A capital crisis

Israeli Olympians salute Jerusalem in viral campaign against the BBC.

Israeli flag at Olympic Village

By fifth grade most schoolchildren know the capitals of the world. So, when the BBC independently divided Jerusalem and earmarked ‘East Jerusalem’ as belonging to Palestine (which, it notes, is not recognized as a modern state), it made sense why Israel took offense. In fact, a student who checked into the BBC website for geography information three weeks ago would have found that East Jerusalem is the capital of yet-to-be-declared-an-official-state Palestine. A click over to Israel, which the BBC admits is a recognized state, and the same student would have found that Israel is the only country in the world without a capital city. Although slight adjustments have been made – East Jerusalem is no longer being called the capital of Palestine but rather the ‘intended seat of government’ – Israel is still lacking a capital. So, the Israeli Olympians took part in a video titled, ‘Viral Response to BBC’s Map: Olympic Team Salutes to Jerusalem.’ Last week, the Prime Minister’s Office turned to the BBC to get Jerusalem listed as its capital on the British network’s Olympic Website but was refuted. And so, according to the BBC, Israel is a country with its ‘seat of government’ in Jerusalem. But to make sure the broadcasting company is not accused of taking sides, heaven forbid, that remark comes with the stipulation that “most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.” The Olympics are supposed to be about sportsmanship and fair play. At least the Games are being conducted outside the BBC’s studios.

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.
  • heb macman

    They think that Israel should withdraw from so called “East Jerusalem”?!… Fine by me… Even the BBC is entitled to its opinion (a.k.a. “editorial policy”)… However, so called “West Jerusalem” (which is where the Israeli parliament and government offices are located) is Israeli territory even according to those who hold the 1949 ceasefire line (a.k.a. 1967 “border”) in esteem…
    Therefore it’s clear that this isn’t even about politics!… Designating a capital is a 100% purely domestic matter. The fact that the BBC thinks Israel, unlike any other sovereign nation, isn’t entitled to designate its own capital means that they somehow believe that Israel is not like other countries…It’s a condescending and, IMHO, a racist position!… Whether this position is guided by religion (“Christian Jerusalem”), antisemitism or rabid anti-Israelism is besides the point!…