BBC News gets Israel’s capital city right – and then ‘corrects’

The saga of the BBC’s persistent refusal to tell its audiences that the capital city of Israel is Jerusalem is of course already long. Its most recent chapter began with a television report broadcast on BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ on October 14th.

As seen in the video below, diplomatic correspondent Mark Urban rightly referred to Jerusalem as “Israel’s capital” towards the end of the report (6:57).

Two days later, the following announcement appeared on the BBC’s online ‘corrections & clarifications’ page.

Urban report 14 10

The BBC is not the first UK media organization to publish such a ‘correction’.  

Those following the link in that announcement will find the following:

“The BBC does not call Jerusalem the ‘capital’ of Israel, though of course BBC journalists can report that Israel claims it as such. If you need a phrase you can call it Israel’s ‘seat of government’, and you can also report that all foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv. This position was endorsed by the findings of a BBC Trust complaints hearing published in February 2013.”

Those wishing to understand why the BBC refuses to call even the parts of Jerusalem which were not occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967 the capital of Israel can find the background to that policy decision here.

““The [BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards] Committee noted that while there is no expectation that in a two-state solution West Jerusalem would become Palestinian territory, a UN resolution passed in 1947 has not been rescinded. It calls for the whole of Jerusalem to be an international city, a corpus separatum (similar to the Vatican City), and in that context, technically, West Jerusalem is not Israeli sovereign territory. “

Yes, you read that correctly: the highest BBC body charged with ensuring the corporation’s adherence to editorial standards (including those of accuracy and impartiality) claims that the 1947 UN Partition Plan – aka UN GA resolution 181– has some sort of relevance or validity and based upon that gross misinterpretation, presumes to dictate that a city in which there has been a Jewish majority since the nineteenth century “is not Israeli sovereign territory”.”

On the scale of pomposity it is rather difficult to decide which is more jarring: the BBC’s belief that it is qualified to dictate what is – or is not – the sovereign territory and the capital city of a foreign country or the corporation’s no less bizarre belief that it has both the authority and expertise to decide what is – and is not – antisemitism. 

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8 comments on “BBC News gets Israel’s capital city right – and then ‘corrects’

  1. Furthermore:
    (a) Britain recognised Jordan’s self-declared annexation of Jerusalem, implying that Britain itself considers the Partition plan to be a dead letter;
    (b) (As Judge Dan said) the BBC has described Bethlehem and other parts of the proposed corpus separatum as Palestinian;
    (c) None of this has anything to do with Israel’s self-determination of its own capital.

  2. If you would care to read the BIBLE you would know that the CAPITAL OF ISRAEL IS JERUSALEM. Solomon built GOD a temple there for worship. Palestine is the name the Romans gave Israel after they destroyed Jerusalem by fire in AD70. A simple study of GOD’S word is all you need to do.

  3. While UNGA resolution 181 was non-binding and rejected by the Arab countries who then went to war against the new State of Israel when the Mandate terminated, the resolution’s status of Jerusalem as a separate sovereign entity is not as most people understand it. Section III D clearly states that in no later than ten years (it could be less) the inhabitants of Jerusalem would vote on whether they wished to join either the Jewish or Arab state. The UN never suggested in that resolution that Jerusalem would forever be separate, like the Vatican.
    It seems evident that under Article 80 of the UN Charter, it had no power to impose any solution that would diminish the national rights of the “peoples” subject to existing Mandates – which, in this case, meant the Jewish people, not the Arabs. That the Jewish Agency was willing to compromise those rights in exchange for a state living in peace with its Arab neighbors is of no moment since that offer was rejected. A proper application of international law leads to the conclusion that, upon Israel’s successful independence, its sovereignty by law, extended to the borders of Mandate Palestine as they existed in 1948 – meaning Jordan was excluded. The still current doctrine of uti possidetis juris, developed in the 19th century to deal with the independence of Spanish colonies in South America, confirms this result and, as far as sovereignty is concerned, the country need not actually exert it throughout (as they may not then have the military or diplomatic power to do so), so long as they have not formally waived or abandoned such rights. By way of example – yes, I know they had no rights to begin with – the PLO’s 1964 Charter in Article 24 expressly abandoned any Palestinian claims of sovereignty to the territories of the former Mandate then held by Jordan and Egypt, the very land the World, with no sense of History or irony, calls “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

  4. It would stand to reason that if the BBC feels that Jerusalem is an international city and therefore cannot be Israel’s capital, then the eastern part of the city could not be an Arab capital either. They really need to work on their stories so that they hide at least some amount of anti-Semitism.

  5. Pingback: Absurdity of BBC’s ‘international law’ mantra exposed by Yolande Knell | BBC Watch

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