May 7 2012
If zig-zagging were an Olympic sport, the website for the 2012 London Olympic Games would surely win a gold medal. Apparently, if they can’t make Jerusalem the capital of the non-existent state of Palestine, no other country will have a capital city either.
Israel Hayom (H/T Maritha) The Website for 2012 Olympic Games designates Jerusalem as capital of “Palestine,” does about-face and returns the holy city to Israel, then removes capitals from all countries • Israel said to be in Europe while neighboring “Palestine” is in Asia.
On Sunday, April 29th, when country profiles went up for the games’ participants, Jerusalem was named as the capital of “Palestine” while no seat of government was designated for Israel.
Following inquiries from reporters and others, the website was updated on Monday morning to show Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while “Palestine” was left without a capital.
Shortly after 12 p.m. Israel time Monday, there was a zig-zag of olympic proportions when all designations of capitals and currencies were removed from the Olympics website, and neither Israel nor “Palestine” had a capital.
Even more curiously, Israel was located in “Europe,” while “Palestine” was listed as part of Asia, despite the fact that the two land areas are adjacent.
“Palestine,” which is not officially recognized as a country by the U.N., was said to use the U.S. dollar as its currency. Although the Palestinian territories do receive ample amounts of U.S. dollars in aid, their official currency is the Jordanian dinar and, unofficially, the Israeli shekel.
A representative of the London 2012 press office said they would “look into” the reasons behind the multiple website amendments, but told Israel Hayom that “this is a new iteration of the website so it’s all changed over the weekend.”
Last Wednesday, another British institution, The Guardian newspaper, raised hackles when it corrected a caption describing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with the words: “The caption…wrongly referred to [Jerusalem] as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: ‘Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is.'”
Under the newspaper’s style guide section on “Jerusalem” is the following entry: “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is (a mistake we have made more than once).” (Jerusalem is, always has been, and always will be the capital of Israel)
A spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry told the Times of Israel, “It’s a shame a nonpolitical body makes the most absurd political statements.”
The spokesperson also intimated that Palestine had no place in the Olympics at all, as it has yet to be designated a nation state: “Some people don’t recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel, but to make a statement of recognizing a country that doesn’t exist? Absurd.”
The statement drew sharp reproach from Israeli officials. Foreign ministry deputy spokesperson Ilana Stein told The Times of Israel: “Actually, it’s the Guardian who owes an explanation to its readers for publishing something that cannot be described but as a blatant lie. When a claim is so factually wrong as to insult intelligence, then unfortunately the word ‘lie’ is not too harsh, and one cannot but wonder about the motivation of such a conceit.”
Last month, the US state department faced similar criticism, after an itinerary was printed for the deputy secretary of state, in which Jerusalem was denoted as located outside of Israel. The itinerary was corrected and reprinted, but the error drew questions from reporters on what the US believed to be the capital of the Jewish state. A spokesperson dodged the question, responding that the issue of Jerusalem sovereignty should be decided through continued negotiations between Israel and Palestine. It’s a stance that is echoed by a majority of modern governments, with most embassies in Israel located in Tel Aviv.