The BBC’s controversial decision to omit Israel’s capital of Jerusalem from the information on countries participating in the London Olympics has drawn a strong response from the Israeli government.
Government officials have sent several sharply-worded letters to the BBC demanding that it list Israel’s capital as it does for virtually every other country. It also launched a popular campaign on Facebook called Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel, inviting the public to join the effort. More than 16,000 already have.
To recap, the BBC initially left out any reference to an Israeli capital while simultaneously listing “East Jerusalem” as the capital of “Palestine.” The BBC then amended the listings in response to public outrage and a letter from Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
For detailed information on the BBC’s Olympic coverage, see HR’s last communique, BBC Olympic Coverage Declares East Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital.
The new text replaced the word capital with “Seat of Government” in Jerusalem, while adding that most foreign embassies “are in Tel Aviv.” It made a parallel change to the listing for “Palestine”, listing “East Jerusalem” as the “Intended seat of government.”
For HonestReporting and all those demanding the BBC print the truth about Israel, the change was not good enough. Seat of government is not the same as capital, and Mark Regev sent a second letter demanding that the BBC end the discrimination against Israel. “Unlike all other countries listed,” he wrote, “in Israel’s case, our capital Jerusalem is not classified by the BBC as such but rather as a “Seat of Government.””
The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, also issued a press release stating firmly that “irrespective of the BBC’s political agenda, Jerusalem always was, is, and will be the capital of Israel and the spiritual, political, and physical center of the Jewish people.”
As of this writing, the BBC continues to discriminate against Israel by treating it differently than every other country competing in the London Olympics.
Don’t let the media delegitimize Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital. Take action now and support Israel’s demand that the BBC corrects its error. Send your complaints directly to BBC Sport.
Don’t forget to join the Facebook campaign to publicly demonstrate against the BCC along with thousands of others. And see HR’s Jerusalem Resource Page for more information about Israel’s claim to the city.