The Yahoo logo is shown at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
One of the beautiful things about weather is that it transcends borders. Clouds fly from one country to the other without passports or passing through customs – gently reminding us that we all share the same earthly home. What could be more universal than the very air we breathe and the weather that moves it? Unfortunately, it would seem the purveyors of our weather data missed that pastoral update on their radar.
I recently decided to check the weather in variety of locales in Israel. What I found is proof positive that the BDS (Boycott/Divest/Sanction) movement has managed to infect even the clouds. Using the online and app-based services of The Weather Channel and Yahoo, I discovered that these “gold standard” services make a very clear political statement by how they choose to, essentially, separate out the Jews from all others. Let’s go into the clouds and see how the latest iteration of the infamous selektzia works today: Arabs to the right, Jews to – well – nowhere.
Yahoo has the option of adding your selected locations to its weather map function on its website. When I sought to add Nablus, Abu Dis or Hizmah, they showed up on my list like this: “Abu Dis, West Bank, Palestine.” When I tried the same with Elon More or Alon Shvut, both were erased from my Yahoo list and defaulted to a listing of just “West Bank, Palestine” – while the name of the Jewish town is dropped. Ma’ale Adumim or Beitar Illit were both upgraded from statelessness but oddly listed as being in Jerusalem: “Maale Edomim (sic), Jerusalem, Israel.”
Yahoo is telling us that if you live in even a small Arab village over the so-called Green Line, you not only exist, but also belong to “Palestine.”
Some larger Jewish cities are magically attached to Jerusalem, erasing their true geographic location in the cradle of Jewish history.
All other Jewish towns are simply erased. To Yahoo’s credit, the Golan Heights is listed as being in Israel – but given their treatment of Jews in Judea and Samaria, that might not last for long once this article exposes their “faux pas” and they quickly bow to BDS-esque diktat.
Over at The Weather Channel, things get even more unbalanced and rank with blatant anti-Jewish discrimination by cartography. Kiryat Shmona and Tel Aviv do just fine. Kiryat Arba is disappeared – along with any other Jewish locale in Judea and Samaria whatsoever. Nablus, Abu Dis, Hizma, Surif, etc., are granted full existence by the Weather Channel, which lists them thus: “Abu Dis, West Bank, West Bank.” While the Israeli Druze village of Majdal Shams in listed as being in “Al Qunaytirah, Syria,” the Jewish locales in the Golan are as erased as their sister communities in Judea and Samaria.
I emailed a query to both Yahoo and The Weather Company, which runs The Weather Channel and Weather Underground. Yahoo did not answer but the Weather Company answered with the following: “Hi Daniel, The weather.
com team has not yet added these settlements to the location master list available to the public, but they do exist. This is a technical decision, not political. Because these areas are outside the country boundaries of Israel, our location master list breaks up the spatial relationship.
Adding them would create problems for other users, so our team is working to avoid that. The team is transitioning to different back-end tools that will soon allow these locations to be present within the technical capabilities of the site infrastructure. I hope that helps, and thanks for reaching out.”
I followed up by asking exactly how adding the Jewish locales would create “problems for other users.” Their answer: “The location hierarchy within the site is built on a country-state-city hierarchy, so we believe using an existing country code within the site would be less desirable than waiting to transition to our new location master, when we can add them more appropriately.
Again, no specific timeline for that, but it is in the pipeline for the first half of the year and is being worked on.”
What? I will leave it to readers to decipher and decide if that answered my question – but it does sound like a promise worth checking on in a few months.
What is clear, however, is the fact that Jews in Judea and Samaria are being singled out for “erasure” while their Arab neighbors are endowed with full-fledged geographic and national existence.
Truly, both are in a certain limbo insofar as Israel has not yet annexed the area and “Palestine” is not truly a state. Yet, despite the shared grayness, Yahoo and The Weather Company are clearly taking sides in the dispute.
If weather services cannot acknowledge even the existence of Jews in their ancient historic homeland, then the “weatherman” is an accomplice to furthering the historical injustice of denying the deep and intrinsic ties of the Jewish nation to its homeland. Arcane corporate justifications aside, such glaring imbalance can only serve, even if only in a small way, to solidify both global anti-Semitism and Arab intransigence.The writer lives in Gush Etzion where he offers marriage and family therapy based on the Crucible Approach and is a partner in Zikit: The Challenge Company.