Jerusalem stateless in int'l Monopoly

Reference to Israel removed from poll to select cities in new version; Hasbro: It was a mistake.

monopoly 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
monopoly 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The battle for Jerusalem took a new direction this week, when a reference to Israel was removed from an on-line poll to select the cities to be featured in the international version of the popular Monopoly board game. As Jerusalem climbed the ranks, making it to fourth place in an Internet vote to determine the 10 cities out of a list of 68 to be featured on the new version of the game, it lost an essential component: its country. From Tuesday until Wednesday afternoon, Jerusalem was the only city to be listed without a location. Unlike Paris, France; Montreal, Canada; and Riga, Latvia; Jerusalem stood on its own as a city with no homeland. However, following complaints, all country names were removed from the list on Wednesday. The Israeli Consulate expressed satisfaction with Hasbro's decision to remove all country references, and even took credit for the change. When Israel was the only country name missing from the list, Assaf Shariv, the consul-general in New York, had said his office was working with Hasbro to return Israel to the Monopoly running. "We are weighing all options available to us, including legal action," he said. According to a Hasbro Company spokesman Wayne Charness, Israel was removed from the list by a mid-level employee following a slew of e-mails from angry Palestinians, when no one in upper management was there to handle the situation. "As I understand it, that mid-level employee made a regrettable decision without talking to anybody before it," Charness said. In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Hasbro said its Parker Brothers subsidiary had never intended to print any country names on the final boards, and that all on-line tags were used as "geographic reference" points. "We would never want to enter into any political debate," the statement said. "We apologize for any upset this has caused our Monopoly fans and hope that they continue to support their favorite cities." The campaign to get Jerusalem on the Monopoly board is being run primarily by the consulate in Manhattan. But also making an effort in this direction is One Jerusalem - the group set up seven years ago to promote retaining Israeli sovereignty over every part of the city and to counter any deal with the Palestinians that would do otherwise. Yehiel Leiter, One Jerusalem's director-general (and a former bureau chief to Binyamin Netanyahu), told the BBC this week that his organization was supporting the Global Monopoly campaign because it "puts Jerusalem on the table. It has people not avoid Jerusalem because it's contested."