 1948. Today, 65 years later, Israel remains a uniquely precious ally. Just as the United States has assisted the Jewish people in restoring their ancient state, it is only fitting that we lead the way in recognizing Jerusalem for what it is: the undivided, eternal capital of Israel,” said Congressman Tent Franks. [The foregoing PROVES we are loyal friends -- we don't need to spend money on a fancy new Embassy to show our love.]

“It is long overdue for the U.S. government to relocate our embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 1995. It is time to follow through on our commitment.”  [Note: we were rich in 1995.  We are poor now.  Big difference.]

“For historical, biblical and moral reasons, we are committed to the unity of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital with no waivers and no caveats,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn. “Our unflinching support is especially crucial at this critical hour of turbulence throughout the region.” [It would be a terrible slap in Americans' faces if Israel thought, after all these years of unflinching support, that we have to prove more our loyalty and friendship by spending millions and millions and millions of dollars that we don't have to build a building.   We need new schools in this country.  I am all in favor of helping,  but not like this.]

“As an ardent supporter of our greatest ally in the region, I believe that transferring our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will reaffirm our commitment to the state of Israel,” said Congressman Juan Vargas. [This is nutty.  We have to reaffirm our obvious commitment by a building in another city when we are broke?  Let me repeat, we are loyal and good friends of Israel and will continue to help them and support them - this is not a good way to do that.]  “As a continuation of over 3,000 years of Jewish history, Jerusalem must remain the undivided and eternal capital of Israel.”  

“As co-chair of the Democratic Israel Working Group, I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act. I voted for the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, which called for the American Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, and this new legislation will assure that the intent of the 1995 law is finally fulfilled,” Congressman Gene Green.  [I am proud of our friendship with Israel.  But remember, friends help.  Friendship is a 2 way street.  Israel needs to tell these Members of Congress to give American taxpayers a break on this one.  When we get our economy up and rolling, we will do it.  Just not now.]

Successive U.S. administrations including Presidents Clinton Bush and Obama have repeatedly used the presidential waiver to delay moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in accordance with a 1995 law which authorized the embassy’s relocation but which gave the President the power to postpone its implementation every six months.

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Congressman Franks is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the Judiciary Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and a member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. He is also a member of the Armed Services Committee, where he serves on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities

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Below is the response I received from Congressman Franks’ office:

Hi Greta,

The bill also recommends that the State Department transfer its embassy to an existing, newly constructed consulate in Jerusalem (one already exists).  There is no language appropriating any funds to build a new Embassy, nor is there any need. Without the Tel Aviv location, the U.S. government has sufficient presence in Israel with five government property locations in Jerusalem – totaling over 40,000 sq. feet and 14 acres of land.

Here is a link to the language of the Bill. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.2846:

Thanks for correcting the record. Let me know if our office can be of any assistance in providing additional information or an interview with the Congressman.

All the best,

Randy M. Kutz

Chief of Staff

Office of Congressman Trent Franks

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