In response to the BBC’s intentional refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli Olympians have responded with their dismay.
The Chairman of Israel’s Olympic Committee declared, “Our goal is to tell the whole world that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” and another Israeli Olympic representative said, “Representing Israel and its capital Jerusalem is important to us. This is the most important place for us and inspires us to succeed in the games.”
Many Israeli Olympic athletes have responded in a video paying tribute to their capital city, stating things like, “I am representing Israel and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”
The widow of one of the Israeli athletes who was murdered at the Munich Olympic games lamented, “I think it’s absurd that the BBC decided not to refer to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Jerusalem, in the State of Israel, is my capital and the capital of the Jewish people.”
BBC created the controversy several days ago when it intentionally omitted any reference to Israel having a capital city on its Olympics country profile page, while at the same time listing “East Jerusalem” as the capital of “Palestine.”
Last week, a spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minster’s office wrote a letter to the BBC asking it to correct this situation, noting, “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.”
In fact, the omission of Israel’s capital was not the only insult to Israel on the BBC’s website. The image selected for the Israel Country Profile portrayed Israel as a place of conflict, whereas the images of Israel’s “neighbors were touristic in character.”
While the BBC replaced the picture and removed “East Jerusalem” as the “Capital” of the Palestinian Territory, it further compounded the problem and made clear the intentionality of its insult to Israel and the Israeli people.
Instead of listing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it used its Olympics website to make a political statement, listing Jerusalem as the “Seat of government” of Israel and listed “East Jerusalem” as the “intended seat of government” of the Palestinian Territory, not even a recognized nation.
The spirit of the Olympic games and basic respect for the nations of the world dictates a higher level of integrity from the largest broadcaster in the world.
As the Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesman said yesterday in their latest letter to the BBC, “If all countries mentioned have their capital listed, surely Israel deserves the same consideration.”