Correction of Correction Still Incorrect: If I Forget Thee Jerusalem

In April, we published an article by CAMERA about a correction The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper based in London, issued for a photo caption appearing on April 20 which inadvertently revealed that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

On April 23, The Guardian issued this correction:

The caption on a photograph featuring passengers on a tram in Jerusalem observing a two-minute silence for Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, wrongly referred to the city as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is”.

Pressure continues to mount against the Guardian,

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 by The Guardian reads:

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.

This “correction” actually creates more confusion than it clears up. The 1980 Jerusalem Law does extend the border of Jerusalem to include East Jerusalem. However, the law does not make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

It was already the capital of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel on January 4, 1950.

Jerusalem is not only the capital city of Israel and of world Jewry, it should also become, according to the word of the prophets, the spiritual capital of the entire world.

Shortly thereafter on January 23, 1950, the Knesset confirmed this choice.

If other countries object to Israel having annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, this should not have any impact on whether or not Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Except for a brief period in 1949, the Knesset has always convened in West Jerusalem. Claiming that Jerusalem is not the seat of Israel’s government is simply being blind to reality.

Furthermore, even if one is somehow grant that Israel has no right to choose its own capital. What gives The Guardian the right to choose Israel’s capital in its place? Tel Aviv is no more the capital of Israel than is Haifa or Eilat or London for that matter.

“Correction”: The first paragraph of this article wrongly referred to London as the place of publication of The Guardian. The “Philadelphia Jewish Voice style guide” states: “London is not the headquarters of The Guardian; Tel Aviv is”.


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