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July 24, 2012 10:43 am

Mayors of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Join Struggle Against BBC Bias (VIDEO)

avatar by Ezriel Gelbfish

Tel Aviv beach. Photo: wiki commons.

The mayors of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as senior members of Israel’s delegation to the London Olympics, have joined Israel’s efforts to have the country’s capital correctly labelled as Jerusalem, after a BBC website refused to designate the city as such. Tel Aviv houses most foreign embassies in Israel, but Jerusalem holds Israel’s Knesset and is considered the historical center of the State of Israel.

“The city of Tel Aviv is one of the coolest cities in the world. We are Israel’s financial center and cultural center” said Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv. “But there’s one thing we are not: We are not Israel’s capital.”

Huldai’s comments came among a wave of backlash against the BBC’s denial of Jerusalem’s status on their special 2012 Olympics website established to follow the games which are scheduled to start later this week. The website originally labelled East Jerusalem as the capital of ‘Palestine,’ and neglected to mention a capital for Israel altogether, but after the Prime Minister of Israel’s office objected, the listing was changed to mirror that of the BBC’s main website, which denotes Jerusalem as Israel’s “seat of government , though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.” The Prime Minister’s Office objected to those changes as well, and sent a second letter to the BBC’s office, in which PMO spokesman Mark Regev wrote “I kindly request that Israel’s capital be identified accurately on your website.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was similarly critical of the BBC’s decision. “We will not accept those who deny our history, our sovereignty, and our right to determine our own capital” said Barkat.  “Irrespective of the BBC’s political agenda, Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of Israel and the spiritual, political, and physical center of the Jewish people.”

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Other protests against the British broadcaster have come from Jewish and Israeli olympians who have declared in video clips their love for Jerusalem and explain its importance to Israel. In one of them, Gili Lustig, professional manager of Israel’s Olympic delegation, said Jerusalem “is the most important place for us and inspires us to succeed in the Games.”

A video of Tel Aviv’s Mayor Huldai speaking on the topic can be viewed below.

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