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BBC Still Playing Games with Jerusalem's Status

Olympic website says Jerusalem is the "seat of government," Israel pressing it to write "capital."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/22/2012, 9:51 PM

Walls of Jerusalem at night
Walls of Jerusalem at night
courtesy of Chabad.org

The British Broadcasting Corporation is using its 2012 Olympics website to poke its finger into Israel's eye, refusing to describe Jerusalem as Israel's capital in Israel's country profile

Israel's profile says Jerusalem is the "seat of government," then adding, "though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv."

Initially, Israel was not even listed as having a capital, while the capital of "Palestine" was described as "East Jerusalem," but public outcry and a formal complaint by Israel's government prodded the BBC into adding the qualified description above.

Israel is still unhappy with the description, however, and is fighting back with a Facebook campaign and diplomatic pressure.

Minister of Culture and Sports Limor Livnat contacted International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative Alex Giladi Sunday and demanded that pressure be put on the BBC to write that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.

Giladi said he would have Mark Adams, Head of the IOC's Communications Department, ask the BBC to put the definitions in their site in sync with those in the IOC's. Livnat said: "I thank Alex Giladi who took action quickly and determinedly, and I hope his efforts succeed and the BBC will fix that which is skewed."

There was similar hanky panky with the official London Olympics website three months ago. On that site, too, Israel started out having no capital city but eventually, Israel's capital was listed as Jerusalem and it was "Palestine" that was featured without a capital city.