Saying that the 2012 Olympics in London should not be distorted by politics, the chief of an international litigation and policy organization is calling on the British Broadcasting Corp. to make corrections in its website – where Palestine is described as having its “intended capital” in East Jerusalem.
At the same time, the Israeli page notes that there is no “capital” but that its “seat of government” is in Jerusalem.
“Since King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Jerusalem has played a key role in the government, culture, religion and history of the Jewish nation,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city. The BBC should list this fact on its Olympics website, like it has done for every other country.
“The Olympics should transcend politics,” said Staver, whose organization is dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
The BBC site notes that for Israel, “most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.” But for Palestine, which is not a nation, the BBC announces the “intended seat of government” is East Jerusalem.
“Palestine is recognized as a competing country by the IOC but is not recognized as a modern state,” the site added.
According to Liberty Counsel, Mark Regrev, adviser of foreign press and public affairs at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Bureau, described the statements as “discrimination” in a letter to Paul Danahar, BBC Middle East bureau chief.
Before Israel’s protest, Liberty Counsel documented, the BBC website listed Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and omitted Jerusalem as the capital for Israel. While the photos identifying Iran, Syria and Libya depicted peaceful cultural scenes, the picture for Israel depicted an Israeli soldier confronting a protester.
“Following several letters from Mr. Regev, the BBC modified the website to list Jerusalem as the ‘Seat of government’ for Israel and Jerusalem as the ‘Intended seat of government’ for ‘Palestine.’ These changes are still not sufficient,” Liberty Counsel said.
“We cannot accept those who deny our history, our sovereignty, and our right to determine our own capital,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “Irrespective of the BBC’s political agenda, Jerusalem is, was, and always will be the capital of Israel.”