Guardian Retracts Tel Aviv Capital Claim

Paper Retreats Under Pressure Over Jerusalem

By JTA

Published August 08, 2012.
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The Guardian newspaper retracted its claim that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel after a watchdog group filed a lawsuit against Britain’s Press Complaints Commission.

In May, The Guardian posted a photo with a caption that referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The caption was later corrected, saying that it “wrongly referred to the city (Jerusalem) as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: ‘Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is.”

The watchdog group HonestReporting filed a complaint with the UK Press Complaints Commission, which ruled that the newspaper could refer to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital and was not in breach of accuracy clauses.

HonestReporting then launched legal proceedings against the commission.

Under pressure from the commission, The Guardian issued a correction and changed its style guide. The correction does, however, assert that Israel’s designation of Jerusalem as its capital is not recognized by the international community.

The correction, issued Wednesday, read that “A correction to a picture caption said we should not have described Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. It went on to relay the advice in our style guide that the capital was Tel Aviv. In 1980 the Israeli Knesset enacted a law designating the city of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, as the country’s capital. In response, the UN Security Council issued resolution 478, censuring the ‘change in character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem’ and calling on all member states with diplomatic missions in the city to withdraw. The UN has reaffirmed this position on several occasions, and almost every country now has its embassy in Tel Aviv. While it was therefore right to issue a correction to make clear Israel’s designation of Jerusalem as its capital is not recognized by the international community, we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country’s financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital. The style guide has been amended accordingly.”

HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams called on the commission “to issue a new ruling categorically stating that Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital so that it is clear to the British media that it will not be allowed to repeat this error.”


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