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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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BBC Olympics Site Revokes Jerusalem’s Status as Israel’s Capital


Shahar Zubari is part of the Israeli Olympic team in London. But London has been unable to tell the difference between a real country (Israel) and an imagined one (Palestine).

Shahar Zubari is part of the Israeli Olympic team in London. But London has been unable to tell the difference between a real country (Israel) and an imagined one (Palestine).
Photo Credit: Noam Moskowitz/Flash90

At this year’s Olympics in London, there will be some unusual competitors. For one thing, for the first time there will be an Olympic competitor without a country. For another, there will be an Olympic team with a country, but no capital.

Guor Marial is a sleek runner from the newly-formed country of South Sudan. His country seceded from Sudan in a bloody civil war and is so new it has not yet had time to create a national Olympic committee.

The International Olympic Committee decided to allow Marial to compete as an independent athlete in clothing that does not have any flag or national identification. He will race under the Olympic flag.

Less heartwarming is the decision by the BBC, which won the right to broadcast the Olympic games, to present Israel to the world as a country without a capital.

Jerusalem originally showed up on the official website as the capital of a country, but it was East Jerusalem, and the capital was “Palestine,” not Israel.

Following complaints filed last week by Mark Regev, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Olympics site was changed. Now Jerusalem does not appear as the actual capital of any country at all. Israel, shorn of its capital, appears with the cumbersome and questionable listing as having its “seat of government is Jerusalem though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv.” And as for “Palestine,” its key fact is that its “intended seat of government is East Jerusalem.” For now, however, it at least has an “administrative capital” which is Ramallah.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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