HR Comment: Righting a Capital Offense

Avoiding the case reaching a courtroom, the PCC voided its own ruling, effectively forcing the Guardian to admit that it was wrong to call Tel Aviv Israel’s capital.

The case continues so that we may drive the final nail into the coffin of the PCC’s original decision by forcing it to issue a concrete ruling stating once and for all that Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital.

While this may not be the panacea we would like regarding the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, sensible readers will draw the correct conclusion. By eliminating Israel’s second city, by default there can be only one place that could be considered the capital.

But our victory raises a troubling question.

Considering that the status of Jerusalem and the importance of accurate reporting on Israel are issues of relative consensus within the UK’s Jewish community, why was HonestReporting the only organization concerned enough to take up the case on Israel’s behalf? No wonder the Guardian, BBC and others feel virtually immune when it comes to reporting with undisguised antipathy towards Israel.

Only three complaints against the Guardian, including ours, were lodged with the PCC. There were none from any other Jewish or pro-Israel organizations, which must have left the PCC feeling under far less pressure when it deliberated on the issue.

Making Israel’s case and standing up for what is right did not require cross-communal mobilization or a march on Downing Street. Just a simple examination of the facts and a willingness to take action were all that was necessary – yet these were evidently absent from the agendas of the UK’s Jewish leadership.

It’s time for a change. HonestReporting’s success is but a small one in the overall scheme of things. But a victory is a victory and we should savor them when we can.

The Guardian has received a bloody nose this time round. Let’s make sure that it and the PCC know that defenders of proper journalistic standards and Israel will not give a free pass to anti-Israel inaccuracies and delegitimization in the press.