The Corner

The Media Like Pretending Tel Aviv Is the Capital of Israel

Some, especially in the mainstream media, pretend that not Tel Aviv, rather than Jerusalem, serves as the capital of Israel. (Tel Aviv hosts the Ministry of Defense but not much else of the central government.) This parallels a tendency lately to pretend there’s a country called Palestine. Some of those delusions, which are appearing more often, in reverse chronological order:

Agence France Press: An article on January 23, “Israel PM urges European ‘fairness’ in Mideast,” states that four European Union states lodged “a formal protest against Tel Aviv’s drive to expand settlements on the West Bank.” (January 26, 2014)

The New York Times: A front-page headline today over a story by Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren uses “Tel Aviv” as a synonym for Israel’s capital: “Mideast Chaos Grows as U.S. Focuses on Israel—Kerry’s Tel Aviv Push Raises Questions About Priorities.” (July 2, 2013)

CTV, a Canadian television station: The network reported on January 8 that “Tel Aviv is dealing with a heavy rain situation. The storms flooded roads and brought chaos to the Israeli capital.” (January 17, 2013)

BBC: A tweet from the news organization today announced that “#Gaza militants launch missiles at Tel Aviv in First rocket attack on Israeli capital since 1991 Gulf War bbc.in/QJkWK9” (November 15, 2012)

White House: The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, did not say that Tel Aviv was the capital. But he also would not say it was not, in this semi-comical exchange with reporters:

First Reporter: What city does this Administration consider to be the capital of Israel? Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?

Carney: Um . . . I haven’t had that question in a while. Our position has not changed. Can we, uh . . .

First Reporter: What is the capital?

Carney: You know our position.

First Reporter: I don’t.

Second Reporter: No, no. She doesn’t know, that’s why she asked.

Carney: She does know.

First Reporter: I don’t.

Second Reporter: She does not know. She just said that she does not know. I don’t know.

Carney: We have long, lets not call on . . .

Second Reporter: Tel Aviv or Jerusalem?

Carney: You know the answer to that.

Second Reporter: I don’t know the answer. We don’t know the answer. Could you just give us an answer? What do you recognize? What does the administration recognize?

Carney: Our position has not changed.

Second Reporter: What position?

Carney ignored him and moved on to another question. (July 26, 2012)

The Guardian: Its style sheet actually states that “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is.” (April 25, 2012)

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