Aug 8 2012
Pro-Israel group, Honest Reporting, gets The Guardian to retract claim that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel
However…..they still refuse to acknowledge that Jerusalem is. The Guardian has retracted its claim that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel, saying we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country’s financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital.
Honest Reporting Back in May, The Guardian posted a photo of passengers on Jerusalem’s light rail observing a minute’s silence for Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. The caption, however, prompted a “correction” from The Guardian, which had originally (and correctly) referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: The caption on the photograph below featuring passengers on a tram in Jerusalem observing a two-minute silence for Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, wrongly referred to the city as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is.” (Eyewitness, 20 April, page 24).
• A correction to a picture caption said we should not have described Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. It went on to relay the advice in our style guide that the capital was Tel Aviv. In 1980 the Israeli Knesset enacted a law designating the city of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, as the country’s capital. In response, the UN security council issued resolution 478, censuring the “change in character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem” and calling on all member states with diplomatic missions in the city to withdraw. The UN has reaffirmed this position on several occasions, and almost every country now has its embassy in Tel Aviv. While it was therefore right to issue a correction to make clear Israel’s designation of Jerusalem as its capital is not recognised by the international community, we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country’s financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital. The style guide has been amended accordingly.
Believing The Guardian to be in clear breach of the UK Press Complaints Commission clause on accuracy, HonestReporting submitted an official complaint. To our astonishment, the PCC ruled in favor of The Guardian, stating that the newspaper was entitled to refer to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital and was not in breach of accuracy clauses.
Despite the fact that there is no recourse for appealing a PCC ruling, HonestReporting was not prepared to let this stand. Advised by UK solicitors Asserson Law Offices, we launched legal proceedings against the PCC with the threat of a judicial review of the PCC’s decision.
In response to HonestReporting’s pressure on the PCC, The Guardian backed down from its claim, issuing a correction. It also changed its style guide, which had stated that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel, to reflect the correction.
Although The Guardian has been forced to withdraw its absurd suggestion regarding the status of Tel Aviv, the wording of The Guardian’s correction has not been agreed after the newspaper unilaterally terminated its negotiations with HonestReporting. HonestReporting still awaits a new ruling from the PCC to replace the faulty decision it issued in May and agreed to reconsider in July.
HonestReporting’s CEO Joe Hyams said in response:
This correction is a significant achievement against a newspaper that has been a major contributor to the broader delegitimization of Israel in the UK and beyond.
It is shocking that it has taken the threat of legal action to reverse a decision that was not based on reality. Nonetheless, it was vital that HonestReporting took on The Guardian and the PCC as a matter of principle, particularly at a time when Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital is increasingly being called into question by the media.
Now that The Guardian has admitted that it was wrong, we call on the PCC to issue a new ruling categorically stating that Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital so that it is clear to the British media that it will not be allowed to repeat this error.