December 05, 2017

Moving the American Embassy: What You Need to Know

By Ilan Goldenberg

On Wednesday, the president may recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and possibly announce the movement of the American embassy to Jerusalem. While this may seem like a simple common sense move, in reality it is a politically loaded one that makes little sense in the current context.  

First, the obvious. Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel in any final agreement and already functions that way today. From a logistical perspective, there is a certain appeal to moving the embassy. American diplomats are constantly making the trek to Jerusalem to meet Israeli government officials, and the U.S. ambassador has long had a permanent hotel suite in Jerusalem as so much of the work happens in there.  In addition, the American embassy facilities in Tel Aviv are far below par compared to similar embassies in other important partner countries, which hurts the ability of American diplomats to function effectively. Nevertheless, the loaded politics around the embassy issue have prevented moving the embassy to a new facility. Obviously building a new embassy in Jerusalem comes with political baggage, but breaking ground on a replacement facility in Tel Aviv would also cause a massive political uproar in Israel. So from a logistical perspective, moving the embassy would make all the sense in the world.

Read the full commentary in the Israel Policy Forum's Matzav Blog.

  • Commentary
    • The Washington Post
    • July 2, 2020
    Recognizing the state of Palestine is the only appropriate response to Israeli annexation

    The Israeli government may begin taking steps toward unilaterally annexing portions of the West Bank soon. This move would present a grave threat to any possibility of a futur...

    By Ilan Goldenberg

  • Commentary
    • The Forward
    • June 26, 2020
    The U.S. greenlighting annexation is a greenlight for China’s abuses

    Across the sea from America, a leader who has been in power for more than a decade is laying the groundwork for a land grab. His military was always capable of imposing its wi...

    By ​Coby Goldberg

  • Commentary
    • Defense News
    • April 23, 2020
    How the US can learn from Israel to counter Iran

    During the COVID-19 crisis, one would have thought the United States and Iran would find ways to reduce tensions. Instead the Trump administration refuses to relax sanctions i...

    By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas

  • Reports
    • April 14, 2020
    Countering Iran in the Gray Zone

    American freedom of action to strike Iranian targets in the gray zone may be greater than previously assessed, if U.S. policymakers are willing and able to replicate at least ...

    By Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas & Jennie Matuschak

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia