Sen. Kirk sides with Israel, tweets 'disappointed' in BBC Olympics coverage

ADVERTISEMENT
Israel has protested the way the BBC lists the capital of Israel in their online Olympics coverage. The British public broadcaster originally left the capital of Israel blank on the country's page on the site. Following protests from Israeli officials, the page was changed to list Jerusalem as the country's "seat of government."

The BBC page also qualifies the designation by adding: "Though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.” Several British media outlets refer to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel, as ownership is a contested issue in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

But the Israeli government strongly objects to the BBC's decision.

“I am afraid that despite your efforts, Israel is still discriminated against on the BBC’s London 2012 Olympics website,” Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev wrote to the BBC following the first change. “Unlike all the other countries listed, in Israel’s case, our capital Jerusalem is not classified by the BBC as such but rather as a ‘Seat of government.’ I kindly request that Israel’s capital be identified accurately on your website.”

Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat also blasted the "political agenda" of the BBC in a press release.

Other Olympics pages simply list a "Capital" with the relevant city on the sidebar of the country's facts. Palestine's page reads, "Palestine is recognized as a competing country by the IOC [International Olympic Committee] but is not recognized as a modern state." The page originally listed East Jerusalem as the "capital" of Palestine, but now lists it as the "intended seat of government." According to an additional note on the page, "Ramallah serves as administrative capital."

Kirk, who suffered a stroke about six months ago, is still recovering in Chicago. In May, his office released a video of the freshman senator addressing his constituents and undergoing physical therapy. Netanyahu, in his speech at this year's AIPAC conference, wished Kirk a speedy recovery, calling him "a great friend of Israel."