Israeli officials here are furious with the BBC over what they say is more evidence of the news network's blatant anti-Israel bias. On its London Olympic Games website, the British Broadcasting Company is refusing to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Every other internationally recognized nation on the BBC's list has the heading "capital," followed by a name. But Jerusalem is described as a quote "seat of government." And that's after a change was made. On the BBC's first version of its Israel Olympic page, Jerusalem did not appear in the information section...Israel was listed as a country without a capital.
On a country that still does not exist, the BBC chose to give Palestine a quote "capital," calling it East Jerusalem. Israeli officials were incensed, accusing the BBC of pushing their own political position, discrimination and misinformation... Prime Minister Netanyahu got involved -- his spokesman Mark Regev drafted a letter to the BBC Bureau Chief in Israel, demanding a change. The letter stated that Jerusalem is the quote "capital of the State of Israel, and accordingly we respectfully request the immediate rectification of this matter." Israel always considered Jerusalem its capital, even before it captured parts of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. It later legally annexed the eastern section of the city. Most of the international community, including the U.S., considers Jerusalem a contested capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, a key demand in the peace negotiations.
Following the letter from the Prime Minister's office, the BBC changed both the Israel and Palestine country pages...the network still denied Israel a capital -- calling Jerusalem a seat of government and adding that most embassies are located in Tel Aviv... For many that change is unsatisfactory... On the Palestine page, the category of capital was replaced with the words "intended seat of government" and East Jerusalem is listed, along with Ramallah as the administrative capital. Explaining the impetus to make change, the BBC says an online lobby sent many complaints about the issue, but did not provide more specifics. So how does the BBC explain what happened? A BBC Olympic official said an error was made when the data was uploaded. Few Israelis believe the error was a technological accident. Instead it's seen as another glaring example of an anti-Israel bias in the foreign media.
Israeli officials and watchdog groups have had a number of gripes with the BBC over the years. Many accuse the BBC of slanting its reporting to deny Jewish rights to Jerusalem. One recent example that infuriated officials was the BBC's coverage of the horrific Fogel Family Murders in 2011. Young children had their throats slashed by Palestinian terrorists in the attack, but the story initially got put inside another story on settlements. When an article was finally written there were quotes put in the headline about the 5 Israelis killed as if it weren't fact...the BBC admitted that time that they got it wrong.
Jordana Miller, JN1, Jerusalem.