The BBC, one of the best-respected news organizations in the world, has a very informative website dedicated to the London Olympics. Every country is listed with a map, its capital city, population, flag, medals won in previous Olympics, and the athletes representing that country. You can learn a lot from the site; for example, I didn’t know that Ouagadougou was the capital of Burkina Faso. Or that Argentina won six medals at the 2008 Olympics.
I also didn’t know that Jerusalem was located outside of Israel on a map. Or that, instead of a capital, Israel had a “seat of government.” Or that Israel was the only country where we needed to be told where other countries locate their embassies (Tel Aviv…thanks, BBC!). I learned all of that from the BBC’s Israel page. Incidentally, if you’re looking at the map and wondering where Jerusalem is if it’s just floating out there outside of Israel…fear not! I found it. Funny…it was in the first place I looked.
As easy as it is to make fun of this, it’s not funny. It is exactly this subtle kind of discrimination and isolation that has festered into the open hatred of Israel we see today. At some point, it became acceptable for the Jewish state alone to not have a capital, but a seat of government (what, exactly, is the difference between a “capital” and a “seat of government?” Merriam Webster’s defines “capital” as “a city serving as the seat of government,” so what’s the word-game all about?)
This same treatment of Israel as somehow different – unwelcome – is what allows the bigots at the International Olympic Committee to refuse repeated requests to hold a simple minute of silence in honored of the Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Olympics. Bob Costas, who will be broadcasting the opening ceremonies, intends to hold his own moment of silence.
But this insidious treatment of Israel has to stop – and we have to call it out when we see it. If the BBC has something to say about Israel, they should just say it. If not, they should stop trying to mollify terrorists and their sympathizers and just call a capital a capital.