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Journalists Using Israel-Hamas War as a Pretext For Claiming Tel Aviv is Israel’s Capital

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Still 'fine-tuning' our process. You can get to the original article HERE

Reprinted from Honest Reporting.

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Just over a decade ago, HonestReporting achieved significant success in changing the way The Guardian reports on Israel, setting a journalistic precedent in the UK.

Following a complaint to the then-UK media regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC)—which included launching legal action to pressure the PCC to enforce its own rules—The Guardian officially acknowledged that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel.

While it was, sadly, a stretch too far for The Guardian to recognize Jerusalem’s status, the newspaper nevertheless updated its style guide. Since then, we have only had to complain to Guardian editors on a handful of occasions when a reporter has erroneously stated that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital in news copy (see here and here).

It is a similar story with other international media outlets which, depending on their editorial policies, normally either refer to Jerusalem as the capital or avoid mentioning Israel’s capital city at all.

Related reading: Deal With It: Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital

However, since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of publications “mistakenly” describing Tel Aviv as the capital.

Since October 7, media organizations including CNN, The New York Times, The Daily Mail, The Times of London, The Independent, and The Telegraph have all made this error. Worryingly, several of them have failed to issue corrections, citing specious grounds.

Although the majority of outlets have swiftly responded to HonestReporting’s request for a correction, the Daily Mail was one of the publications that refused to amend several of its pieces, arguing that Israel’s military headquarters are based in Tel Aviv, which is where decisions relating to the war have been made.

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It is the very definition of the publication getting off on a technicality: the IDF’s HQ is physically located in Tel Aviv.

So even though Israel’s war cabinet headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frequently convenes in Jerusalem and the holy city remains Israel’s capital, some journalists have asserted their use of “Tel Aviv” as a synonym for Jerusalem strictly refers to from where military decisions are emanating.

Of course, HonestReporting has disputed this point and secured numerous corrections in the process.

Concerning British media outlets, we have referred to the fact that the United Kingdom does not recognize Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, while the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital city in 2017.

In addition, no United Nations resolution has ever determined that Tel Aviv is, or should be, the capital of Israel.

The reality is that Jerusalem has always been Israel’s capital and the city is home to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the Supreme Court of Israel, the Prime Minister and President’s official residences, the Bank of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Capital cities are chosen by sovereign states — as is their right. They are not determined by interfering outsiders who think they can simply reimagine Israel’s geography.

It would be both baffling and inaccurate if Israeli journalists suddenly started referring to New York as the US capital in news stories, or used Manchester as a synonym for London when writing about British politics.

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Why, then, do some journalists find it acceptable to make similar errors with Israel?

Found this article informative? Follow the HonestReporting page on Facebook to read more articles debunking news bias and smears, as well as others explaining Israel’s history, politics, and international affairs. Click here to learn more!

Honest Reporting is a website that seeks to bring balance to the left slant in the major news media.

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