Hillary in 2000: Move Embassy to Jerusalem
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump made headlines last week when he announced his plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if elected as president. Senator Ted Cruz made this a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
But it appears that Hillary Clinton was the first 2016 presidential candidate to publicly support moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
In 1999, then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said “she considers Jerusalem to be the ‘eternal and indivisible capital of Israel’ and will be an active advocate – if elected to New York’s Senate seat – to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” CNN reported at the time.
In a letter to Dr. Mandell Ganchrow of the Orthodox Union on July 2, 1999, Clinton wrote: “If I am chosen by New Yorkers to be their senator, or in whatever position I find myself in the years to come, you can be sure that I will be an active, committed advocate for a strong and secure Israel, able to live in peace with its neighbors, with the United States Embassy located in its capital, Jerusalem.”
Congress’s Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 said that the U.S. Embassy should be moved to Jerusalem by May 1999. But in June 1999, President Bill Clinton used his waiver authority to freeze building funds and delay the move of the embassy to Jerusalem for what he said were national security reasons. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have since issued waivers at six-month intervals.
In July 2000, President Clinton told Israeli television that he is “considering the embassy’s relocation by the end of the year,” in what was described by The Associated Press as a move to help Hillary in her Senate bid. Hillary “has seized on the issue, staking out a pro-Israeli stance that goes beyond her husband’s,” AP reported. “Hillary Clinton said Saturday that the embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before year’s end.”
A recent Gallup poll showed that 24 percent of Americans support moving the Embassy to Jerusalem, 20 percent disagree with this proposal, and 56 percent don’t know enough about it to have an opinion.
Mrs. Clinton hasn’t taken a position on the issue – or for that matter on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – in 2016. In fact, on her 2008 campaign website – under the heading “Standing with Israel against terrorism” – her position paper stated, “Hillary Clinton believes that Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned.” The page does not exist in the revamped 2016 campaign site. Instead, a message pops up: “Oops, that link wasn’t what it was quacked up to be,” with a picture of Bill and Hillary posing with Donald Duck.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.