In a letter to a BBC viewer who complained about the network’s omission of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on a list of countries scheduled to participate in this summer’s Olympic games, the British broadcaster says it chose to amend their list, in part, due to “online lobby activity”.
After listing Palestine’s capital as East Jerusalem, and leaving blank the space where Israel’s capital was supposed to be placed, the BBC changed their list to note Jerusalem as Israel’s “seat of government”, while informing readers that Tel Aviv is where most embassies operating inside Israel are located.
Responding to a viewer’s complaint about Israel receiving unfair treatment by the British outlet, the BBC responded in a letter.
“We feel it is worth explaining that a considerable number of complaints have been generated by online lobby activity,” the letter, which was uncovered by a blog called Guido Fawkes, reads. The broadcaster is being asked to identify which “online lobby” they’re referring to.
The outlet’s omission of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and their amendment thereafter, led to a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, notifying the BBC of the government’s ongoing concern.
“Unlike all other countries listed,” he wrote, “in Israel’s case, our capital Jerusalem is not classified by the BBC as such but rather as a ‘Seat of Government.’”
Although Palestine is not an internationally recognized state, Palestinian athletes will be competing at this summer’s games.
Judoka Maher Abu Remeleh became the first Palestinian athlete to qualify for this year’s Olympics, which begin on July 27th. His coach, Hani Halabi, called Remeleh’s qualification “the greatest achievement in the history of Palestinian sports”.