What the Guardian can teach the Czech Ministry of Education about Israel

When we’re asked to name some of the more egregious examples of Guardian bias against Israel, often the first incident we mention involves their record on misinforming readers about the nation’s capital.  For many years, not only did Guardian journalists refuse to acknowledge that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, but in fact told readers that Tel Aviv held that designation.  The Guardian even codified this “fact” in their official Style Guide.

Here’s the Style Guide entry for Jerusalem, from a snapshot taken in 2012.

Guardian editors even “corrected” a photo caption in 2012, which “falsely” suggested that Jerusalem was the Israeli capital. (See more background on this “correction” here.)

Just to be clear: The Guardian wasn’t merely telling readers that most in the international community don’t officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and that most countries locate their embassy – for political reasons involving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – in Tel Aviv. They were being completely untruthful in claiming that Tel Aviv was in fact Israel’s capital.  Of course, as anyone knows, regardless of the official status of the city, Jerusalem is where the Israeli seat of government is located, including the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.

However, it wasn’t until action by a media watchdog forced the Guardian to back down and acknowledge (in an official correction) that they were wrong to say that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.  They don’t now say that Jerusalem is the capital, but now acknowledge in their revised Style Guide that Jerusalem is the seat of government, and no longer claim that Tel Aviv is the capital. Indeed, we recently prompted a correction when a Guardian journalist initially implied that Tel Aviv was the capital. 

When you consider the Guardian’s historic hostility to Israel, especially back then, their decision to back down implicitly represented an acknowledgement that – regardless of their views on the issue – it is simply impossible to honestly defend the proposition that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.

Again, this was in 2012.

However, it now seems that Guardian editors may need to hold a master class on Israel for officials at the Czech Ministry of Education.

What we’re referring to are recent reports that, following complaints from the Palestinian Ambassador to Prague, the Czech Education Ministry decided that Tel Aviv will replace Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in Czech school atlases used by elementary and secondary school students. “The data in the atlas will be corrected as of the New Year,” a Prague news site quoted a Czech Education Ministry spokeswoman as saying. 

The spokeswoman went on to say that her country views “Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, i.e. the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine”, referring to the possibility that the a future peace agreement will render ‘west’ Jerusalem part of Israel, and ‘east’ Jerusalem part of the new Palestinian state.  

However, almost all Israeli government buildings are already located in ‘west’ Jerusalem (the portion of Jerusalem that was part of Israel since 1949).  So, the Czech Education Ministry could have simply characterized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or otherwise acknowledged (as the Guardian did) that Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, but that it this is disputed – and that it’s the official Czech position that the city should eventually be split and become both the Israeli and Palestinian capitals.

Regardless of how official government ministries – or media outlets – around the word decide to characterize the current status of Jerusalem in the context of their future vision for the region, to tell millions of students that Tel Aviv is in fact currently Israel’s capital is a categorical lie.  

It’s actually pretty astonishing that the Guardian is now more accurate about the respective statuses of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv than the government of the Czech Republic.

69 replies »

  1. It appears that the address of the Czech Embassy in Israel is at 23 Zeitlin Street, Tel Aviv. Unless the Israeli authorities do something to rectify this then such misrepresentation about Israel’s capital will continue. Israel needs to assert itself on this matter and insist that accredited embassies be situated in Jerusalem notwithstanding lesser consulates being situated in other Israeli cities. I presume that one of the defences the Czechs can put up to justify their position on Israel is the address of its ambassador there.

    Unfortunately there are a plethora of embassies situated in Tel Aviv (including the USA and Australia) with consulates only in Jerusalem. I feel that these facts regrettably undermine the Israeli position regarding the capital city.

  2. This is an extremely disturbing development and there should be much more coverage of this – as well as of possible diplomatic pressures being exerted behind the scenes, i.e by representatives of the EU, its more diplomatically influential Israel-unfirendly member states, etc.
    It is also possible that the post-Communist Czech foreign ministry is on its way to becoming as biased against Israel as many others, whether European or non-European.

  3. Well, while I don’t hold a brief for Czechland, I think that if I were establishing a permanent embassy I would pick Tel Aviv – it’s out of rocket range. At least, the sort of rockets being used at present by the people who may want to use the eastern half of Jerusalem as their capital city. That is, unless they wish to use both west and east Jerusalem as their capital city.

    • Interesting. A minister tells a publisher what to publish? I thought that country was no longer run by politburo comissars. My mistake.

    • “Palestine’s ambassador” is already enough fiction for one evening. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Israel is a sovereign state. “Palestine” is not a country at all. It seems that if the Jews are your enemies people will pretend you have a country and they will listen to your “ambassadors.”

  4. There is no such thing as the ‘Palestinian’ ‘ambassador’.
    If they base their decisions in re Israel’s capital on what may or may not happen at some future date, they need to see a professional about their relationship’s with objective reality.
    Ah well, yet another country to boycott, then. Will stop buying their avocados, cameras and computers, then. Oh, wait …

  5. So here we have it, all out in the open (as if it weren’t already) that the denial of reality, i.e., the fact that Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem, is all at the behest of the Arabs – ordering dhimmies and dummies to do their dirty work. And it shows that they don’t even minimally respect the green line worked out between Israel and Jordan, i.e., a revelation of their true intentions. They keep revealing themselves and their lowest of the low intentions, but no one wants to listen. They prefer to “see nothing” and acquiesce so they will perhaps avoid having the local populace terrorized by this fanatical movement. There is a word for this type of submissive cooperation which ought to be quite familiar to europeans. The word is collaborator.

                • No Farmer what you posted was a rambling exercise in how to give opinion that is far removed from reality, the truth or facts.

                  When challenged you have failed to support with any meaningful evidence your ‘conclusions’ just quoted some UN Resolutions which upon reading them do not support your inane ramblings and ‘conclusions’.

                  • Gerald, I’ve shown you that Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Jerusalem are all separate entities. None of them are included in any of the others. This is the International legal concensus. If you cannot grasp that then the blame lies not with me.

                    • No Farmer you have not.
                      What I cannot grasp are the lies and falsehoods that you post and claim to be factual and truth.
                      It may well be that you honestly believe the garbage you post, in which case it proves the truth of the saying that ‘Stupid is forever’.

                    • No such place as “West Bank” as it refers to when Jordan, a British colonial creation (1922), illegally “Occupied” an area called JUDEA (where Jews come from.) Palestine is a made-up Roman name when in the year 136 CE Emperor Hadrian decided to try and erase the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel, rather like Farmer, the EU and UN (UNESCO) tries to do. Hadrian took the HEBREW word for Philistine, which means INVADER and Latin-ised it. As there is no “p” sound in Arabic, it is called “Filistina.” The correct names for the geographical area are: JUDEA & SAMARIA. Since 3000 BCE, from the time ofKing David, Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people.

                      It is irrelevant the rantings of Farmer, Czech Republic, Abbas, PLO, Hamas and Uncle Tom Cobly and all. Jerusalem is our capital and we need neither approval nor acceptance from antisemities.

                • Farmboy, Here is a factual, truthful post. Jerusalem is NOT once mentioned in the Koran.

                  If Jerusalem is so special to Muslims, it would be talked about in the Koran as Mecca is.

                  Mordechai Kedar in al-Jazeera about Jerusalem & Islam
                  In Arabic with English CC

        • How do you arrive at your conclusion that “Jerusalem is not in Israel nor in Palestine nor in Jordan.”?

          • UN res. 181 and 194 were aimed at having Jerusalem as an international city, a separate entity. Israel and Jordan had occupied East and West. Both rejected 194.
            After ’67 when Israel occupied East Jerusalem the General Assembly and the Security Council with 252(… 476, 478) have declared invalid Israel’s actions. Subsequent resolutions have affirmed the invalidity of Israell’s actions. Hence the Embassies remain in Tel Aviv.

            • Farmer how does this explain how you arrive at your conclusion that, “Jerusalem is not in Israel nor in Palestine nor in Jordan.”?

              Your first para. refers to Res. 194 which when I asked if that was what you were referring to, you denied.
              Your second para. does not explain how any of the Resolutions you cite substantiate your strange conclusion that, ““Jerusalem is not in Israel nor in Palestine nor in Jordan.”

              • I was referring not to the ‘corp… and 194’ but also to 252,476, 478.

                israel was not created with Jerusalem as its capital, nor was Jordan. It’s a SEPARATE ENTITY. Israel saying ‘it is ours’ means nothing.

                • You really are ignorant about history. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 called for the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state. It was approved on November 29, 1947 with 33 votes in favour, 13 against, 10 abstentions and one absent (see list at end of document).
                  The resolution was accepted by the Jews in Palestine, yet rejected by the Arabs in Palestine and the Arab states. Since it was rejected by the Arabs, the resolution has no legal standing.

                  As you say, since 194 was rejected, your argument can be dismissed.Perhaps in your world what might have been is concrete, but in the real world, what ever might have been are fantasies. Jerusalem was illegally occupied by Jordan between 1949-1967. During that time, the Jordanians destroyed dozens of synagogues, ethnically cleansed Jews from Jerusalem where they had been a majority for over 100 years.Jews were forbidden to pray at the Western Wall. They desecrated the Mount of Olives and used Jewish headstones to build latrines or line roads.

                  Jerusalem will never again be divided. It was only divided during the Jordanian illegal occupation.Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people.

                • Once again you show yourself to be ignorant of international law. Dr. Gauthier’s comprehensive thesis entitled Sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem was completed in 2006 at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
                  in Geneva. He has served as legal counsel to various governments including the governments of France, Spain, Mexico and Canada. In 2000 he was knighted by the government of France as Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. Dr. Gauthier has been involved in the pursuit of human rights in China, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar and Canada. He has served as the Vice Chair, Acting Chair and President of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Canada).

                  “The Jewish Claim to Jerusalem: The Case Under International Law”

                    • The UN has Saudi Arabia on its Human Rights Commission. And the world? No, MFer, you don’t speak for them.

                      Hysterical that you think you’ve got your finger on the pulse of this planet, when in reality your version of a Middle East discussion is you banging away on a keyboard with your 2 inch dick flapping about.

                    • Then the UN and “the world” will continue to suffer from barbaric, savage, insatiable Islamofascism.

                      See 9/11, London’s 7/7, Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan, Nice, Brussels, Lee Rigby, Moscow, Beslan, Mumbai, Nairobi, Copenhagen, Sydney, Damascus, Bali, Madrid, Southern Philippines, Luxor, Sinai, Third World militant “refuees”.

                      Happy Eternal Nakba!

          • Gerald, Gerald, dear chap, you know perfectly well how … insane Jew haters don’t follow logical reasoning.

            • leah you are right of course.
              It is part of my Christian nature to be kind to all creatures great and small, even those like Farmer who are incurably stupid, and incapable of comprehending the meaning of the written word.

              • Gerald, only Jesus had a ‘Christian nature’. Gerald’s nature should be subservient to that which Jesus implored of him. Jesus would have deplored that which Isis, Israel, Hamas and other killers practise.

                You are no Christian, Gerald.

                • Farmer as a Christian I can tell you that Jesus Loves you Farmer. But the rest of us know you’re an anti-Semitic knobhead and hate your guts!