The Guardian has once again altered its style guide in regards to Israel’s capital, after a heated back and forth with a British media watchdog.
The UK newspaper ran a story in April, including a photo that was captioned as taking place in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Shortly after, the paper ran a “correction,” stating that Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is Israel's capital.
The change prompted Honest Reporting, a pro-Israel group that aims to monitor biased or untrue reporting on the Jewish state, to reach out to the Press Complaints Commission. The PCC is a UK body that has the ability to force publications into running corrections when necessary.
While the PCC originally found the Guardian to be just in its “correction,” Honest Reporting made steps to take the ruling to a judge, causing the PCC to retract. PCC then went back to the Guardian, asking for clarification on the stance. In response, the paper ran a second correction today.
The wording cites a 1980 UN resolution condemning Israel’s pronouncing of Jerusalem as its capital. It also makes several concessions to the Tel Aviv-capital proponents, making sure to point out the city’s importance in financial and foreign affairs.
“A correction to a picture caption said we should not have described Jerusalem as the 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 center—is the capital. The style guide has been amended accordingly.”
The Israeli capital debate dates back to 1967, when Israel took control over West Jerusalem, with the Palestinians maintaining the east. Both peoples proclaim the city as their own capital and many Israeli allies, including the US, state the capital subject should be resolved through negotiations.
The US has promised to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem since 1995, but each president dating from Bill Clinton continues to sign waivers into place, putting off the move.