US Visa Website Won’t Call Israel by Name; Specifies Only ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Tel Aviv’
The official U.S. Visa Service for foreign citizens website, to help them travel to the United States, is surprisingly not part of a government Internet domain. Apparently this service has been outsourced by the US government to another firm, possibly the Computer Sciences Corporation.
It really is the official US visa site, though, and a number of US Embassy and consulate webpages point there. This one says explicitly that it is “the ONLY authorized website for the payment of visa fees.”
The reason this is interesting is the page from this official visa site that offers individuals to choose which country they are from:
Three of the entries don’t have flags associated with them.
Two aren’t even a country, but two cities without any apparent link to any country.
It is offensive enough to have the US not identify Jerusalem — any of Jerusalem — as being inside Israel.
But Tel Aviv?
Are they that afraid of offending Arabs and Israel-haters that they cannot even mention the name Israel?
When you click through to either the Tel Aviv or Jerusalem links, both take you to the same page — a page that again cannot say the word “Israel.”
It is true that the US consulate in Jerusalem is mainly concerned with Palestinian Arab affairs. But it is more offensive to eliminate Israel altogether than it would be for the site to say “Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
But if Israel were mentioned, Palestinian Arabs would be far more upset than Israelis would be for pretending Israel doesn’t exist. So this site used by the US embassies and consulates worldwide decided it is better to offend Israelis by pretending it doesn’t exist than to offend Palestinians by saying Israel does exist.
This is also apparently the logic behind not including a flag for Cyprus. Sure it offends Cypriots, but when Turkish people get upset, they get far more upset. Better to eliminate the flag rather than risk the wrath of the Turks.
This website is a perfect example of Western dhimmitude — so sensitive to the possibility of upsetting Muslims that it pro-actively offends non-Muslims to head off even the slightest chance of ugliness.