assportInteresting story from Ynet. An Israeli-born-Canadian citizen, Eliyahu Veffer, (like your favourite Muffti!) appealed to the court to allow the word ‘Israel’ to be written next to ‘Jerusalem” on his passport, indicating the capital. Why? Because Jerusalem is a disputed capital.

The fact that I was born there, in Israel, to me that’s a fulfillment of the Jews saying for years, thousands of years, ‘next year in Jerusalem…That had been fulfilled with me by being born there.

The Canadian Arab Federation, however, saw things differnt. As Faraj Nakhleh put it:

If he were born in Tel Aviv, it would have been fair – according to what Canada recognizes – to put Tel Aviv, Israel. The gentleman in question was born in a disputed city. Canada recognizes Jerusalem as a city under military occupation.

The court defended its decision on two fronts: first, the Canadian government doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to Jerusalem and thus the court worried that any decision but what it came up with would weaken the effect of that position. Second, the decision isn’t discriminatory: no Muslim or Christian born in Jerusalem has the right to put ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ on their passport either. Dubious reasoning? You be the judge. Muffti gets easily confused by the polysemy of ‘equality’ too often to know.

The judge claimed:

…passports do not deal with, nor are they a reflection of, a person’s roots, heritage or belief.

If only that were true, Justice Konrad von Finckenstein, if only that were true. See the CBC for more information.

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4 Comments

  • Don´t you think your criticism should be addressed to the government of Canada and its foriegn policy decisions and not a court which should be an arbitrator of legal situations and not servers of plaintifs personal desires?
    Out of curiosity can palestinians get passports that state that they are born in Jerusalem, Palestine? Or would it be Kingdom of Jordan or something?

  • Good point, JC! Muffti wasn’t actually criticizing: he thinks the court did its job given the mandate set by its government; though he’s a bit leery of the claims to equality.

    Muffti doesn’t know what you get if you are a plastinean. It’s a good question.

  • jc’s got a good point. And that’s how an American court would likely deal with the issue. The Canadian judges at least addressed the merits, affording the appellant some consolation, perhaps. But judges don’t print passports.

  • I read about this story years ago. Are they just now picking it up? I always wondered if the case got resolved.

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