Jeopardy game show refuses to accept 'Palestine'

Popular show marks down 'Palestine' as answer for location of Church of the Nativity, accepts 'Israel' & angers pro-Palestinian activists

Gary Willig ,

TV Camera
TV Camera

Popular American game show Jeopardy raised the ire of pro-Palestinian activists after refusing to accept 'Palestine' as the location of the city of Bethlehem.

Contestants were asked 'where's that church' in one of the categories on Friday's show. The first question in the category was "Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity."

Contestant Katie Needle from Brooklyn was the first to answer, saying "what is Palestine?"

Host Alex Trebek declared the answer wrong. Contestant Jack McGuire then answered "Israel," which Trebek accepted.

The answer angered pro-Palestinian activists.

"This just shows how normalized the occupation and cleansing of the Palestinian people from the historical record has become," Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of Council of American Islamic Relations Arizona chapter, told Al Jazeera.

Pollster James Zogby tweeted that the answer was "an insult to history, reality, the thousands of oppressed Palestinians of Bethlehem."

Electronic Intifada associate editor Tamara Nassar told Al Jazeera that Jeopardy had become complicit in the "settler-colonial ideal of erasing Palestinians from their own cultural and religious sites - both in consciousness and in physical fact."

Omar Baddar, deputy director for the Arab American Institute, called the show's refusal to accept "Palestine" as the correct answer "unacceptable."

“Bethlehem is in the Palestinian territories which Israel illegally occupies (Katie Needle got the correct answer & was robbed),” Baddar wrote on Twitter. “Jeopardy owes an apology for endorsing Israel's universally-condemned illegal takeover of Palestinian lands.”

The Church of the Nativity is located in Bethlehem, a city in Judea which dates back to biblical times and has been under the control of the Palestinian Authority since the Oslo Accords in 1993.

Jeopardy is a trivia game show in which contestants are required to provide answers in the form of a question in response to clues in various categories.