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Gop Rep. Says He’s Determined to Force Democrats to Aside by Platform Plank on Jerusalem

June 26, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Although the House of Representatives defeated his attempts to have the Carter Administration move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by better than a 3-1 vote, Rep. Philip Crane (R.III.) served notice today in a floor speech that he will continue his effort at a time of his choosing. He had indicated earlier that he would seek further debate this week to pressure the Administration to abide by the Democratic Party platform on Jerusalem.

Crane, who had sought the Republican nomination for President and is now backing Ronald Reagan, brought about a long debate last Friday that found strong friends of Israel arguing against his action that included the point that his proposal would cause the State Department to close the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv without opening one in Jerusalem.

Crane used legislation for the State Department operational funds for an amendment that barred the use of more than $1000 toward expenses of the American Embassy in Israel outside of Jerusalem. In effect, this meant insufficient funds would be available to maintain the Embassy in Tel Aviv. The House rejected it 252-80.


Of the 22 Jewish members, three voted for the amendment: Rep. Sidney Yates (D.III.) and New York Republicans Benjamin Gilman and William Green. Among the 101 Congressmen not voting were Reps. Martin Frost (D.Tex.), Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY), Ken Kramer (R.Colo.), Ted Weiss (D. NY), and Lester Wolff (D.NY). The other 14 Jewish Congressmen opposed the amendment.

Unusual voting marked the proceedings. Millicent Fenwick (R.NJ) an ardent friend of Israel, and Rep. Paul Findley (R.III.), an advocate of U.S. recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization, both opposed Crane’s amendment. Republican House leader John Rhodes of Arizona favored it, while Democratic leader Jim Wright of Texas did not vote. Rep. Robert Lagomarsino (R.Col.), who with Sen. John Warner (R.Va.) is co-chairman of the foreign policy unit of Congressmen for Reagan, also voted for the amendment. A majority of the 80 proponents were Republican.

Crane’s amendment was offered while the Democratic Party platform writers wrangled over the plank on the status of Jerusalem, which they finally resolved after the House had voted on the Crane amendment. While some opponents of his amendment argued it was politically inspired, Crane responded that it harmonized with the Democratic Party’s platform of 1976. The Republican’s platform plank on Jerusalem for 1980 has not yet been formulated.

Crane, who was aided in the debate mainly by Gilman and Rep. Robert Doman (R.Col.) pointed to the Democratic pledge on Jerusalem. He said that “While not in the habit of encouraging compliance with the Democratic platform,” he was “emphatically” urging both Democrats and Republicans “to heed this succinct and persuasive policy statement.”

Gilman said “It makes no sense to continue this double standard of support for Israel with its capital in Jerusalem while our Ambassador remains in Tel Aviv.”

Observing that the U.S. has consulates in “Jerusalem” and “East Jerusalem,” Doman said this situation is “unique in all the world for U.S. consulates” and that “inside Jerusalem” Americans are “working at cross-purposes.” The East Jerusalem consulate, Doman said, “does not answer to our Embassy in Tel Aviv.” That is “a dangerous situation,” he said, and “upsetting the Israeli government a lot.”


Addressing opponents of the Crane amendment as facing “a brutal decision” on whether a “vote either way would endanger Israel, ” Doman said, “As a non-Jew, you do not speak for most Israelis. They want our Embassy in their capital city. Period. However, they are afraid they are going to be Formalized, Nicaragua-ized, Vietnam-ized and moniously dumped for oil.”

Rep. Stephen Solarz (D.NY), who led the opposition, said that the Crane amendment “really has to be one of the most incredibly irresponsible approaches to an extraordinarily complex problem which has ever been put before this House.” He noted, “no effort was made” by Crane “to consult with those members of the House who have been most closely and deeply involved in this issue.” Solarz added: “Many of the members may think the American Embassy should be in Jerusalem, but we all know that the Administration is not about to go in and move the Embassy to Jerusalem. So what would be the consequence of this amendment? It would not be to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem. It would be to close down the American Embassy in Tel Aviv and the last thing any of us want to do is to close down the American Embassy in Israel.”

Rep. James Scheuer (D.NY), while opposing the Crane amendment, agreed with Dornan’s criticism of two U.S. consulates in Jerusalem.

At the State Department today, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was told that U.S. government policy is to maintain the Embassy in Tel Aviv and “there is no change in that policy nor in the policy of continuance of two consulates in Jerusalem.”

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