When it comes to Israel, the BBC never seems to be able to get its story straight. Not long ago the BBC released country profiles for every participant in the London 2012 Olympics. Israel was listed without a capital. The Palestinian was granted East Jerusalem. After some outcry the BBC updated the pages, but the result was less than fair. Palestine’s entry was updated to read “Intended seat of government: East Jerusalem. Ramallah serves as administrative capital.” Presumably Palestine’s claim to East Jerusalem trumps any facts on the ground. Israel’s entry suffered from this mealy-mouthed revision: “Seat of government: Jerusalem, though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.”
Let’s give other countries the BBC treatment. Great Britain’s capital is listed as London. That is certainly true, but the seat of government is not the City of London. The seat of government is actually the City of Westminster, where Parliament meets. The BBC doesn’t contain such a disclaimer for the United Kingdom. Nor does it address the fact that Argentina claims the Falkland Islands from Great Britain. Were the BBC to apply the same standards to the United Kingdom as it did to Israel, Argentina’s map would be considerably more detailed. Countries like Turkey would read “Seat of government: Ankara, though most foreign embassies are in Constantinople.” Perhaps the state of Texas should demand to be listed separately.
It’s time that the BBC stops applying a different standard to Israel and the rest of the world. An internationally regarded news outlet like the BBC should not be foregoing its role of news reporter and backing a specific political agenda.
John Michaelson is a military brat whose family hails from Texas. He is a trained journalist using these skills to promote Israel's interests online. At this time he is earning his doctorate in European History at a prominent university in England. This experience gives him insight into the way antisemitism too often pervades what passes for intellectual discussion in academia. When not writing for Act for Israel he can be found walking through the Peak District in England.