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On the Controversy Over the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem

Cliff May reports over at The Corner that the website of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem mentions nothing at all about Israel, and instead discusses various American-sponsored programs to aid Palestinians:

Here's what you don't find -- at least not at this moment as I'm viewing the site: A word about Israel. Not a single one. No hint that Jerusalem is in Israel or that Israelis live there -- much less that it's Israel's capital.


And while there is a link to an Arabic language version of the site, there is no link to a Hebrew version. What are we -- and what are Israelis -- to make of this? My column this week is on a related theme: the tendency of the Obama administration to "curry favor with our adversaries at the expense of our friends."  Or worse.

There are two problems here: Cliff's insinuation that this has something to do with Obama; and his larger argument that the U.S. is ignoring Israel to its detriment. The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has for a very long while been devoted to managing American relations with the Palestinians; the American embassy in Tel Aviv -- embassy, not consulate, mind you -- is dedicated to relations with Israel and Israelis. Yes, there is a mention on the embassy website of Hillary Clinton's recent statement concerning American support for the Palestinians (not exactly a radical statement, by the way) and there are also links to sites that aid busineses that want to do business in Israel and that promote American-Israeli cultural events. (All the sites, by the way, are uninteresting, hard-to-navigate and generally crappy.)


There is not much of a controversy here. It would, in the best of all possible worlds, be appropriate to see the American embassy relocated to West Jerusalem, though I would note that not even George W. Bush moved the embassy there when he had a chance.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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