April 8, 2024
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Insights Into US Government’s Efforts To Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Highlighting: “Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the US Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem” by Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein. Leonard and Farley. 2023. English. Paperback. 657 pages. ISBN-13:

They didn’t know it at the time but a chance meeting at a minyan during the pandemic led to a partnership between two communal leaders that has now resulted in an exceptional new resource for Israel activists, educators and others who care about the deep roots of Jewish claims to Jerusalem.

Farley Weiss is chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation and former president of the National Council of Young Israel of Phoenix. An intellectual property attorney with over 25 years experience, he is the president of the intellectual property law firm of Weiss & Moy, P.C. Early in his career, he worked one summer for the deputy president of Israel’s Supreme Court, Menachem Elon, a well regarded legal scholar who was later a candidate for president of Israel.

Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein in conversation with the writer via Zoom.

Weiss is a passionate Israel activist and draws on his legal acumen to methodically build the case for the manifest justice of Israel’s positions. At a COVID-era minyan outside his house in the summer of 2020, he met Leonard Grunstein, another Israel activist with remarkable credentials.

Grunstein is a founder of Project Ezrah, which he chaired, and the Beit Midrash of Teaneck, where he currently serves as chairman. He also serves on the boards of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University and the AIPAC National Council. He retired after a long and successful career that blended real estate law and finance. He was previously the chair of Metropolitan National Bank and Israel Discount Bank of New York, both in Manhattan.

As the two men got to know each other, Grunstein learned that Weiss had played a quiet but significant role, in the 1995 effort by then-Arizona Senator Jon Kyl that laid the foundation in federal law upon which President Donald Trump built his groundbreaking decision in December 2017 to formally recognize Jerusalem and move the United States Embassy there.

Leonard Grunstein

Weiss and Grunstein decided to collaborate on a book that would outline the brave decision of the freshman senator to introduce and secure passage of this groundbreaking legislation—while facing ardent opposition from the Clinton administration. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 passed 93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House and became law without the president’s signature.

While writing that book, “Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the US Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem,” which was published this summer, the two men decided to expand their effort and make the new publication a consummate historical record.

This remarkable new book includes a comprehensive look at the vast biblical, theological, historical, legal and political roots for the Jewish people’s centuries-long attachment to the land of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem. It also methodically outlines the many logical arguments that stem from the 20th and 21st centuries’ legal and diplomatic history that conclusively recognizes the Jewish people’s attachment to Israel and Jerusalem, and decisively rebuts all Palestinian claims to the capital of Israel.

Looking at the 617-page, meticulously footnoted book, it is evident that this was a monumental effort. As Grunstein shared with The Jewish Link: “This book took over a year and a half to research and write. Resources included many scholarly works cited in the extensive footnotes in the book. However, where possible, reference was made to actual documents and other primary sources, including the declassified U.S. State Department records, the Congressional record and other primary sources online.

Farley Weiss

“This helps account for the plethora of quoted materials throughout the book. This includes, for example, the discussion of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, in Chapter 9 of the book, which sheds light on the meaning of this important document and debunks many false narratives that have emerged over time, such as the falsely claimed right of return.”

The book features a forward written by Sen. Kyl and also includes praise from Sen. Joe Lieberman, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ambassador David Friedman, Prof. Alan Dershowitz and others including Rabbi Efrem Goldberg and Rabbi Steven Pruzansky.

Asked to identify a few notable revelations in the book, Weiss and Grunstein cited the following:

  • The book provide a concise summary of nine points in early 20th-century history, before the State of Israel was established, where the rights of the Jewish people to reconstitute their national homeland in Israel were legally recognized under international law, including in binding resolutions and treaties (Pages 363-365);
  • Statements by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt that demonstrate their support for establishing a Jewish commonwealth in Israel. The book also references similar statements (published elsewhere) by Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover (Page 30);
  • The minutes of the meeting of the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers, held in San Remo, Italy in 1920 after World War I reveal that the Council, after examining all claims, decided that title to Palestine was vested in the Jewish People (Pages 20-25);
  • A statement by a bipartisan group of 15 of the 25 members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 1939, urging the U.S. State Department to protest the United Kingdom’s illegal adoption of the White Paper, as a violation of the 1924 Anglo-American Treaty (Page 29);
  • Conclusive proof that claims that the Dome of the Rock is a mosque are erroneous (Pages 334-338) and excerpts from the Waqf’s 1925 official guide to the Temple Mount, stating in no uncertain terms that “its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” (Pages 448-449).

Weiss added that the book also points out that “it is noteworthy that Article 24 of the original PLO Covenant from 1964 stated that they make no claim to the West Bank and Gaza and the reference to the West Bank included East Jerusalem. They said this because Jordan occupied the West Bank at the time and they wanted it clear their sole goal was to destroy Israel.”

Asked about how they envision the impact of this book, Weiss said that they hope to see it regarded “as a one-of-a-kind resource” that will be used by Jewish high school and college students to fully understand the history of Israel and to prepare themselves for challenges to Israel’s legitimacy on college campuses. “This book can change the nature of the debates on campus.”

Weiss and Grunstein are pleased that the book has already received praise from readers, with one history teacher telling them that he intends to use excerpts in his classes; and an attorney, active in the Jewish community, who remarked: “I’ve been looking for the one book that can tell the whole story. This is it.” Grunstein shared that before it was published, they sent the book out for peer review by experts on the topic, and a few reviewers responded that they were not aware of some of the points of U.S. history that the authors documented.

“Because It’s Just and Right” can be purchased on Amazon. The website for the book is jerusalemrecognition.com

Harry Glazer is the Middlesex County editor of The Jewish Link. He can be reached at [email protected]

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