BBC lists Israel's capital as J'lem after complaint

No capital had been listed on BBC's Israel Olympic country profile; East Jerusalem listed as "intended" seat for Palestine.

July 19, 2012 18:40
1 minute read.

BBC 521. (photo credit: Reuters)


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The Prime Minister’s Office launched a campaign last week to get the BBC to recognize that Israel too, like all other countries participating in the Olympics, actually has a capital.

The effort began last Thursday when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev wrote a letter to the director of the BBC’s bureau in Israel, Paul Danahar, complaining that in its website listing of countries participating in the upcoming Olympics, Israel is included but – unlike all other countries in the world – there is no listing of a capital.

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To add insult to injury, Palestine appeared on the site with its capital listed as “East Jerusalem.”

“I am dismayed by the BBC’s decision to discriminate against Israel on the BBC’s Olympic website,” Regev wrote.“Every country (and non-country) participating in the London 2012 games has been given a page on your website with background information about the country, including mention of the capital city. Every country (and non-country), except Israel.”

“Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel, and accordingly we respectfully request the immediate rectification of this matter,” he added.

Following the letter, the BBC did make some changes.

In the newest edition of the Israel entry, Jerusalem is entered as the “seat of government,” with the proviso that “most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.”


The “Palestine” entry was also altered and now reads that “East Jerusalem” is the “intended seat of government.”

Ramallah, the entry read, “serves as administrative capital.” Palestine, according to the site, “is recognized as a competing [Olympic] country by the IOC [International Olympic Committee] but is not recognized as a modern state.”

This change was not satisfactory for Jerusalem. Regev, in a follow-up letter, made clear that for Israel “seat of government” was not acceptable, and he would appreciate if “Israel’s capital be identified accurately on your website.”

Regev was notified that this was the BBC’s policy, and that there would be no further changes. He said that the government would continue to pursue the matter further.Click for full JPost coverage

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